97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts

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Blah, Blah, blah intro stuff nobody reads…

  1. Suck up to well-known bloggers with giant followings
  2. Guest post on well-known blogs with giant followings (usually done after #1)
  3. Link out to well-known bloggers with giant followings a lot
  4. Trash well-known bloggers with giant followings (then run for cover)
  5. Make out with well-known bloggers with giant following at tweetups & conferences
  6. Tweet about how you made out with well known bloggers are tweetups & conferences
  7. Post/tweet about breaking news and take a strong contrarian position
  8. Lead a post with a stunning/controversial image (stumble-bait)
  9. Ask a question that cannot be left lingering in a headline
  10. Include strong self-interest in your headline
  11. Tell half of a story in the headline
  12. Piggyback a giant news story in your headline
  13. Call out a celebrity in your headline
  14. Call out a social media mogul in your headline
  15. Do an experiment that debunks a popular myth
  16. Interview well-known bloggers
  17. Interview well-known tweeters
  18. Interview well-known business people
  19. Interview well-known web-celebs
  20. Be a complete and utter ass and write about it in detail (not my style, but it works)
  21. Be the nicest person alive and write about it
  22. Reveal your wildly dysfunctional train wreck of a life to the world
  23. Ask a compelling question to 20 top bloggers, then post answers in a roundup
  24. Film yourself naked on a unicycle in front of the major landmarks around the world
  25. Write a 10,000 word post without punctuation or paragraphs.
  26. Run a contest that requires people to evangelize you to enter (spam-alert)
  27. Run a contest that requires thoughtful entries in the comments
  28. Run a contest that requires people to submit videos entries on YouTube.com
  29. Run an Ironman Triathlon and tweet every minute of the entire race.
  30. Follow a guy running an Ironman who’s tweeting every minute and tweet about how he’s tweeting every minute.
  31. Shave your chest for charity
  32. Shave your back for charity
  33. Shave your eyebrows for charity
  34. Shave your ass for charity, or…
  35. Shave someone else’s chest, back, eyebrows or ass for charity (disclaimer – get permission)
  36. Start a conversation about a highly controversial topic and link to thought-leaders’ blogs
  37. Create a list of the top blogs in your niche, then email everyone to let them know they made the list, wOOt!
  38. Create a list of the top twitterers in your niche, then tweet them that they made your list, wOOter!
  39. Create a list post about getting traffic without using list posts, then recommend using lists.
  40. Provoke a ton of people, then turn off your comments so they have to respond on their blogs, twitter and Facebook
  41. Help a ton of people without expectation of anything in return and know it’ll come back to you (my fave)
  42. Offer free design advice
  43. Offer free copywriting advice
  44. Offer free marketing advice
  45. Offer free business advice
  46. Offer free technical advice
  47. Offer free food & bevvies
  48. Offer free product development advice
  49. Run polls
  50. Respond to every comment
  51. Find hot stories on Digg and write rebuttal posts
  52. Find hot stories on PopUrls.com and write rebuttal posts
  53. Find hot stories on Mixx and write rebuttal posts
  54. Find hot stories on Reddit and write rebuttal posts
  55. Call out a guru
  56. Provide insane value on a consistent, enduring basis
  57. Answer questions everyone’s afraid to ask in public, but are dying to know the answer to
  58. Stand in the Today show crowd with a giant sign linking your blog to Al’s outfit
  59. Write a 5,000-10,000 word, insanely high-value series on a hot topic from digg or popurls
  60. Make an insanely high value video on a hot topic from digg or popurls and post on every video site
  61. Make an insanely funny video on a hot topic from digg or popurls and post on every video site
  62. Make an insanely emotional video on a hot topic from digg or popurls and post on every video site
  63. Be real…if being real is remotely interesting to anyone else
  64. Buy PPC ads
  65. Buy blog ads
  66. Buy banner ads
  67. Buy StumbleAds
  68. Buy paid posts at Izea.com
  69. Buy solo email blast ads
  70. Figure out how to something that changes a lot of people’s lives, then share it
  71. Do something that changes one person’s life, then share it
  72. Solve a huge problem a ton of people have in a way nobody else has
  73. Manifest your dream, then teach people how to do it and change even more peoples lives
  74. Edit 20 old posts to add in keyword anchor text that points to a single new keyword-driven post
  75. Do an SEO audit on your blog to make sure you’re doing everything possible to increase search traffic from both a content and architecture standpoint
  76. Check every pforst four typoes…twice
  77. Read the top mags in your niche and write about what they are featuring as hot topics
  78. Write giant, evergreen flagship content that people will value forever
  79. Write 3-15 itty-bitty posts a day (95 of the top 100 blogs posts multiple times a day)
  80. Link out liberally
  81. Promote other peoples’ stuff 10 times more than you promote your own
  82. Take a damn shower, at some point you’re going to need to get lunch and talk to human beings
  83. Post your best stuff earlier in the week
  84. Try article marketing to drive keyword-specific traffic and build links
  85. Get off your damn computer and talk to real people in real life who really care
  86. Find forums in your niche and share killer insights
  87. Make it easy to share your content with social media buttons
  88. Write a bestselling book and send people to your blog on every other page
  89. Become a moviestar, then challenge CNN to a public race for followers
  90. Mock a moviestar who challenges major news outlets to win followers
  91. Create an anonymous blog using an identity-protected domain to rail against an industry and share insider secrets (job hunting on the side, of course)
  92. Hire linkbuilders to seek out huge numbers of links to your blog
  93. Syndicate with RSS
  94. Incentivize subscribers with “relevant, high-value” monthly giveaways
  95. Don’t use a stock blog design template without modding & customizing it to reflect your genuine brand
  96. Give waaaaaaay more than you get. Oh, did I repeat that? Damn straight I did, it’s that important
  97. Involve your readers by, oh, letting them finish your post in the comments…

