Linkbait done right still makes a happy reader
Linkbait can get you traffic.
Linkbait done right, can turn that traffic into readers. Readers can then make you money.
Linkbait done wrong can get you traffic.
Linkbait done wrong will make potential readers feel cheated. Readers that feel cheated will not return.
Linkbait should never leave your reader feeling like he or she fell hook, line, and sinker for a scam!
It is ok to use linkbait to attract attention.
In this case it should really be called trafficbait. Just like the headline in a newspaper is used to get people to buy a paper and read the story.
If you provide content that does not leave the reader feeling cheated, they will even appreciate the fact that they took the bait. The reader needs to feel they received value for the time they spent.
There are many common uses of linkbait that seem to work well.
Often, the use of a well known Hollywood star in the title can get a lot of traffic. Cashquest’s post 6 Lessons Britney Spears Can Teach You About Blogging is a classic example of doing it right. The catchy title draws you in and the good information in the post keeps you entertained and informed.
In some ways it is the old bait and switch.
A title about something that will catch the reader, but the article is really about something totally different. As long as the content can satisfy the reader it will work. If you fail to provide something the reader is looking for, you are looking for trouble.
Examples of terrible linkbaiting are common.
Offten, an outrageous claim is made and nothing but a poor Photoshopped image is given as content. The author’s claim’s throughout the post about his great discovery and secret fool nobody. Even when the author has no intention of fooling anyone and thinks it is humorous the reader will feel cheated.
The reader feels he had been made to look like a fool.
You fell for my stupid trick.
Ha Ha. I made you look.
This is the type of linkbait that will kill a website or blog.
If you have a good reputation, this will hurt it. If you do this twice to your readers and you are going to lose readers.
You have built a new reputation.
You now provide totally unsubstantiated claims. You make empty promises. You provide no value. You are a waste of time to read or pay attention to. Not the reputation you want.
Anyone can claim to have a new secret method of ranking high in the search engines.
But if you do not back it up, you look like an amateur. A joke. A cheap scam.
It is not a PR stunt.
It is just dumb.
I read a post recently that claimed readers should not expect credibility from a blog.
Could not be more wrong.
People will read your blog for information or entertainment. You need credibility for both. Maybe not scientific credibility, but the reader must be able to trust you to provide what they came for.
If you are known for information and suddenly only have pranks to show, who is going to continue to look to you for information. You lose the reputation for information and your credibility to provide it.
If you are known for entertaining, your readers trust you to provide entertainment.
You have creditability even then. If no one finds you entertaining and your trying to entertain, you have no credibility to entertain and probably no readers.
It does not matter if your blog is just opinion or even fiction.
You are working to gain credibility in providing a service to your reader. Nearly always that is information or entertainment.
Good linkbait or trafficbait keeps that credibility you have with your readers.
It is not just a cheap trick to raise your page view, but an attempt to lure a new reader that you can build credibility with.
In the long run, any business needs return customers to survive.
Why? Because it is far less expensive to keep a customer you already have than go find a new one. There is a cost either in money or time to get someone to your page. That cost is less if they return.
Bad link bait will get you page views.
But you lose credibility with those readers. Perhaps you will profit if they click an ad as they leave, but don’t expect them back. Don’t expect them to trust your recommendation for a product or service. You already cheated them.
How do you feel when you find linkbait or traffic bait?
Do you feel like I do when there is still good content? Do you feel cheated of your time when there is nothing of value there? Have you fallen for linkbait that you still found useful? Do you think blogs can be credible?