How is an audience built online? Effective traffic generation strategies for news oriented websites. (2000 words)
In this essay I intend to discuss effective traffic generation from web 2.0 sources such as user generated content and other traffic generation strategies for example news websites and other formalities. I intend on finding out what strategies websites use to generate traffic and how they define their traffic, such as audience targeting and the content that they generate.
Traffic generation fundamentally means how an audience is diverted to your website[MU1] . Traffic generation is important to any website particularly in the news. Stratagems to get your target audience to your website can be difficult to come across, however, with the new technological advances we have today and how closely linked websites are to each other traffic generation should, in effect, be easier than ever before.
When targeting audiences, there are several factors that will need to be encountered. Some websites may have surveys that are specially created to find out what sort of content people want to look at. One of the most effective ways of finding target audiences would be to use social media websites to advertise your website. The main reason for this is that a vast majority of people use web 2.0, such as Facebook and Twitter and therefore the chances of your website being visited are Fairley high. Other approaches would be paying Google or another popular search engine so that your website was one of the top listed ones. This would enable people to find your website easier than others.
In light of this different websites require different types of traffic. I would say that there are three different types of traffic generation. Forced[MU2] traffic, where the website advertises itself so that traffic goes directly to the website. User generated traffic, for example there is an app called whatsapp, if your friends don’t have it you can send them a text with the details of the app so that they can download it, similarly LinkedIn has an email function that you can send to your friends also. Lastly, traffic that generates itself, some websites are very reliant on their content and don’t feel the need to find schemes to generate audience traffic.
We see traffic generation every day, for instance the social media site, Facebook. When you log in on Facebook or any social media site, even Twitter there are adverts conveniently placed on the sides of the web page. These are functionally tailored to the user’s preferences. Therefore when you click on the advert you are diverted to that specific page and your primary route of focus on the internet has just changed path.
Currently we are in a newly developed digital age, the digital age is one where the audience no longer have to rely on newspapers or the television to give us news. We simply use the internet as a news source. This culture that has developed within this century is shaped through numerous factors. Firstly, there is new technology that has been specially advanced for the internet. Such as the I pad, the apps that we download shape the route we take on the internet. As do the websites that have been developed for use on these newly found products, they have developed navigational structures for different pieces of technology, browsing the web on a mobile phone is much different and much more personalised then surfing the web via a computer. For example, if you wanted to view YouTube videos, you now longer have to go direct to the site, there is an app for that.
Any platform you use, whether that be the computer or a mobile phone is using media[MU3] , “Digital culture has undoubted already impacted in a variety of ways on contemporary life, but one of the increasingly significant developments it has ushered in relates to mediated communication ‘on the move’” Creeber, GC. Martin, RM. 2009. Digital Cultures. P107. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.
for instance Android. If you use an Android phone you have the ability to download apps, upload whatever content you want straight to the internet and get in touch with people through using more than just text messaging and phone calls. Obviousley the advantages of this are endless, especially for the news organisations.
The reasons that the possibilities are endless are for multiple reasons. There are specific apps and websites that are custom-made for news orientated websites. Such as ‘flip board.’ Flip board is an app that it essentially designed for a personalised news feed, the user targets [MU4] what news they would like to look at, when flipping through the news articles several options appear depending on where the source has been taken from. For instance sometimes there is a thumb icon, indicating that you can like this on Facebook, other times there will be a star indicating that you can save it on Twitter. Using this app means that you can be diverted to news websites if you find the article interesting, thus increasing traffic generation to favoured websites.
When trying to increase traffic generation search engines play a leading role. The majority of people that have access to the internet will use the world’s largest search engine, Google. Like most search engines, Google search operates on a fairly basic level; “Search engines determine where keywords are used and assume that pages with keywords in the headings and in the first couple of paragraphs are more relevant” Sweeney, SS. 2009, 101 ways to promote your website p111, Maximum press: Jim Hoskins.[MU5]
This is how Google and other search engines define the search for you. The websites that have used the key terms for that specific topic and or have the most hits come high up in search engines. “The Search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Search, Ask, and MSN/Microsoft Search) allow you to simply “Add you URL.” Your URL is you uniform resource locator- also known as you Web address, When you add your URL, it is put in a queue and when it is your turn, the search engine’s spider or crawler visits your site and includes it in its database.” Sweeney, SS. 2009, 101 ways to promote your website p111, Maximum press: Jim Hoskins.
Obviously, this has great uses with traffic generation. Companies can pay Google to have their website promoted or use advertisements; these are highlighted in yellow when you have entered your search. Google’s search engine is used by 85% of global Internet users every month. Pick, TP, 2012, 72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 [online]. [22/11/2012] available from : http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/24/72-fascinating-social-media-marketing-facts-and-statistics-for-2012/
The content on websites plays a leading role within how a search engine functions. It also plays a leading role within the audience’s interpretations of the internet, purely because when you use the internet you view only what you want to view. “The Internet as a media and communications medium was becoming part of the fabric of life for more and more of the population, and its disruptive force, while no longer a subject for newspaper headlines and industry conferences , was becoming more pronounced and irreversible.” Kung, Lk. Picard, RGP. Towse, RT. 2008, The Internet and the Mass Media, p130, London: Sage Publications
. The fact that we are now in the digital era means that the world of printed news is slowly dying and people are resorting to the internet for their online news. This means that all news websites are competing against each other for audience traffic. News online is very subjective and therefore competitive. If a person is only interested in breaking news for example then it is the news organisations jobs to generate traffic to their website by being the first to host an important story.