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71 responses

71 responses to “97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields and SarahRobinson, sara buschkamp. sara buschkamp said: RT: @SarahRobinson RT @jonathanfields: 97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts – http://bit.ly/3Qa90q >Great Post! […]

  2. Marko Saric says:

    hahaha sad but true… great post!

  3. Charlotte says:


    I’ve done one list post, ever. Never gonna do it again. I’m cured. Cured, I tell you!

    Then I read something like this, which makes me laugh with slightly manic glee. And I might have a relapse. πŸ˜‰

    Well done, Jonathan.

  4. Aaron says:

    Hilarious post. We didn’t do comments on our built-out platform because we ran into technical problems that would take time to fix. This way, we could get to launch quicker. But as you pointed out, there are social benefits to not owning the conversation. Tweet on.

  5. Number 6 totally works for me. I’m sleeping my way through the Technorati Top 100.

  6. Dayne says:

    Ah…I loved this so much. You hit on some good ones, and most of all, made me laugh greatly at the same time. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for this fantastic list!


  7. Rex Huston says:

    So you don’t read my lists?
    New resolution, new more lists….but first let my link this article in a list of articles about not having lists.

  8. NomadicNeil says:

    Leave comments that don’t actually add anything to the discussion hoping people will click through to your blog…

  9. Friar says:

    The FIRST thing I thought of when I read this title was “Suck up to the Cool-Kid Bloggers”.


    Good to see you and I think alike.

  10. Aimee Miller says:

    Even better: Reveal your FRIEND’s wildly dysfunctional train wreck of a life to the world

  11. Andy Brown says:

    Jonathan thoroughly enjoyed this post



  12. This list was not meta enough and didn’t mention Scoble, Brogran or Copyblogger once. Go back to class and beat yourself with a copy of Cluetrain while repeating the mantra “conversation … transparency … leverage … paradigm”.

  13. What about the ubiquitous infographic? That’s gotta be up there somewhere in the top 10. Definitely before shaving your ass for charity, or maybe after?

  14. Mike CJ says:

    ……is now totally focused on making the Technorati top 100. Preferably before Naomi gets to Brogan and Copyblogger.

  15. Viv says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m in love. Run away with me to SEO land.

    Seriously, great post!

  16. Moncheri says:

    Oh, my God! 97 Ways

  17. “Provide insane value on a consistent, enduring basis” is #56?

    Seriously, who does that anymore? πŸ˜‰

    Love this.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yeah, I know, what kind of freaky people just share their best stuff every day?!

  18. Mneiae says:

    Love it! Wonderfully ironic.

  19. Amanda B says:

    Would having a bunch of your friends write your url on their chests at the World Series work? Great Post!

  20. andrea says:

    i love that there are only 97 instead of a 100…

  21. HOLY COW, Jonathan. This is…in depth. Again with the wow-ness. Just curious, why post your best stuff earlier in the week?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      @ Hayden – traffic is generally significantly higher on most blogs on the first 3 days of the week, trailing of on Thursday and Friday and cratering on the weekends. Not always, but that’s a pretty common pattern.

  22. Srinivas Rao says:

    Nice list. That’s really all I have to say. I’m trying to decide what landmark I can unicycle naked in front of. I live in LA so people probably won’t think much of it πŸ™‚

  23. I really really like the way your gold nuggets are buried in there among the cheap laughs. Neat-o. Reading the list (all of it) feels like winning a prize!

