You don't have a traffic problem. Instead? It's THIS.

You don’t have a traffic problem. Instead? It’s THIS.

Jet off to any blogging conference, and you’ll see the same thing:

A sea of bloggers clad in Professionally Feminine tops (forget the fact that they were in yoga pants and a ratty old t-shirt just 24 hours ago).

Elevator pitches at the very tips of their tongues, poised like a skydiver with the plane door open. (Work with ME, Brands! I’m a pro!)


When the laughable secret is…

Everyone here is exactly as confused/tired/burned out/overrun as you.


…and just like them, you’re inwardly cringing at the fact that last year, you spent 1,826 hours blogging that you’ll NEVER get back. All in the name of page views…

…when frankly?

The page views you HAVE aren’t bringing you enough money to make it worth your time…and the Chaos you’ve exchanged for real life.

And that’s hard, isn’t it?
To think that even if you keep vampire hours every night and clickety-clack on that keyboard till your fingernails bleed — even if you stake your fate next to every other blogger who is trusting an Ad Network with their future…you still might not have enough page views to matter?

Of course, if you’re feeling BAD about your numbers, you can always go to an inspirational/faith blogging conference. As you sip that iced caramel latte, you can cling to every word from the blessed lips of that lady chanting, “YOU are worth MORE than your NUMbers!”

And that’s true. Sort of.

It’s true that you ARE more than your numbers.

But the other half of that half-truth, the lie peeking out from behind that statement?

That your page views are ANY indication of how successful you can be.

The foundational truth — the one that will set you free? Is this:

If you’re looking at page views, praying for the day God blesses you with more traffic and the little Google Analytics line spikes up above 100,000?

You’re praying for the wrong thing.

Because money isn’t always connected to traffic. Not the way you think.

News Flash: You can make a good, part-time income *WITHOUT* 30,000 page views a month.

And on the flip side? You can regularly get over 200,000 page views a month and still make barely enough cash to cover your hosting fees, your two VAs, your tech guy, and the high-priced plugins you’re running to keep that house of cards from falling apart.

It all depends on how you monetize.

The advice you’ve probably been following is based on the traditional publishing model. Think: newspapers and magazines.

The idea is, churn out more content than anyone else, so more eyeballs see your stuff, so you can scatter ads all over your site and the people who just aren’t that into you will click the ad and — chaCHING! — You’ve just made a couple of bucks.

Huge sites like Huffington Post and TechCrunch rock this model. Dozens of staffers churn out hundreds of articles every single day. Millions of page views = thousands of dollars. Huzzah!

And even some food bloggers or DIY bloggers, when they stumble on the right combination of posts that go viral, can make bank this way.

The problem is…when you want to STOP.

When you want to quit making blog posts like rabbits make poop. (PSA: rabbits DO actually defy the laws of physics and excrete more than they consume. #beenthere #neveragain)

When you’re tired of the posting and promoting and pinning and sharing and swapping and you JUST WANT TO HAVE A NORMAL LIFE AND SEE YOUR KIDS AGAIN!

But you can’t, because the moment you stop posting, your traffic starts to slip, and you’re blinded by the dollar signs you imagine whizzing out the back door, so you buckle down and throw yourself into the bull ring for JUST A LITTLE LONGER because MONEY and PANIC and DEATH.

But what if…

Instead of posting 3x a week, frantically flinging posts against your Pinterest boards…you could only post when you have something AMAZING to say?

Instead of joining every link-swap-Facebook-self-promotion-orgy-disguised-as-a-mastermind-group…you could send out a simple email to your subscribers, and know they’d do the hard work of promotion FOR you?

Instead of wondering and wishing and PRAYING that some magical combination of things you do will finally STICK…you could be confident that every single thing you do is the exact right thing to move your blog and business forward?

Sound like I’ve been hitting the essential oils a little too hard?

All that is possible…IF you take your eyes off your Analytics and start focusing on attracting not just any traffic you can, but attracting the right people.

Instead of following the publishing model, you can follow the authority model – it’s your one-way ticket to leave the land of chaos forever.

