How do you judge the stressfulness of a website? A standard in the online advertising industry is to view how much “traffic” a website receives. This is how many unique computer users are choosing to view a website, and how many are choosing to return. The goal for website owners, from individual bloggers to multinational corporations, is to steer as much traffic as possible in their direction.
The mere existence of a website is not enough. Just as the most beautiful song ever written would have no meaning if no one heard it, a perfectly constructed website would be meaningless if no one chose to look at it. Just like a fine work of art, a website needs to be seen; it needs an audience. Unlike a Picasso in a museum, websites are not a static work of art. They are dynamic. Growing, adjusting, and adapting to keep viewers captivated, websites depend on traffic to stay alive.
After working in internet ad trafficking for a large media corporation, I know first hand how difficult it can be (and how hard a company has to work) to drive traffic in their direction. It’s serious business. Traffic numbers are the tangibles pieces of data businesses count on to prove their popularity. Thus, lots of traffic can be a powerful bargaining chip when trying to sell ad space for their site. Programmers and writers are working constantly to create new (hopefully original) content to entice viewers and keep their viewers coming back.
This is why I think the large social media outlets (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter etc.) are so lucky. Ok, it’s not luck, they are just so smart, dare I say genius. Why? Because they have figured out a way to keep traffic up while maintaining up-to-the-SECOND current content; content that is provided for free by people like you. Yes, they are letting you keep track of your friends and share your photos for free, but is it a fair trade off? Not only are you updating the content for them and helping maintain a high traffic flow, but also you ARE the traffic… that tangible number they are using to get companies to advertise on their sites. You are clicking on the ads on the website you are maintaining. It is all a bit convoluted.
I hold no ill feelings towards Facebook or MySpace. They are great websites that help me keep in contact with all of the friends and colleagues I have met over the years, the people who have made an impact on my life in one way or another. I’m on Twitter pretty much to satisfy the curious marketer in me. I’ve found it’s an excellent tool for small businesses and entrepreneurs to get the word about their shops and personal blogs.
What gets me is the people who spend hours of their valuable time without being adequately compensated. The people writing lengthy Facebook “notes” and the ones trying to recruit everybody and their brother to grow imaginary corn. There are so many free/low cost options where you can develop and maintain your own blog, and then use social media as a means to drive traffic to you. Your time is valuable, and so are your thoughts. You should be compensated for both. Find your own space on the web, and put some ads on it. Like the one below. Click on it if you like.