Is Quora A Waste Of Time And Effort? It Seems So

Executive summary: I believe writing on Quora is a waste of time and effort. After achieving 1.1 million views across 74 answers in one month on my Quora account, I've hardly received any traffic. If you are spending your time writing on Quora, you are making them rich.

The click-through rate is low, so very little traffic goes to your site. It’s worth dropping one of your site’s links into your Quora profile to share with your followers. But don’t bother writing a lot of content for them. Instead, write content on your site and make yourself rich. Here's my step-by-step guide on how to start your own website like this one easily and cheaply.

Quora Background

Quora is a SF Bay Area-based question and answer platform with around 300 million unique visitors a month as of 2021. But, they were actually hurt by a Google Algorithm update in 2018 because of the low quality of their answers.

They raised a round of financing in 2017 that valued them at $1.8B and they continue to grow in size. It's possible they could be a widely successful tech company. But the depth of many of their answers are still quite thin compared to just Googling a question and getting a huge in-depth report back. Further, their advertising isn't that great.

Starting in mid-December 2017, I decided to give Quora a try for one full month. As a personal finance blogger since 2009, I wanted to change things up a little. Let's review Quora.

The Benefits Of Answering Questions On Quora

  1. Tap a new audience that is unfamiliar with Financial Samurai.
  2. Build link backs to key pillar articles on Financial Samurai.
  3. Build my reputation under my name, Sam Dogen, about expertise in Personal Finance, Real Estate, Investing, and San Francisco
  4. Meet new people online
  5. Have fun and be intellectually stimulated

Instead of answering questions my readers were asking on Financial Samurai where the answers were obviously in my content, I just spent that time answering questions on Quora to improve productivity. Here is how things went.

Results After One Month On Quora

In one month, I was able to generate 1.1 million answer views, or 33,333 views a day on average, which is not bad considering the median number of views a person gets a day is less than 1,000. I answered 74 questions in the 30 day time frame, and provided 10 answered several years ago when I first tried Quora out.

I quit years ago because I thought it was stupid there seemed to be little-to-no benefits and I needed credit to ask questions. They finally got rid of their stupid credit system for asking questions depending on the number of answers you provided a couple years ago.

Financial Samurai on Quora one month record

Further, I was able to achieve the “Most Viewed Writer” status on the four subjects I cared most about: San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, Personal Finance, and Real Estate.

Financial Samurai Most Viewed Writer in San Francisco Quora
Most Viewed Writer in San Francisco
Financial Samurai most viewed writer in Personal Finance Quora
Financial Samurai most viewed writer in Personal Finance
Financial Samurai most viewed writer San Francisco Bay Area on Quora
Financial Samurai most viewed writer San Francisco Bay Area
Financial Samurai most viewed writer on Real Estate Quora
Financial Samurai most viewed writer on Real Estate. 13 answers versus 1,242 answers for the #2 guy!

Quora Is A Waste Of Time And Effort

It felt like a great accomplishment to hit my goals of being a Most Viewed Writer and get to 1.1M views in a relatively quick amount of time. But by the third week, I started to tire because Quora kept on sending me question requests on my dashboard and inbox. Look at the number 15 in my profile picture above.

In the beginning, it was fun and addicting to answer the questions. They kept notifying me that my answers were sent to their Quora digest over 1,000, 2,000, and sometimes 100,000 people. It felt like such positive reinforcement and a rush.

But over time, it started getting really annoying and old. Quora arbitrarily deletes answers.

Quora started making me feel like a slave to their system until I finally told myself I had enough and stopped answering every question I had detailed knowledge about. I became pickier. In turn, I became happier. I wanted to let my existing answers earn views on their own.

Never ending annoying Quora notifications to ask me to answer questions
Never ending annoying Quora notifications to ask me to answer questions

Why I No Longer Plan To Answer Questions As Intently On Quora

Quora became a time sink where I was spending more time answering questions than the time I spent answering my own reader questions. Then I got a notification out of the blue that one of my answers, which I had spent ~45 minutes to write and had 220K views and 2,000+ upvotes was DELETED due to “violation of their writing policy,” which I had not read.

You would think that an answer with this many upvotes and views would be a GOOD thing for the community. But somehow it was flagged as spam, by probably a competing writer. They didn't even ask me if I could edit the post to comply with their policy. They just outright deleted my work! I was so pissed. See below.

Financial Samurai on Quora

My initial reaction of anger was not so much that I lost the view count, but that I had wasted my time and lost my content. Luckily, I was able to click a link to view what they deleted and copy the entire answer and create a new page on Financial Samurai with the deleted content. After reading the answer, I'm sure you'll agree that my answer was in depth and value added, as agreed upon by the 2,000+ upvotes the answer received.

See: Do Wealthy People Think About Retiring At A Young Age? I added affiliate copy in my version at the end, but not on the Quora version.

Know this. If you spend time answering questions on Quora, you are helping Quora develop its community and traffic. They can decide the fate of your content on a whim without any clear explanation. I asked them to explain why they deleted my answer, and received zero response. You would think they'd treat someone who was able to write 74 answers in a month and generate 1.1M views better, but they don't.

The Final Reason Writing For Quora Is Not Worth It

After 1.1M views, I only received around 20,000 visits from Quora to Financial Samurai. That's only a 1.9% click through rate. Given most people might only generate 30,000 views a month, most people will only get about 570 visitors a month from Quora.

Think about all the time you spent answering questions to only get ~2% of the traffic while Quora gets 98% of the traffic AND they get to control your content and reuse your content. Based on 20 cents a click, all I have to do is spend $400 to get 20,000 visitors to Financial Samurai. So much easier and efficient.

If you write on Quora, you are making them rich, not yourself. Given you should make yourself rich, you should focus on writing content for your own platform instead.

I started Financial Samurai in 2009 and 2.5 years later negotiated a severance and haven't been back to work since. Every day I count my lucky stars that I decided to start a website on summer's day.

Here is my step-by-step tutorial on how to start your own website. Make yourself rich, not Quora!

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Did SimilarWeb Change Its Algorithm Again? was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.