When you focus on building a core group of followers who look up to you for direction and advice, you no longer NEED to be part of the rat race.

Blog Smarter grad Mary Boyden

Because you’re no longer trying to attract the MOST people, but the RIGHT people.

The people who devour every word you ever write.

The people who share all your posts with their friends – because you’re helping them achieve their goals and they LOVE you for it.

The people who bend (their wallets) over backwards for the opportunity to buy what you sell.

The people who buy every product you recommend – and they’re delighted that YOU got a commission for it, instead of someone else.

So where do these unicorns hang out?

Come a little closer, honey – I have a secret for you.

You don’t have a traffic problem — you have a BRAND problem.

The truth is, if you have even a tiny trickle of traffic, then some of these people are showing up at your website RIGHT NOW. Yes, even while you’re reading this paragraph.

But while you’re over there blogging your pink puffy heart out, your ideal reader pops in from Pinterest, and then skiiiiiiim – click – click

And she’s gone.

So the real question is, why isn’t she staying?

For this simple fact:

You haven’t told her what she needs to hear.

You haven’t shown her that you understand where she is, you know what she desires, and you can help her get there.

You haven’t grabbed her by the eyeballs, given a good, firm tug on her heartstrings, and helped her FEEL that the things she wants (the secret, underlying reasons why she followed a link to your site in the first place) are possible for her.

Your brand isn’t your logo. It isn’t your overpriced web design. And it sure as heck ain’t your elevator pitch (gag).

Your brand is the emotional connection between you and the people who stop by. It’s their reason for staying. The feeling they get when they encounter your words. The WHY they belong.

When your readers feel that connection?

They stay.

In fact, they elbow their way to the front of the line and demand to join your list…and they’re not just plain-vanilla readers anymore — they’re believers.

Rachel, Blog Smarter grad

The missing element on your blog isn’t better photography. It isn’t a faster page-loading time, a flashier logo, more expensive plugins, scheduled social media posts, or a public endorsement from the biggest blogger you know.

What you need is a strong brand.

When you create a magnetic brand, and you pair it with a strong strategy for converting those readers to subscribers…and when you stop trying to make money from the people who LEAVE your site, but the people who want to stay?

It won’t matter if you only have a tiny trickle of traffic or a flood — you can know that with every action you take, your blog and business are moving forward.

(…And that’s why it’s essential that you carve out the time to build a solid brand NOW, before you flush 6 more hours of your life down the toilet, writing “just another” post.)


You want to know the good news?

Creating a magnetic brand isn’t an accident, and it isn’t magic – it’s something you can learn.

But don’t wait until you’ve thrown away 163 more hours of your life doing the exact same thing as everyone else. Start this process now.


…so the next time you’re in a room full of bloggers? You won’t have to hide behind that pasted-on smile, the cardboard-stiff elevator pitch, or the false confidence.

Because your confidence?

Will be real.

How to create a magnetic brand

Once or twice a year, we open up doors for the Blog Smarter mentorship program, where you get the exact step-by-step process for turning your blog into a powerful brand so you can quit the endless cycle of publish-promote-publish-promote and step up to being a CEO.

But fair warning: Seats sell out FAST (every single time the doors have opened, we’ve had to close doors early!). Join the waiting list here, and you’ll be the first to hear when enrollment opens.

Leave a Comment:

Sue Dunlevie says

Love this post, Jeni!


Shannon says

Yup! So true. Totally different reason for going and different perspective at the blog conference I just attended last weekend. Blogging is so much less stressful for me these days!

    Jeni Elliott says

    There was a time when it was a pretty crazy space for you. Glad you’ve shed the blogger guilt, Shannon!

Kelly at says

Yes, yes, yes! Preach it, sister.

As a side project, I teach other bloggers how to write for emotional connection, and I couldn’t agree more!

    Jeni Elliott says

    …yet ANOTHER self-professed “bad writer” came across my desk today, Kelly. A new student. Seems like we’ll have to chat!

Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled says

Thanks for this post. I just read an article by a “blogging expert” that claimed the only way to make an income is to have 100k + pageviews. Talk about discouraging this newbie since I’m nowhere near there and don’t know if I’ll ever be! Needless to say, I appreciate your approach and blogging philosophy.

