Driving visitors to websites–new report from Pew.
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism as to how people get to news and informational websites makes for fascinating reading and provides valuable insight as to web traffic in general. Some observations:
No site holds visitors for long. The average visitor spends three minutes and four seconds;
There is a small but loyal group of users who come to sites often (an average of 7 percent of users);
Out of 4,600 news and information sites, the top seven percent collect 80 percent of overall traffic;
The top ten percent of news sites attract half the traffic;
Well-known (legacy news sites) get two-thirds of web traffic;
Specialty (or niche) sites like health care or science do not drawl an especially loyal audience. Not a single site in the top 20 covers a niche;
Out of the news site categories, Cable TV websites clearly dominate followed by on-line publications and newspapers;
The report suggests that “the dominance of general interest rather than niche sites suggests the enduring value of curation, or editing–that people like someone helping them make decisions about what’s important.”
Search engines continue to dominant as points of entry with Facebook growing in influence but still producing small numbers;
As to another analysis of the Pew data on the power of Facebook to drive traffic from MarketingCharts.Com (link below) we find, “At the top was Huffingtonpost.com, which derived 8% of its traffic from links to Huffingtonpost.com content posted on Facebook. At the low end were AOLNews.com, MSNBC.com and the local aggregator Topix, which each derived 1% from Facebook. The New York Times was near the higher part of the spectrum; 6% of its traffic came from Facebook.”
For most of us, our site visits are short and our bounce rate (not moving onto another page) is higher than we would like it to be. We understand that Internet users skim and don’t read unless it’s exactly what they are looking for in the format desired. The easier we make the user experience (videos, audio, easy-to-read material) the longer visitors will stay.
Cable TV dominates news sites because they are video based. We should emulate.
Every site will have a small core of loyal users who may be of influence within your sector. Embrace and support their interactions.
The popularity of general interest news sites is that they write their own content and provide their own analysis rather than simply scrape (copy) content. People find comfort and authority with professional writings and critiques.
In this day and age of making fun of “old media” it seems that reputation reigns supreme. Your authority dominates web traffic (do people know you and respect you?). Establishing authority on your site becomes crucial.
Niche sites have their limitations as to getting traffic.
Note that there are two types of Facebook experiences, those who stay within the Facebook structure (the great majority) and those who leave Facebook and go to other websites (fewer in number).
There seems to be growing evidence that Facebook does little to send visitors to websites when compared to search engines. Facebook’s ability to send web traffic may be growing but it remains small for many sites.
Thus efforts to attract an audience is far more dependent on marketing, search rank and the use of key words and interesting material within traditional websites than a Facebook and Twitter presence.
Yes, major corporations successfully use Facebook and Twitter to engage in conversations about their products or to resolve disputes. But for the vast majority of sites, Facebook and Twitter has limitations. Major corporations also pump a lot of money into graphics and visuals to produce a “wow” factor in their Facebook pages.
See Pew link at http://www.journalism.org/