Why I Deleted a Blog Post Bringing in 30% of My Site Traffic

September 29, 2015

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will receive compensation if you click through and make a purchase.

Why I deleted a blog post bringing in 30% of my site traffic (and why the decrease in monthly pageviews didn't matter)

When you own a website, you want more traffic, regardless of how many pageviews you’re currently getting. You could be getting millions of views and you’d still want more. Partly because it’s a challenge. You reach a milestone and then want to reach the next one.

But then there’s that feeling of self worth that comes with getting a large amount of traffic. We all want to be liked and in some small way, seeing your pageview count increase is validating that. Not to mention the greater your site traffic, the more opportunities you’ll likely have. Want to sell thousands of dollars a month? You’re going to need a steady stream of traffic. Want to be well known. Again, traffic.

So then why did I delete a blog post that was providing me with on average 5,000 pageviews a month (30% of my site traffic)? Sounds stupid, right? I mean, hello, traffic! I’m sure there are some of you that are working like crazy just to get 5000 views a month and here I am throwing it all away.

But here’s the thing.

Site traffic is nothing but a number.

Sure, by having more traffic you’re setting yourself up for greater success, but if it’s the wrong type of traffic it won’t matter.

[Tweet “More traffic often means greater success, but if it’s the wrong type of traffic it won’t matter.”]

And that brings me back to my reason for deleting a post bringing in 30% of my monthly pageviews. It was bringing me the wrong traffic. Deleting it didn’t make a difference in the long run.

The post was about how to save money at Target and it went viral on Pinterest. It was originally published on my lifestyle blog and then transferred over to this site when I decided to switch directions. Although it didn’t quite fit with this site’s goals, I didn’t delete it because of the traffic it was bringing in.

I quickly realized though that the post was a dead end. Sure it was driving traffic to my site, but people were clicking over, reading the post, and leaving. They didn’t care about anything else I had to offer. They were here for tips on saving money. That’s it. They didn’t care about my blogging tips or web design tutorials. And they sure weren’t going to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for any of my design services. They weren’t my audience.

Once I realized this, I deleted the post. It was scary seeing my site traffic drop, but honestly, it didn’t make an impact at all in my business. I didn’t receive a decrease in inquiries. Comments on my new posts remained constant. The only difference was that my daily page view count was a lot lower than I was used to.

And you know what? I survived. My new daily site traffic count became the new norm. I focused on creating content that my target audience would like. I’ve yet to build up my traffic to that point yet, but with each and every targeted post, I’m getting a bit closer.

So what can we learn from this?

A small, engaged audience is more important than a large, uninterested audience.

End of story. Your site traffic is just a number. It doesn’t mean much. Sure, it can give you an idea on how you’re doing, but it’s not a true representation of your audience.

[Tweet “A small, engaged audience is more important than a large, uninterested audience.”]

Focus on quality, not quantity.

Strive to build an audience full of people who love what you do. Who find each and every post, podcast, or video helpful. Who leave comments and share your content with others. That’s who you want. Those people that just stop by to read a post and continue on their way? Not important.

25 thoughts on “Why I Deleted a Blog Post Bringing in 30% of My Site Traffic”

  1. This is such an excellent point, Allyssa. There’s no point in getting a ton of traffic if the rest of your site is irrelevant to that traffic. They’re going to read that one post (awesome) then leave (fail). Blog posts are supposed to be about getting people to stick around, become followers/subscribers, get engaged, and maybe buy something. That’s not going to happen if you only have ONE post on your site that’s relevant to their interests.

    1. Exactly! It’s scary to let those people go because who doesn’t want more numbers, but in the end it was totally worth it.

  2. I did this the other day too on my highest traffic post! I have certainly noticed a drop in views from pinterest as people are starting to realize it’s not linked.

  3. I recently deleted so many blog posts that didn’t serve my site anymore, even though they had great traffic, they just didn’t fit my content. It’s sometimes hard to do it, but in the end, like you said, it’s all about having an engaged audience. Great post, Allyssa!

    1. Thanks Maru! I’m constantly deleting posts as my blogging and business goals change. No sense in luring people to my site that aren’t going to benefit from what I have to offer.