    Jeni Elliott says

    That sounds like slow death by publishing to me, Victoria. Glad you can see a different perspective!

LaToya Edwards says

And the truth shall make you free! I needed this. I have been chasing the numbers trying to get to the place where I can be successful. No more! I don’t have the money for your program this time around but I do have a new plan and a new focus.

    Jeni Elliott says

    New focus? Do tell!

      LaToya says

      Working on building my brand as life coach instead of calling myself a blogger. Creating a coaching program that I can sell online. This is my new focus for my posts and weekly emails. Once I get my course done I will focus on growing 1-1 clients.

      So happy to be out of the blogging business.

        Jeni Elliott says

        A plus, LaToya. Sounds like a great plan.

Vatsala Shukla says

Blog views aren’t a problem for me, Jeni, Google sends enough if GA is to be believed. 🙂 The real issue is building that tribe and as you rightly pointed out, having a strong brand is the key with a CTA to make them sign up so I can send them more useful information and build a relationship.

Wayne Stiles says

(Um, are guys allowed to comment here? Hope so.)

Loved this post, Jeni. You have a flair with a pen and a great way of connecting with your readers. May your tribe increase!

    Jeni Elliott says

    Lots of men drift through Biz Mavens site, Wayne, but they seem to shy away from the comments section. I assume too much estrogen, but you never know. 🙂 …and thanks!

Laura says

Huzzah! I fell in LOVE with a fellow colleague in my field’s website and energetic presence when I stumbled upon his work randomly. I felt a connection to his work, not only through his words but the way his entire presence was packaged for me to dive into. Turns out, we both use the same website platform so I got inspired to slim and trim my site to be more zen – to cut out all the distractions. I remembered your past advice Jeni about blogging only the cornerstone stuff, not the churn-and-burn three posts a week stuff, and guess what – this guy was doing just that! I’m loving the synchronicity here. You remind me (& us all) to be mindful about my work – not just shouting and spewing from the rooftops. Thanks ever so much for another great reminder!

Kelly says

Jeni, I can’t express how much I loved this post. It’s awesome! And I needed to hear this today. Thank you!

    Jeni Elliott says

    Glad it was helpful, Kelly! Glad you’re here.

Clelia Mattana says

You totally nailed it! I remember when I started monetizing my blog I “only” had 20K page views and I was making a lot more of what I’m earning right now with 200K PV using Google Adsense. I still make more money using the other monetizing strategies, being an authority in a sub-niche of my website. My readers subscribe after finding me on Google and guess what? When I hit the 200K PV I was posting as much as I was when I started (or even less) which means 1 post per month maximum. So I guess I’m the living proof that every single word you say is right!
Thank you for the great read, still a lot of work to do, but I think I’m on the right track!

Jo says

So true! My email goes out, my page views go up, and my commissions follow. Not big numbers yet, but the strategy works!

    Jeni Elliott says

    Glad to hear you’re finding success, Jo!

Ashleigh says

Awesome post! This is what I have been wanting, a community of individuals that stick around and leave comments and shares and truly love the posts I put out. Hoping to take a better look at my posts and see what changes I need to make! 🙂

Natalie says

Thank you so much for this post. I’m a newbie blogger and I really stress about page view. Today a few things went sideways and I was getting really frustrated about everything. And I though I been stress out a lot lately shortening my temper and taking the enjoyment away. I just realise I can’t stay this stress out. It’s summer my slow time. So I decide to put my time into things that matter to me and my blog instead of trying to be everywhere online in hopes of upping my page views. So thanks so much for the reminder of how little page views matter. Becuase you know what the whole time I work on my pageviews my email list didn’t grow.

    Jeni Elliott says

    Yes, Natalie! Any business – online or otherwise – is bad for YOU if it starts to run your life. Don’t accept every bit of advice you see as gospel truth – make sure it fits with the lifestyle you want.

