The Art of The Ramp

Making The Big Jump

Many webmasters and beginner Internet marketers think that traffic is built on a linear scale. They believe that if they just keep pumping out the content, traffic will keep building. While that sounds logical, it doesn’t work like that in real life. I get emails all the time from bloggers asking how come their traffic isn’t growing even though they are updating the site everyday. Here’s the answer: updating a blog doesn’t bring traffic. Promotion does.

If nobody knows about your blog, it doesn’t matter how often you update it. Traffic is not going to increase no matter how many super high quality posts you put out. Making money from blogging is more about promotion than it is about making blog posts. This is something many bloggers don’t understand. It’s the reason why some of them make posts asking why Shoemoney and I are so big, yet the quality of our posts keeps going down (in their words). Here’s the answer: the quality of your posts has zero to do with your traffic. It’s all about promotion. And when it comes to promoting a new blog, the Ramp is the most important part.

What Is The Ramp?

The Ramp is a technical term used mostly in manufacturing. When a new product is launched – say a new CPU – the manufacturer wants to get production from zero to maximum capacity as fast as possible. This going from zero to full output is the Ramp.

The reason most blogs never hit the A list is because they never hit the Ramp. As I said before, traffic is not built on a linear scale. Traffic needs to be ramped up to critical mass as fast as possible. When Best Buy opens a new store, they don’t slowly build up sales over a year. They Ramp the store up with a ton of grand opening promotions to get that store to the same sales level as other Best Buys within in a month of two.

Take a look at the following three year Alexa chart. Can you tell when John Chow dot Com hit the Ramp?

ramp.png

Before September 2006, very few people knew about this blog. My posting frequency didn’t change nor did the quality of my posts. So what happen? If you were around during that time, you knew what happen. For those who were not here, I ramped up the promotion on the blog and shot it to the A list.

The promotion didn’t cost me any money. It was all courtesy of Digg. Normally, one front page Digg can’t ramp a blog, but I did over 30 in a three month period – at one point, getting one front page Digg per day for four straight days. By the time Digg finally banned me, it was too late. I had ramped the blog to another level and held it.

Where Is Your Ramp?

If you want to join the A list, you will need to do a concentrated promotional effort sometime during your blog’s life. The “I’ll just put $100 per month into promotion for a year” thing is for maintaining traffic, not ramping it. You’ll be better off by spending $1,000 in one month, then $10 a month for the rest of the year.

This is why reviews by this blog are very popular. Many blogs use John Chow dot Com as a Ramp. However, one review (just like one front page Digg) isn’t generally enough to Ramp a blog. It needs to be combined with other promotional efforts. Winning The Web has the making of a good Ramp. He started by offering a John Chow review and added to it with a review by the Cow (plus whatever else he maybe adding). I can see he learned a few tricks from watching Shoe and I battle it out over our RSS competition. It will be interesting to see his new traffic level once his ramp is completed.

You don’t have to spend money to ramp up. However, it is the easiest way to do it. I doubt anyone will be repeating 30+ front page Diggs anytime soon.

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