The Power of ‘Free’ – A Top Strategy for Getting Blog Traffic

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[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

This is my over-arching strategy as it relates to creating and gaining traffic for my blogs and it has worked every single time:

Create exceptional value at no cost to your readers.

The power of free cannot be underestimated!

As I mentioned in the video above there are a few things that you’ll need to do to make sure that you can capitalize fully on this strategy:


  1. Your blog must be focused as it relates to your content. Blogging about what you ate for breakfast won’t cut it – it doesn’t provide exceptional value for anyone.
  2. You must be consistent as it relates to creating these types of blog posts. Don’t deviate.
  3. Constant evaluation of your work. I think it’s ok to be hyper-critical at times too.

Remember, this assumes that you care about traffic and monetizing that traffic long-term.

Ask yourself constantly:

Is this benefiting me or my readers?

And I think you’ll have your answer.

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Creative Commons, eel.]

  • Eric Dye

    Very wise. I shut my personal blog down and have been thinking about starting up, again. This type of input is HUGE!!! Very wise and insightful.

    You’re awesome.

    True story!

    • John Saddington


  • Michael

    I haven’t blogged about my breakfast, but most of the stuff I do blog about is like that. I think a lot of it depends on niche? Just thinking out loud John.

    • John Saddington

      yes, definitely. you can do whatever you’d like!

      but, if you’re interested in monetizing your “breakfast posts” then think again…

      • Michael

        lol. You win. Actually, this has been a big help. I started a side project earlier this year that has pretty much failed. Planning a re-launch soon.

        • John Saddington

          let me know when it arrives!

  • Brian Notess

    Something like….

    A free e-Book download “Church Planter’s Guide to Social Media” at ? ;-)

    I definitely feel a tension between wanting to produce content consistently and wanting to produce top-notch content. I’m sensing you think the latter is more important.

    • Tim Eagerton

      @Brian, I’m in that same boat. Which is more critical, consistency or quality/originality of content?

      I asked Gary V that in a livestream session before, but didn’t get an answer.

      What are your thoughts?

      • Brian Notess

        I think Andy Stanley would tell you, it’s not either or; it’s a tension to be managed.

        We want consistent content. We want quality content.

        The answer might not be choosing one over the other, but balancing between the two.

        My zen thought for the day.

        • Tim Eagerton

          Haha. Were you at Leadership Summit this past year?

          “It’s not a problem to be solved, but a tension to be managed.”

          • Brian Notess

            I’ll never say. ;-)

          • John Saddington

            that is one of my most favorite quotes.

    • John Saddington


      • Brian Notess


    • Byron

      @Brian, You are right about the tension between producing content and producing top notch content. What you just did here by giving away a free e-book from another source is a great way to create fast content that may not be original content that you produced yourself, but it is relatively fast, hopefully it’s top notch, and it’s free! And to spice it up, you can write your own review or case study about the free resource you are recommending.

      • John Saddington

        great points byron!

      • Brian Notess

        Thanks Byron.

        Good advice, though in this case I’m giving away a resource I did produce. Me reviewing my own book might strike some people as a little strange.

        • John Saddington

          you could just say that it’s the BOMB!

  • Ken

    Yes, sage advice. If there isn’t a good return as far as info or something to make others feel their time was well worth it to watch, listen, or read, it’s really not contributing anything to our society and it’s just a waste of time (which sometimes is of value too ha ha).

    As life has gotten busier for me, I’ve had to lower the time I spend doing my blogs / videos, I hope to “make” time and get back into the game this month over the holidays. I’ll be thinking about value throughout that time.


    • John Saddington

      ken, this is a perfect time for you then! you can optimize the few posts greatly for big impact!

  • ThatGuyKC

    This is a great reminder! Thank you for the advice on the power of free exceptional value to the reader by providing high quality content.

    Challenge excepted!

    • John Saddington

      sweet! so what are you giving away?

  • melissa

    I totally agree and it’s amazing how many people completely overlook this step. If you want people to visit, revisit and tell their friends to visit, give them excellent content. No point in having a million ads on every spare piece of real estate if nobody’s reading what you have to say.

    • John Saddington

      OMG. love this. yes. agree 100%

  • Randy Kinnick

    Right on, John. This has been my central focus for the last several weeks. (Actually since writing my “disclosure statement”) I want to make sure that what I’m creating in content is of value to my readers. Thanks for continuing to emphasize this.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing randy!

  • Daniel Decker

    Well said. Free enables social proof. People can sample and taste to gauge for themselves if what is being offered is of value. Once they do then they’ll be engaged and much more likely to join the Tribe and potentially take action (if action is ever requested).

    Think this is where the variations come into play. Different bloggers building an audience (i.e. platform) for different reasons. Most all want to help people in some way but from a sustainability perspective… some want eyeballs for ads, some want to have scale for selling products, and others something entirely different. That’s the beauty of it all. Strategy based on intent and goal.

    • John Saddington

      100% agree.

  • Daniel Darling

    John, great advice. I’ve got a question for you. How niche or focused does a blog have to be to create exceptional content and attract traffic? For instance, I’m a pastor and author, so I regularly post opinions on cultural issues, political topics, parenting, etc on my blog. I also have a regular feature where I interview leading evangelicals. Am I too hodge-podge?

    • John Saddington

      quite possibly. without jumping in too deeply into your content you’ll want to do a few things: first, clarify what exactly you’re trying to achieve with your blog.

      For example, if you’re interested in pushing and marketing your book then you’d want to blog about topics specifically covered in your book as to “hook” them. if you blog about other things that might not be related to your book at all then you miss that opportunity.

      the more specific and targeted you can be the better, generally speaking.

  • Marcus Williamson

    mmmm good stuff man. free is always a good word to anyone’s ears. whether through giveaways, tuts, etc. thanks as always

    • John Saddington

      it’s definitely a great marketing strategy!

  • Tim Bordeaux

    Holy crap man, this is powerful stuff! A bazillion watt light bulb just went off in my head – I’ve seen the light. While I see my blog as purposeful and with good content, now I can see how others landing there would not see clear cut value in sticking around… this is probably why my mom is still my biggest fan.

    Thanks so much for putting so much great content out here for free.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing tim!