Victus Spiritus


Good Traffic, Bad Traffic

06 Jul 2009


Bad Traffic

If you drive much in a populated area you're familiar with bad traffic. It's a terrifying site to witness gridlock first hand. Bad traffic has infected even the Internet, a place where traffic is a golden word. Bad traffic is fickle, it's characterized by quick hits to a page and moves on. It generates no value for the page it visits, either by folks observing content, commenting, or taking any action that creates wealth (purchase or ad click).

Web sites get bad traffic from advertising in the wrong areas or when first getting discovered. When you market a site through social media or crowd sourcing, be prepared for a very high bounce rate at the getgo. The average attention span of a web browser and those engaging in social media, is limited for varied reasons. They could be listening to music, having multiple conversations, or taking a few minute break from working. If your content takes more than half a minute to digest or add value to, you'll have to work hard to find the right traffic at the right time. At best you'll have your audience's attention for a coffee break.

Good Traffic

Then in comes good traffic. Good traffic takes time to carefully observe and interact with your site. Not only will they add value to your domain, they'll actively market the best parts of your content to their social graph. Everyone involved in web based businesses is looking for good traffic for their landing pages. With just enough good traffic your business not only takes off, it blooms into a hub of activity.

First time users of analytics and stastical measures for most web sites, will be blinded by raw visit counts. That's how many page hits a site generates. Pay more careful attention to the time users spend on a page, as well as the amount of feedback your content generates. The engagement generated by content is a sure sign of it's efficacy. A truly memorable internet experience creates high value for users, which are then more likely to contribute to a web domain.

To seek out and cultivate good traffc you will have to deal with an imbalanced proportion of bad traffic initially. In order to find the users best matched to your content, your site will likely need to be viewed by as many as ten times your good traffic. For some numerical data, my blog gets about 10-15k hits per month (more as time goes on), of which only 15-20% stay long enough to read a single post. The number of commenters is a miniscule fraction of this (0-10 per post). I'd use the number of comments as a gauge of the strength of a post and the value of the content. Over time either the number of commenters should grow or it's a sure sign that I'm doing something wrong. When commenters are eager to share, that's where both readers and I get the most value.