Commenting on Problogger Does Not Improve Your Blog
This blog just had its 6 months anniversary. There was no celebration at this house. Nothing to be happy about. After 6 months there are still only a few visitors, there is little revenue and the future looks as blurry as it did the day I started. Actually, it was better when I started – 6 months ago I had more enthusiasm.
I use to search the internet for tips and advice on how to make my blog a success. Every new piece of information was consumed with gusto. At the beginning I thought all I have to do was this and that, and then my blog will be a success. The reasoning was that my blog is not a success because I still have not done this and that, but once I do it then the blog will succeed – my traffic stats will roll like the number of McDonald’s hamburgers sold.
Like most people I got my advice from Problogger. Darren Rowse, the owner of Problogger knows what he is talking about – he is one of the top blogging gurus. His indisputable credential is his very successful blog. Almost everyday he gives out advice on how to improve a blog. And it is good advice, it has to be, he is a success.
Readers of problogger are all looking to improve their blogs. This is evident by the most common type of comments readers leave:
- Great advice! I will have to implement that on my blog.
- I have been meaning to do this to my blog. Now I know it needs to be done today!
- A perfect post. Thanks Darren. I will do this to my blog ASAP.
- You are a constant source of motivation. My blog has been doing poorly but I can see that with a little work I can make it better.
- Good point, going to do this now! Thanks Darren.
Can you feel the enthusiasm! The readers are learning from the master. They are doing something wrong on their blog, they learn from Problogger, and then claim they will fix it.
You would expect that with all these people constantly improving their blogs there would be a lot more successful blogs. If everybody is doing what Problogger is suggesting then success should be everywhere. But it is not. Blogs are continuing to fail – just like mine.
After 6 months this blog has made very little progress. It still hovers around 50 visitors a day and daily revenue is still measured in pennies. The only aspect that has increased is the number of hours that I have put into it. But that is just me – how do I know that other blogs are also failing? Specifically, how do I know that Problogger’s readers are failing even though they are aware of and claim to use problogger’s advice on their blogs?
In my previous post I showed how in 3 years 71% of blogs are dead. To recap, this is how the number was derived:
- Going back 3 years on problogger’s archived posts, I took the URL’s of the commentors for the month of January 2006.
- The retrieved URL’s were run through the website webtraffic24 which estimated the amount of traffic that the URL currently receives.
- It turned out that 3 years after making a comment on problogger 71% of blogs still had less then 200 visitors a day. (for details of how the data is gathered please see post: What are the odds that your blog will fail?)
The data clearly showed that Problogger’s commentors are not doing to well after three years.
Does Commenting on Problogger Improve Your Blog
Now I want to use the same approach to determine whether Problogger commentors are really improving their blogs. They state, ‘great! I will take your advice and do that to my blog’. But are they really doing it? Are they improving their blog?
There is a easy way to test whether reading Problogger’s advice improves blogs. Here is the approach:
- Gather URLs from current Problogger commentors and find out how many blogs are failing. These are people who just got the advice and still have not had time to implement.
- Go back 6 months in Probloggers posts and gather the commentors URLs and find out how many blogs are failing now. These are people who got the advice 6 months ago and have had 6 months to implement the advice.
- Go back 1 year in Probloggers posts and gather the commentors URLs and find out how many blogs are failing now. These are people that got the advice 1 year ago – plenty of time to implement and reap the results.
Using this method we should expect to see that the older blogs have a lower failure rate then the newer blogs. For example, a commentor on problogger 1 year ago stating, ‘Awesome post Darren, I will do that to my blog right now.’, should be better off today then a commentor you just a few days ago stated, ‘Great advice, I will do that today’. People who took Probloggers advice a year ago should be reaping the benefits today.
Here are the results:
|Visitors who read and commented on Probloggers advice||% blogs failing today (less then 200 visitors a day)|
|1 month ago||55.00% (536 out of 976 URLs)|
|6 months ago||57.00% (502 out of 877 URLs)|
|12 months ago||56.00% (485 out of 866 URLs)|
No difference. A Problogger commentor who 6 months ago, or 1 year ago, learned some great piece of advice from Problogger has no statistical advantage over someone who became aware of it yesterday and is about to apply it to his/her blog.
2 Possible Reasons Why Problogger’s Advice Does Not Improve Your Blog
There are two ways to interpret the data:
- Problogger adds no value to bloggers. Implementing advice does not increase your chance of having a successful blog. The advice might of worked for Problogger but it will not make your blog better. You might aswell not read problogger’s advice because it will not help you.
- The advice is good and it works but people do not apply Problogger’s advice to their blogs. They state, ‘great post, will do to my blog’, but they don’t. They tell the world that they will follow Problogger’s advice but in the end they just leave their blog as is. Not implemetening the advice leads to failure.
Unfortunately there is no way to tell which of these two is reality. Problogger is a success and Darren knows what he is doing – but maybe his advice applies only to him. Just because it works for him does not mean it will work for you. Bill Gates can tell you everything he did to become a success, but it does not mean that simply doing what he did will lead to success. It might even be that by doing what he is doing lowers your chance of success because everybody is trying to do it.
The more likely situation is number 2. It is so much easier for commentors to write, ‘Will do’, then to actually do it. They say they will, but they don’t. This should not be a surprise to anybody since this is normal human behavior. After leaving a motivational seminar the audience will be chanting and clapping with enthusiasm – ‘yes I can, yes I will, I will do it’. They even continue to chant this in the car during the drive home. But as soon as they arrive home their chant changes to, ‘where is dinner, where are my slippers, where is the remote’.
Misery Loves Company – My 6 month Anniversary Present
6 months ago I also made a comment on Problogger so I am part of the statistics. After 6 months my blog belongs in the failure category. But there is some good news: According to webtraffic24 this blog gets 64 visitors a day (which is pretty close to the actual value). I checked how many people that commented on problogger 6 months ago have less traffic then me. It turns out that 39% of the commentors are currently doing worse them me. I am not at the bottom and there are a lot of failures around me. It is not a great present but I will take it – it is the only good news I got.