Internet Marketing

Technology musings
June 2008

I Want Quality Traffic

Why the latest social internet trends aren’t necessarily the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Each week seems to bring the release of the next big thing.  The next social network emerges to fill a void in the internet.  A new micro blogging platform springs up out of nowhere to help its users keep the world informed regarding their trip to the grocery store.  A new system devised to drop traffic on your doorstep joins the thousands of others that promise the same thing.

All of these are great little services and have the potential to drive a lot of traffic to your website.  There’s one very important word missing from that statement however, “quality”.

Of the latest and greatest internet trends to have emerged in the last few months I have tried most.  Some have seemed to honor their promises of increased traffic.  Unfortunately, there’s more to the story than just more traffic.  By examining my traffic with Google analytics on a number of sites I was able to get the rest of the story.

The latest internet craze that I’ve been examining is Entrecard.  Users install a bit of code on their site, and then others can stop by and “drop” their card onto yours.  I liken this to dropping your business card into a fishbowl in hopes of winning a free lunch.  Users earn credits by dropping their card at any number of other participating websites.  Credits can then be spent by purchasing an ad spot on one of these sites, a card placement for one day. This means that users obsessed with earning credits will most likely find your site in the Entrecard directory and visit your site to drop their card.

This whole scheme does in fact work.  Traffic has increased due to Entrecard.  However, the user average time on site has dropped significantly.  What does this mean?  The Entrecard droppers are indeed stopping by sites to drop their card.  However, they are not staying to read any content.  They aren’t interested in the products your company offers.  They don’t seem to care about the latest gadget.  A quick stop and drop, and off they go.

So no one is staying to read?  Well, I would hope that some are staying to read and find value in the content that they’ve just discovered.  With any luck there is something that interests them.  The trick is to pique their interest.  Once you’ve got them, continue to write great content, offer wonderful products and services, and give them incentive to come back often.

Any sales team will tell you that 1 great lead is better than 2 lousy ones.  It’s difficult to convert those that are only interested in the free gift.  Catch the attention of the casual visitor with a great article or wonderful new product of service.  The next big internet craze can be no substitute for great content, and a reason for visitor to come looking for you and your site.

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