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Do you have a favorite website?

August 14, 2011

Do you have a favorite website? What website do you visit the most?  Are they the same?

I’ve been thinking about what makes a good website recently.  Some websites are easy to use, some have great content, some need to be checked frequently – but what does it take to generate traffic?  Let’s break it down:

Ease of use:  You probably don’t know a good website when you see it.  But you definitely know a bad one.  User interface is one of those things that goes unrecognized unless it’s done poorly.  Navigation, links, aesthetic all are important.  To paraphrase Tolstoy, all good websites and alike; all bad ones are bad in its own way.   Try it yourself – what’s the best website you’ve used recently?  What’s the worst?  Which was easier to answer?

Content is king:  We visit websites to find something, though that something varies by the site.  Many websites (this one included) depends on updated content for visits.  I find that when I post, I receive many more views in the following days than relying on SEO for previous posts. We visit news sites daily/weekly/monthly for the new content.  Sometimes we stumble upon great sites with old content, but we aren’t likely to continue visiting.

As you might expect, Google is highly trafficed because it’s the aggregate of content and Facebook only receives visitors when YOU update your status or photos.  Some sites that I find myself checking frequently for the content, unexpectedly, include my gym’s website as the classes are always changing.  Of course, once I am there I find myself playing with the other tools, cataloging my workouts digitally in ways I never knew to do.  Content can be the lure, but be sure to give the visitors something to do once they are there.

Frequency: This leads us to the question of how much is enough? How many visitors?  How frequently should you update your content? The answer is mostly that it’s always evolving.  As I’ve mentioned before, I read blogs religiously on my Reader.  Gawker is one of my favorite sites, but I almost never visit the website – I just don’t need to.  Luckily for them, the ads in the posts pull through to my Reader, so they can still make a few dollars, but you have to decide what your goals are for the content.  Do you want to create the (fleeting) viral video?  Where do you expect your readers to read it – mobile? Tablet?

The bottom line is, if you have good content, they will come.  But, if you can optimize your content, MORE people will come.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Miguel permalink
    August 25, 2011 7:56 pm

    Content is clearly important, but I would have liked to see you discuss more about optimization. It was a strong concluding statement, but how should websites optimize their content? Easy to navigate homepages? Minimize lengthy text?…utilize more video/image content?

    That would be an interesting follow up article. Good read though for sure. Opens the discussion on an interesting topic.

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