  24. Surely “Reveal your wildly dysfunctional train wreck of a life to the world” should come in higher that “Be the nicest person alive and write about it”? Nice = boring, safe, blah.

    Time to shake it up and become a deviant so you can write all about making good again. If it works you can repeat the process over and over like Oprah does with her weight gain/loss cycle. Easy peasy.

    Or you could just write blog posts like those emails you get threatening people that all there luck will wither up and vanish if they don’t visit your site every day and tell 10 of their mates too as well….

  25. YIKES! I’ve already got too many awesome ideas after devouring your book (Career Renegade) twice in a row.

    And, now this!?! Oy, my head hurts…

  26. Friar says:

    How about “Tell a sob-story about your finances, and beg everyone for money to help you make ends meet.”.

  27. Oleg Mokhov says:

    Hey Jonanthan,

    The best traffic-building strategy is to create amazing stuff, and tell the right people about it.

    Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich wrote about getting traffic for your blog: write amazing stuff on your site and tell the right people, and write amazing guest posts on relevant high-traffic sites.

    I’d add to that, leave amazing comments on relevant posts on those sites as well. Comments so good that they’re mini-articles (like hopefully this one is). It can act as a preview for your own articles, with interested readers clicking on your name to check your stuff out. It’s been working out for me so far on my new site Lifebeat.

    Then there’s the tiny sliver of advanced SEO, design, and other tweaks that’s very 20-80 (80% of the work for 20% of the results). I did all of those on a previous website I co-built, and the growth wasn’t as fast as it could be for the amount of work put in, plus the traffic wasn’t high-quality.

    It’s reassuring seeing some of the biggest bloggers and online businesses get huge results by actually applying this rather than turning their site into a SEO machine or whatever.

    Thanks for the hilarious but actually insightful list,

  28. OK, just have to ask when your next book is coming out – I know you’ve got even more to share. Thanks for a great post, Jonathan!

  29. […] today since it is not a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, as Jonathan Fields rightly points out in 97 Ways To Build Traffic Without Resorting To Dumbass List Posts. As I will be resorting to a dumbass list post myself very soon, I found this […]

  30. Andy Hayes says:

    Why did I read this as if Jonathan was reading them quite quickly and never pausing for breath?

    I now feel exhausted.

    Great post. πŸ™‚

  31. Kelly says:


    *whispers* I kinda… sometimes…

    like dumbass list posts.

    ‘Specially yours, of course.

    I think I’d better go rewrite tomorrow’s post now. πŸ™‚



  32. David Finch says:

    Don’t like the list posts? Just kidding. You’ve listened a ton of ideas for anyone that is wanting to produce content online. Thanks for collection of great ideas.

  33. Andrew says:

    98. Write about how list posts suck, then proceed with a massive list post!

    Nice post Jonathan, gave me a bit of a laugh this morning, right after I clicked ‘publish’ on my ’10 Reasons…’ list post this morning…. hmmm

    Keep up the good work!

  34. This is hilarious. I read it to my dogs and they even stopped licking themselves to listen. No, they didn’t, still licking and one of them’s barking now.

    The scary/funny thing is that I laughed at the comments even the ones that talk about Technorati top 100 and I know I’m going to embarrass myself about this but I have to ask why and how and WTF?

  35. Mike Drips says:

    Nice list.

    Unfortunately way too many people fall into the “suck up to A-list bloggers”. I know more than a few bloggers that speak of A-list bloggers in the same tone of awe that they would use if they had just personally met Jesus or Buddha.

  36. GEON says:

    Wow – 10x to the top 10. Hey just by posting here I am following #1, and by not adding to much to the conversation – and requiring you to fill in the blanks, #97…

    Like your work – not sure if sucking up to mega bloggers is a way of being though…



  37. Andy says:

    What about adding comments to popular blogs, is that a good technique?

  38. Andy says:

    I had a lot of traffic early in the year when BoingBoing wrote about my flea chariot project. I had done a “press release” to a load of sites about the article, one of them wrote a short article and then that got picked up by the BoingBoing site hence I got indirect traffic only. That lasted about a week so I’d have to achieve those results everyweek to get a permanant increase.

  39. Therese says:

    GREAT! I used to be a non-profit fundraiser and these were my favorites:
    # Shave your chest for charity
    # Shave your back for charity
    # Shave your eyebrows for charity
    # Shave your ass for charity, or…
    # Shave someone else’s chest, back, eyebrows or ass for charity (disclaimer – get permission)

  40. Nice list. Not sure about taking a shower part though…seems like tough work.

  41. Kelly says:

    #103, do a round-up “Best-of” article on a nice, even milestone like your 407th post…


    I think today’s post managed to hit about 8 of these methods without breaking a sweat. And now that I’ve returned to tell you I didn’t change a thing because I was laughing too hard, that’s got to count as sucking up. A nice even 9!