As the internet is always rapidly moving. more content is being added. There are now roughly 100 million active Twitter users (those who log in at least once per day). Pick, TP 2012, 72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 [online]. [22/11/2012] available from : http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/24/72-fascinating-social-media-marketing-facts-and-statistics-for-2012/
This makes the internet a fascinating environment. Since The development of web 2.0 the internet has become more of an interactive environment. Although the internet was already interactive this age essentially allows you to communicate with the web. You can tweet, re-tweet, watch videos and share the videos. You can even use applications such as Skype to chat with someone on a global level. Facebook is the leading source of referred social media traffic to websites, at 26%. Twitter is second at 3.6%. Pick,TP, 2012, 72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 [online]. [22/11/2012] available from : http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/24/72-fascinating-social-media-marketing-facts-and-statistics-for-2012/
journalists that blog have the ability to produce content and publish it on their social media accounts. Through reproducing their work other users or ‘friends’/’followers’ can click on their link and be diverted to that person’s blog. This is a major use of trafficking used today. Since blogs have gone worldwide the Blogosphere has really taken off, millions of people blog which means that your blog is interesting to people who like to read essentially online diaries. It enables users to traffic to other websites and view more content. Blogs such as ‘Wordpress’ allow there users to change their blog layout to a way that best suits them. There is a Widget tool; within this tool you can add social media apps such as RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter updates. On my personal blog I have a Twitter feed on the right hand side of my blog. Viewers could then click on one of my updates and instantly be lead straight to my Twitter account. “John Quggin (2006) describes these platforms are together forming a new ‘creative commons’, a shared space of self-expression and social interaction that radically alters what it means to write (and read), who can produce (and consume) web content, creating a parallel universe, the blogosphere, where – crucially for our discussion here – flows of media content are disrupted, redirected, upset and, to use a phrase from within emerging scenes, mashed up.” Creeber, GC. Martin, RM. 2009. Digital Cultures. P35. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.
Taking time to tag your posts can also help trafficking with search engines like Google, especially if URLs are linked properly. For example, if you were to link a BBC news article on your blog, anyone that uses a search engine to find that specific article could potentially find your blog.
Obviously, to increase to increase the traffic to your blog there are two key factors. Firstly, audience. To target a specific audience it has to appeal to them. When using news websites as a journalist such as the BBC, it’s appealing to know that there is a feature in which you can upload your own news story straight on the BBC website, with pictures, sound and video. They advertise this function very clearly on the app below all of the news stories.
Other websites such as Twitter entice there audience by essentially being a user generated content site that is sufficiently based on news. Twitter has always been a success and therefore has a huge target audience. However, the generation of traffic for Twitter is huge. People from all disciplines use this site for new, to upload news or to generally speak to friends. The media sector use Twitter as a news source. For instance, there have been several stories created through Twitter such as Chad Evans, a Sheffield United footballer, was found guilty of rape. Some of his friends revealed the identity of the raped woman on twitter, and where fined in court as rape victims are given life-long anonymity. People instantly find these stories through the use of hash tags and re-tweets therefore the site does not really have to promote itself as the users do it on behalf of the site.
However, websites such as the BBC promote themselves to gain audience. They do this in several ways. Many websites including the BBC offer subscriptions, in which you can receive free emails and updates about the site which entices you to read more. Similarly Facebook offers this, you can subscribe to people and pages, news pages such as the BBC. This is a great way to eliminate any unwanted news topics you don’t want to read, hence why the news on the internet is such a phenomenon. The BBC promote themselves through other mediums, if you watch the BBC news on the television they often promote themselves by showing you what is currently on the websites, competitions and offers to upload your own content, whether that be pictures or writing. This is an excellent way to promote audience traffic, competitors such as Look North also does this and even The Hull Daily Mail who print their website on the front page of their newspaper.
The fact that all mediums are linked to each other makes audience targeting and trafficking simple. One example would be YouTube. The majority of websites host YouTube links or embedded files as it is so popular. Websites such as Storify use their services to which makes YouTube a huge source of information that can be used academically for news purposes. YouTube videos even appear on the television on the popular show, Rudetube. This instantly increases trafficking as people may want to view the video again or show their friends. This in turn turns into more hates as people distribute links and show other people. Therefore being linked strongly to other mediums is a good marketing strategy.[MU6]
Creeber, GC. Martin, RM. 2009. Digital Cultures. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.
Sweeney, SS. 2009, 101 ways to promote your website, Maximum press: Jim Hoskins.
Kung, Lk. Picard, RGP. Towse, RT. 2008, The Internet and the Mass Media, London: Sage Publications
Pick,TP, 2012, 72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 [online]. [22/11/2012] available from : http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/24/72-fascinating-social-media-marketing-facts-and-statistics-for-2012/
[MU2]Again, source of this. It’s good information but needs backing up.
[MU4]All of this highlights that we’re moving away from consuming news online – is SEO less of a factor?
[MU6]A good strong conclusion is required.