Blogging & Strategy Tax
I believe I first read about the term Strategy Tax from Dave Winer’s blog many years ago. Dave explains it here with examples. Dare Obasanjo makes the same observation with search giant Google in his blog entry “Google’s Strategy Tax: Integrity of Search Results vs. Ads vs. Cross Promotion“. In essence, strategy tax is the price your users/customers pay in favor of a business strategy (and likewise, the other way around).
In (pro) blogging, I believe we can also illustrate several examples along these lines:
- More ads than there are content. More ads are always good for business but not for readers (even if one would say they’re relevant ads).
- Partial feeds vs. full feeds. Partial feeds is deemed by most bloggers beneficial to their own traffic while full feeds are always good for their readers.
- Better design vs. ugly design. We’ve discussed it here before: “Do ugly sites sell better?“.
- Better site usability vs. better blended ads. I did a post before about this too: AdSense destroys Usability?
For over 2 years now, I was worried in changing my blog’s layout/theme for fear that it will affect my AdSense CTR and eventually the income. That’s actually the biggest reason why I kept on pushing the new release further and further. Since I switched over to the new theme, my daily AdSense income from this blog dropped by almost 40%. A significant trade-off for a much better design, a less-cluttered layout and better user experience. Nevertheless, I’m comfortable with that strategy tax.
So, if you regard your problogging venture as some sort of a business, then consider your regular readers, rss subscribers and casual visitors as your customers. Your Blogging Strategy Tax will reflect how many of these customers will subscribe and/or retain your service as the content provider.