Sofie says

Good stuff! I’ve only recently found out that I’m making a more decent income with my 40K readers/month than several much bigger bloggers in my field because of the business model I’ve set up.
However, I do still struggle with creating a tribe, partly, I think, because I’m a very informational writer. People are often surprised when they meet me in real life. They almost literally go “Hey, you’re much more fun than we thought you’d be!”, which is clearly something I need to work on: how I come across in online writing.

Kevin Cheng says

I think a great “side effect” of the Authority way of blogging is being able to build a community of like-minded people with common struggles, who get one another, and who will support one another in our collective journeys to overcome challenges and achieve success. So it’s really great that you’re stressing the importance of attracting the *right* people instead of the *most* people (many of whom aren’t right for what the blogger has to offer). look forward to reading more from you.

    Jeni Elliott says

    Thanks, Kevin. Tribes are getting harder to come by these days as people just skim and click away. But it’s so much more fulfilling when you can get to know the people who are helping and make introductions. Good to see you.

Laurie says

I’ve been thinking about getting off the hamster wheel for some time now, so your timing couldn’t be better. Through a series of experiments and VA failures, I’ve found that my traffic doesn’t grind to a halt without constant social media pushing by me or my surrogates. Looking forward to wrapping up things I have already committed to in the immediate future, then shifting gears to a strategy that works better for me.

    Jeni Elliott says

    Amazing what happens when you look at what’s actually working/not working for you, isn’t it? Fist-bump for being intentional here, Laurie.

Kimberly George says

Woooo Jeni! Talk about a fantabulous article. I was referred over to this read by Lisa Irby of 2createawebsite.

OMG! Virtual High Fives and Snaps to you for this post. This is something that I had to learn the hard way.

I created a blog that generated 100,000 visitors per month that people visited but didn’t connect with.

You would think that a blog of this size would have been super profitable (it is somewhat)…but it is nothing compared to the newer “Brand” that I have created — earlier this year. So funny, I really try to drive this home to people, that its not about the numbers, it is really about building a brand and a community that loves and supports your brand.

Off to share this with my right now 🙂

Tomi Obebe says

You are soooo right about the emotional connection! That’s why I feel so strongly when I read your posts. It captures my attention. Thanks for the tips!

xx, Tomi

Heart Health says

Thanks for this creative post Jeni! I like the way you’ve shared your thoughts on traffic and brand problems.

Natasha Daniels says

Awesome post. I love your writing style! So excited I found your blog. This is the type of support I need. This article is about me – I want to get off the hamster wheel.

Natasha Daniels says

Yikes! For some reason the link that comment luv pulled up on my comment above is not mine and seems inappropriate?

    Jeni Elliott says

    Thanks for pointing that out, Natasha! Fixed. 🙂 And now I’m tracking down why that happened…

      Natasha Daniels says

      Thanks! I nearly died when I saw that

Nora says

… and even after 8 weeks of Blog Smarter you’re STILL getting into my head. Down to the overload of rabbit poop. I swear, I need to find your hidden camera someday. Off to schedule 800 Pinterest posts… NOT!

Patti Borrelli says

thanks for the insight. I’m several years in + still trying to figure this thing out. I need my tribe.

Ms kaela says

I’m a fashion blogger and I can say it’s really hard to make a living out of it, but reading this article makes me see some tiny light at the end of the tunnel. It’s really helpful.
Thanks a bunch.

Tammy Herzig says

Can’t wait for the Blog Smarter course!

Elle says

This post almost makes me cry. Why? Because last year, I slaved over a blog that people only read for the freebies (you know the ones everyone says you have to have–the freebies page you have to create.) I decided a few weeks ago, I was done with that headache. I started writing from my heart. Not sure still what my niche is–except to talk about the struggles of my life in a real way–stress, loss, grief–and to offer help where I can. And in 2 weeks, I’m starting to get actual blog comments. What the? I waited all year for that! And I think I’m finally on the right track, however, I can still use a ton of help. I do eat up your blog posts! I can’t wait to read more.

    Jeni B. says

    Glad you’re seeing some interaction, Elle! Creating for *real live* readers is exactly where it’s at. 😉 Cheering you on!

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