For sites that sell something it’s easy to tell if their ideas are working, because their sales increase. Sites that only have as their goal, “more visitors”, would seem to be just as straight forward, but that’s not usually all they want.
What do you want from your site? It’s a straight forward question, but not always an easy one to answer.
If you sell ads based on “impressions”, or “page views”, then plain old traffic is important to you. So your answer would be, “I want a site that makes the users click and click and click”. From a user perspective, probably not a site they want to visit very often. So now what?
If you see the folly of making users click 7 times to get to the content they want, yet you make money by selling ad space that is based on “you’re ad will be displayed XXX times”, you need to attract more visitors.
So I ask again, “What do you want from your site?”. Now you are catching on, you reply, “More unique visitors”.
What are you doing on your site that will make people want to visit your site? What makes your site stand out? Why do people visit your site right now? What is it that makes other people not visit, or leave your site prematurely? What type of feedback do you solicit? What type of market research do you gather? How long do your current visitors linger on your site? What is your most popular page? Least Popular?
If you can’t answer any of those questions, stop reading now and go find out!
If nothing else, you should be checking your stats at the end of each week. What changed?
If nothing has changed, what makes you think you’re going to entice new people to your site?
I often hear McClatchy news sites say that they want their stories to appear higher in search results. What they don’t want to hear as a response is, “write better content”. Design your pages better, less “kruft” and more content will help.
Here’s an example. Two year old Caylee Anthony has been missing for over a month. The family lives near Orlando, Florida. McClatchy has 2 newspapers in Florida (Miami and Bradenton). If I search Google for “missing florida girl” I don’t see a McClatchy paper’s story until page 3, and then it’s the very last one on the page. When I click the story, it is no longer on the site (it was an AP story by the way) so I hit the 404 page.
Exceptional coverage will attract links from Drudge, national bloggers, local bloggers and even other local news outlets. More links will increase your ranking with the search engines, which will push you up on the SERP‘s. Moving up will allow more people to see your stories, and the cycle continues.