Last week, I decided to try this and see what happened. Now what I posted was not ALL that controversial. It wasn’t as if I was discussing gay marriage or taxes. I did, however, feign outrage at a direct message being paraphrased publicly. Well, I was a little annoyed when it happened and ranted at my friend Jim, but I wasn’t outraged or particularly offended. After finishing my rant, I was slightly amused and decided it would make a good topic for an article.
And boy, did it ever. In 24 hours it became my most commented upon and popular article. Traffic to it has slowed but for three days it was getting a lot of visits. And it is currently in top place for most comments. People who have never visited before, or at least never commented, stopped by. Some just to tell me I was completely wrong.
Was I dishonest for fabricating offense? Yes, a little. I still think personal messages should be kept private but in the scheme of things it’s trivial. I also, on top of everything else that has been happening, am very concerned about my mother’s health and needed to distract myself with a ridiculous conflict.
So, does writing a controversial post drive traffic to your site and increase comments? Well, based on this experiment, I would have to answer a great big giant YES. Would I do it again? Definitely, as long as there was a topic that warranted it. Generally the things I write about, such as a particular use of a WordPress plugin, are not at all controversial. The new interface in WordPress 2.7, however, might be.
And I have no plans to start blogging about gay marriage or taxes ;-)
So, how about you? Have you ever tested using controversy as a means of driving traffic to your site? Do you think it invites comments or drives others away? Do you think we have enough conflict in real life and that this is all kinds of ridiculous?
photo credit: Cishore