I was having a discussion on a Google+ group and people still seem utterly enamored with Reddit and it’s ability to funnel a huge number of hits to your blog. Sure, if all you care about are raw hits, if driving traffic, just for the sake of having traffic is all you want, then Reddit will bring you that in spades. However, that’s not what I want.
I want quality readers. I want people who are engaged and involved, people who want to discuss the topics I post about, people who want to debate, people who are going to tell their friends and come back day after day. I want people who are long-term readers. I do not want people who are just churning through Reddit content, covering the Internet like locusts, consuming but not giving anything back. Sure, you might occasionally pick up one or two decent readers now and then, but the percentages are absurdly low. Being involved in Reddit or StumbleUpon requires you to put in a lot of effort, without much significant return. It just isn’t a good cost/benefit ratio.
But then again, I have to wonder why anyone would want a mass of visitors who spend less than 30 seconds actually looking at your content. That’s the average I’ve ever had from a Reddit hit and, from talking to others, that seems to be pretty standard. So not only are they just performing a hit and run on your site, they’re not even reading what you write! The people just don’t care! If they don’t care, why would you want them? At best, I guess if you were trying to make money off of raw hits and ad revenue, you might not care if anyone is paying any attention to your content, but for most serious bloggers, myself included, we want quality hits with interested readers who either agree with us, or who disagree and want to debate us. People who just pop in, care nothing about the content, and just leave again are totally pointless as far as I’m concerned. Otherwise, maybe these are just shallow bloggers who just want to see lots of hits so they can tell themselves that someone out there likes them and they’re popular. That’s not true either.
So we return to the oft-asked question, how do you draw in active, interested participants who will read what you write, who will enjoy (or despise) what you blog about and who will come back over and over again?
That seems to be a question nobody has an answer to.