    Until later,


  42. Artchick1 says:

    I love your work! Thx again for the “everything” fun and smart…

  43. carol says:

    I have visited enough blogs in my life to know that number 4 and 5 really works. I even saw Chris Brogan giving his piece right after reading something harsh about his book. is that a new trend? well, if it is, then it is definitely working but I don’t think it will stay a lot longer because somewhere, somehow these hardcore bloggers will tire of defending themselves.

    great post, I had fun reading it. πŸ™‚

  44. Wow! This is an awesome list. Many of the ideas are really funny, and many others are great feasible tips. Love both the humour and the practicality.



  45. One way to do it is what Tina Su did before she got married: Write a series of posts with blow-by-blow (yes) confessions of her relationship break-up. All in a breathless, please-keep-it-to-yourselves whisper. She gained lots of readers during that time, but possibly lost one. Her ex.

  46. […] 97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts(johnathanfields.awake@thewheel) […]

  47. Wendy says:

    Love it! Thanks for the laugh πŸ™‚

  48. Jay Jaboneta says:

    Wow! This is wonderful advice Jonathan! Love it!

    Another way is to use a tool like posterous which posts to all your social media accounts what YOU posted in your blog. It’s like having your own newswire from every part of the globe.

    Keep them coming!

    Are YOU Hungry? Let’s eat at hungrypeople.posterous.com.

  49. Laurie Gay says:

    You’re telling me — #82 — Take a damn shower, at some point you’re going to need to get lunch and talk to human beings…

    Wait, wait, wait — first shower, then lunch??! And you tell me this after I go to lunch with you… hmmmm Lucky for me you’re into #96 – Give waaaaaaay more than you get. (hoping this includes giving forgiveness for lack of showering)

    But for me, Helping loads of people without attachment to outcome… #42 is my fave, too. Stellar list, JF!


  50. Yay, that was a fun one. Even if with quite a little duplicates (that isn’t *really*, admit it:P), there are a few interesting points there. I found Izea.com through this post, and it seems interesting. Keep well, Jonathan.

    Best of all,

  51. […] 97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts […]

  52. Gerlaine says:

    I love the humor of this. There was some good stuff in there. I would add :

    Write a long list post, but without numbers. Drive people absolutely insane.

  53. Find 50 blogs with list posts and “borrow” one item from each list and create a post called “50 Best Ideas From Best Blog List Post” without posting the ideas and instead just linking masterfully to each blog………. no?

  54. Wow, super creative list. You must have been compiling this for a while?? Or else you are able to easily recall creative ideas you have utilized on the flip of a dime.

  55. John Removal says:

    This is a great post! I will def have to share it with my SEO inspiring friends. Thanks for sharing!!

  56. […] portion of internet marketing involves social media, and high-traffic sites like Digg just love the list format. It’s killer […]

  57. P. Veazey says:

    Wow, a super list. But I can’t memorize it all. LOL.

  58. […] Fields ran a funny but pointed article in “97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to Dumbass List Posts”. For those of you who blog out there, you might find some interesting points (I did). For those of […]

  59. Alex says:

    Wow. Stumbled upon your blog today down a wild maze of GTD/independent lifestyle blog links . . . this post is awesome and pretty much captures what I see wrong with a lot of those sites (ehhh, am i starting to trash well-known blggers??)

    Anyways, just downloaded the intro to Career Renegade and the Truth about Book Marketing. Looking fwd to reading them over the holiday. Thanks

    – Alex (current office monkey/CPA)

  60. Hahahahaha. My fave’s are shave your chest and back. Also call out a guru is a classic. One of the best link baits is to start controversy.

  61. […] 97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to List Posts – Jonathan Fields […]

  62. Your are a superb blogger, excellent human being, terrific person, marvelous dancer, extraordinary talented writer, amazing teller of tales, brilliant yet humble person, incredible artist, mind-boggling rock & roll singer, well that takes care of #1.

  63. steve Taite says:

    Great post
    The sort of humor that makes my day.
    You left out kissing ass to the person who wrote this bog so that he will mention your great blog (hint http://www.taitegallery.com) in his next post and you will get great traffic which you deserve and stop trying to persuade your renagade pet dog to sniff up some traffic around the block!

  64. Amy says:

    OMG, this was hilarious…and useful. Too bad it took me two months to find it. But it ended my evening on a high note – for that, I thank you.

  65. Jakob says:

    “Trash well-known bloggers with giant followings (then run for cover)”. I like this one πŸ™‚

  66. […] 97 Ways to Build Traffic Without Resorting to List Posts – Jonathan Fields […]