As a blogger, I am not rewarded for being nice. I am not rewarded for everyone agreeing with what I say or people liking me. I am rewarded for being an arsehole.

99% of my visitors find my site from Google. So let me explain how Google works. They don’t rank your website based on what the average person thinks of it, they rank it based on how ‘interesting’ it is and how many people are talking about it. There are no points for being boring.

Every time someone links to my site they are telling Google that the content is interesting. If someone criticizes or writes an angry article about me, all that does is give me publicity – and more Google SEO juice.

You aren’t going to convince someone not to read my stuff by getting angry about it – they weren’t going to read it anyway. But now they might do. And they might just really like it.

I would get far more traffic (and money) by pissing off 90% of readers and turning the other 10% into fanatical supporters.

The more fanatical or extreme I become, the more likely I am to get people coming to my site.

Cunningham’s Law states “the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.”

Same is true about blogging. The best way to get traffic is not to create good content that everyone kinda of likes and agrees with. But to create extreme content that a lot of people hate and some people love.

If I had a job and said something racist, I’d get fired. If I have a blog I just get more traffic.

Which is really bloody annoying. I don’t want to be an arsehole. I don’t want to say outrageous things and wallow in controversy. I’m a nice soft spoken person in real life, and I want to be a nice soft spoken person online. I don’t like annoying people or being disliked in real life and I don’t want to be disliked online either.

So where does that leave me? How can I compete in this world dominated by trolls?

The freedom to be an arsehole is also the freedom to say what you really think

While I was fuming to myself over the unfairness of online business, it occurred to me: Not having to worry about other people’s opinions is actually a great thing.

I have a lot I want to write about that I have been holding off because “what if people don’t like it” or “what if Im wrong“. It’s one of the reasons I only write a couple of posts a month, most of my ideas just go straight in the bin. I worry that I might lose followers if they don’t like my content.

Well, I’m going to fix that. I am going to be more. There will be more articles, more posts and more ideas. And you might disagree with some of them, but that’s OK.

I might not get as many visitors as I would if I was purposely being controversial. But I also won’t get hurt by someone trying to damage or troll my blog. I am resilient to their hate. In fact, their hate will just give more traffic (and more money).

I am not going to be an arsehole. But I am also not going to be afraid to state opinions or ideas that I expect to be unpopular.

And if you are a writer, artist, blogger, comedian, YouTuber, podcaster or Instagrammer. Don’t be afraid to do the same. The worse thing for your business is to be boring and the same as everyone else.