The Death of Website Traffic is Here: Are You Ready?
The era of the Website is coming to an end. You could probably blame Facebook if you needed someone to point a finger at, but its not all their fault.
Consider this: How do you spend your time on the internet?
If you are my dad you have a long list of bookmarks (I am talking hundreds of bookmarks) that you check on a regular basis looking for information that interests you.
If you are like me, and people like me, you are on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, maybe even sites like Quora or Medium.
And if you are just a couple years younger than me, or just more hip, you are on SnapChat, WhatsApp and probably a bunch of other stuff I haven’t heard of yet or can’t pronounce.
Trends always come and go, but technology, and especially the internet, cause trends to start and end at a much higher and faster rate than ever before.
My sister, a few years older than me, didn’t technically grow up with the internet. AOL entered our house after she was 16 meaning she was out driving with her friends while I was starting an online Sports Cards Training business out of my bedroom.
Timing is everything.
But now I am 30, and I am too old to try and undestand SnapChat. Maybe just too busy. Maybe both.
But I do understand trends. And I REALLY understand Facebook. And when I say I understand Facebook I mean that I understand not just what they are today, but what they are also becoming.
(Author’s Note: I am long $FB. I am also the author of How To Leverage Your Real Estate Business with Facebook)
Why do I mention my father and sister? Of the three of us, my father is the least technoligically inclined, followed by my sister who is half and half, and then myself. A few decades separate my father and I, and only a few years separate my sister and I.
My Father doesn’t want to learn Facebook or Twitter, just like I don’t want to learn SnapChat or whatever. He refers to his list of bookmarks and searches the websites directly. This is how we all used to search the internet for our content.
But that trend is ending and the new trend has already begun.
Website Traffic is No More
The fact that you are reading this article on this blog is a miracle. I already understand this. In the future, possibly months or a couple years, this will be even more of a miracle.
Whether it is ‘Breaking News’ or just good content, the media is changing mediums.
Most of my traffic comes from Facebook. Some comes from a combination of other social media like Twitter and Pinterest, and some comes from search engines (mostly google).
If you are searching google for an answer to something, you are most likely going to find that answer as a link to a webpage.
But if you are using Twitter and Facebook, especially from a mobile device, you are highly unlikely to want to leave that medium. So unless the content I am trying to share with you is right there on that medium, the future of my content won’t have much of a future.
Facebook is rolling out insta-articles and Twitter is rolling out ‘moments’. Apple just launched ‘News’.
All thee of these roll outs allow you to read updated content and breaking news directly on their platforms without having to leave the site. Trying to convince someone to click on your link and wait for a new page to load is asking a lot from your viewers and potential customers.
What is the Solution?
Well, for writers and content creators like me it could mean the end of blogs as we know it. Trying to get a Facebook user to come to my website to read an article is already a big hurdle.
However, if I copy and paste my article onto Facebook directly, whether in a post or the Notes section, then more people on Facebook are more likely to read it.
Now, this won’t work on Twitter obviously so it is important that I treat Twitter (as well as my Twitter Audience) differently. This might include sharing a few tweets in a row summarizing the best tidbits of my article in addition to linking to the rest of it. If the tidbits are enticing enough, you may click.
What will not work, however, is the current trend of ‘click bait’. For those who aren’t aware of this term, it simply means giving an article a title that sounds very enticing, or baiting you to click on it, only to find out the article is either made up or doesn’t even discuss the topic for which you clicked on it.
If you are an individual or a brand, you will piss off your audience and they will stop following you all together.
If you aren’t providing good content, the same thing will happen as well.
If you are providing good content then people will share it with their friends and your audience will grow.
This sucks if you run a big website or newspaper, but this is great if you are an individual trying to grow your own book of business, whether you are a writer or entrepreneur.
The Death of Website Traffic 2015
If you make money from website traffic it is time to really rethink your strategy. I make very little money from my actual website, but I do make money when new clients find me through my website and I am able to serve them.
Because of this, I can upload my content to many different places and still be ok.
The same can be said for all those Grantland.com writers who were just fired or suspended or whatever ESPN just did to them.
In the past, you needed ESPN or the New York Times more than they needed you. They were the brand and you were just a small name beneath the titles of some articles. But today, with Twitter, Facebook, cheap or free blown sites, the individual creates their own brand.
Sure, those big companies are a huge help and sometimes pay well, but the trend is already shifting.
If you are in sales, or a writer, or an entrepreneur, or somewhere in between, the solution is clear. Keep providing value.
Whether this means creating good content or answering the tough questions or being very transparent about your business, it doesn’t matter whether or not people are visiting your website.
But if your income depends on ‘clicks’ and ‘website traffic’ then I am sorry to break the news to you, but pretty soon your only traffic might be from my dad.
(I love you dad!)