  4. I LOVE this post, I coach female entrepreneurs on how to grow their market and business online and I am always telling them its the quality of the visitors not the number. Its true of Facebook likes, twitter followers and of course web traffic! Your post sums it up perfectly Im going to go share it on my page and if its OK with you I will send it out in my next newsletter as well! Great read

    1. Yes, it’s definitely true on social media as well. A lot of people focus on building their numbers rather than their community. And thank you! Of course you can share it!

  5. You make such a good point about the RIGHT type of traffic coming to your site. I’ve been revamping my author site because I was drawing in other writers, but not necessarily readers of fantasy fiction with my posts. And if readers don’t like fantasy fiction, they’re not going to buy a book from me. Good for you for taking that step to remove the Target post. That had to be hard to watch your numbers drop, but you’ll have a more focused and dedicated audience because of it.

  6. Such a great post Alyssa! I don’t think I have a post that I get traffic from that doesn’t relate to my blog, but if I did, I think I’d have done something similar to you. I wouldn’t want fake views, and the bounce rate from that post would have been scarily high, I cannot blame you whatsoever! If you’re decision hasn’t been one you regret and hasn’t affected you and your blog in a big way, then you’re doing just fine 😀

    1. Good point about the bounce rate, Amanda! Now I’m curious to see if it decreased after I deleted that post. I bet it did.

  7. I don’t know if I’d do this myself, but in your case, I see what you did completely. I mean, why wouldn’t you? No reason. My reason would be to keep the numbers for PR purposes, plus I’m not sure there’s anything on my blog that is completely off-topic even now I’ve restructured and narrowed down my content.

    1. Yeah, if the post was anywhere remotely related to what I typically post about, I wouldn’t have deleted it, but it was so out there in left field. And I totally get wanting to keep it for PR purposes, but when it’s that off topic, I’m not so sure it’s worth keeping around just for PR. I’m not a PR professional, but I’d think meaningless numbers wouldn’t be of much value. But then again, who knows.

  8. I have been contemplating this on a few old posts but haven’t pulled the trigger yet… they are totally unrelated to my focus now, but I’ve justified keeping them there mainly because they are still really helpful posts (and continue to bring in affiliate revenue) but this is definitely motivation to just suck it up and focus on building the right audience now!

    1. It’s definitely a hard decision. I think if my post was bringing in affiliate income, I would have been a lot more hesitant to delete it. In your case, I would probably delete one at a time. That way you’re not completely wiping all the benefits away at once. Something to think about 🙂

  9. I’ve often thought about cleaning up old posts or try to enhance it so it’s more relevant to my blog’s direction now. It’s tough to delete those old posts! But I know either deleting or updating is for the best 🙂

    1. I usually delete posts that are completely off topic, but if they have any relevance, I’ll update them. In most cases the structure of the post is there, it’s just missing a lot of detail. And it’s definitely hard deleting old posts, but it’s totally worth it 🙂

  10. I think this is such a brave thing! It’s so easy to get all wrapped up in the numbers (quantitative data) – especially when your ego is involved.

    But, like so many things, lots of something can actually be a negative when it’s not a good something. Quality is so much more important.

    Bravo to you, Allyssa, for taking this risk & seeing it through!

  11. This resonates so much with me at the moment! I recently changed direction with my blog after much soul-searching and deliberation, which means I have a few (hundred) rogue posts on my blog from “before”. I’m still wondering whether I should delete them as they still partly fit into my niche and they’ve been helping a lot of people. The conundrum continues!

    1. If they relate to your niche and are helping people, I’d keep them! Maybe see if you can update them to be even more relevant to your niche? That way they can continue to help people, but they’ll be even more on target with the direction you’re going.

  12. Pingback: Blog Love

  13. I, too, have a few unrelated posts on my site that drive a good amount of traffic.

    And I, too, am thinking of deleting them for the exact reasons that you mentioned.

    However, I was hoping to find affirmation that perhaps search traffic would increase because now the message is much more clear as to what your site is about.

    It has been a while since the last comment. I am wondering if you have more insight now as to the effect on your traffic from search?

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. You know, I haven’t studied my traffic enough to see if deleting the post made any difference. Now I’m wondering if it made a difference. I’m not even sure if it would actually have any effect on it. Definitely something I should look into. Sorry I’m not of any help!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *