Controversy: a bad thing?

Posted on July 15, 2011


There is a whole bunch of blogging advice articles out there that tell you to use controversy to attract traffic. A controversial topic, according to many successful bloggers, brings the readers in in droves. The sensible question to ask, if you’re a site owner, is whether you want the sort of traffic that controversy brings.

A great example of this happened around the start of this year. A certain web designer, sick of a client failing to pay a bill, rewrote the client’s web copy and showed his dirty laundry to the world. The web designer later admitted that it was a dumb move and returned the page to its previous state. In the brief time before he did so, however, the page was picked up, tweeted and went viral.

The incident was both good and bad. It was good, in that the designer got more attention than he could have with any award-winning website. It had many negative repercussions though, and the designer’s standing in his industry could now be considered in a little bit of trouble.

A lot of site owners court controversy as a way to boost their search engine optimisation. Even those in SEO careers have been known to stir up trouble for the sake of traffic. It is a legitimate tactic. It is also a very risky one. Before embarking on such a path, however, it’s a good idea to think about all of the possible outcomes. There are some forms of traffic that your website optimisation plan is much better off without.

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