Re: On sources of traffic

From: Michael Martinez <>
Date: Mon 02 Apr 2001 10:22:12 -0600


>My domain still gets the majority of its traffic from
>other Web sites. More than 3,000 sites link to us...
>I still believe that is the
>best long-term online promotional strategy for any Web


>I suspect that you're right about this... but here's
>a question for you: What percentage of your traffic
>comes from such links, really? and what percentage
>from search engines?

The percentage of inbound traffic from any given source
is probably determined by a function of content. That is,
some kinds of content are probably more likely to generate
inbound traffic through search engines than others.

What seems to work well across the board is generating
some sort of dynamic content which other sites can host,
like news headline feeds or a search box for a links
directory (and I snipped the part of your message where
you said you were designing your own directory).

Static content, or content which is of appeal only to a
select audience, isn't likely to get much traffic from
any source.

The last time I checked my percentages (which was some
months ago) it looked like about 1/3 of our traffic was
coming from search engines and directories. But we run
banner exchanges, a large specialty directory which allows
people to put search boxes on their pages, and I frequently
agree to let people reproduce essays and other content
from Xenite.Org provided they give proper credit and
link back to us.

We generate a lot of content, both through our discussion
forums (where I've been known to post lengthy essays dealing
with anything from literature to history to social issues) and
through more traditional procedures, such as posting original
essays and stories, generating individual pages for news
articles, etc. It's no real big thing for me to allow
someone to reproduce a tiny fraction of our content.

I think business sites can build real content for their
sites, and should, but the problem is finding someone to
generate and maintain that content. A lot of businesses thus
turn to forums and newsfeeds to generate that content, and
there they run into the same brick wall that everyone else
does: extremely heavy competition from other sites.

Everyone has a forum these days, and everyone can grab news
headlines from Moreover and other services. Heck, as fast
as I find new sources of dynamic, remotely hosted content,
other science fiction fan sites copy my ideas and I have to
go out and look for more stuff. It's usually more productive
for me to just keep writing new content. But I like being
innovative and trying out new ideas. And companies keep
coming to us to try out new ideas. :)

Just today I agreed to help promote a new movie. I got a
couple of pages of content out of the deal and may even win
some cheesy prize. It's easier than trying to sell banner ads
and expands my indexable content for the search engines. Now
that same company has sent me another offer for a similar
promotional campaign, but this time I think I'll pass up the
opportunity as the content doesn't really fall in line with
what we offer.

But I've found that, by and large, stuffing a site with content
eventually gets it noticed, and then people start coming to
you with offers for more content, or requests to use your
content that you can then use to generate inbound links.
And we occasionally get some media attention. I've been
interviewed twice by phone and a couple of times by email by
a reporter for a major Web site which is working on a Lord
of the Rings article. In two weeks that reporter will fly out
here to interview me in person.

I'm hoping that kind of interest turns out to be a major story
about me and my domain, but he's talking to other people, too,
and he told me it will only be one article. And I've been
interviewed before only to see the story killed on the
editor's desk.

But we get noticed because of our content, and we get inbound
links because of our content and services, and we get search
engine traffic because of our content.

So, if anyone wants to know what my particular secret is, I
can tell you in one word: content. Percentages don't really
matter to me, except in that I can take comfort from the fact
that I don't need to depend upon the search engines for traffic.

Michael Martinez

Science Fiction and Fantasy
 Visualizing Middle-earth, a book for all Tolkien fans

Received on Mon Apr 02 2001 - 11:22:12 CDT


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