Title: Social Bookmark Traffic - Is It Usef ul? Word Count: 1541 Summary: In the very recent past, a friend o f mine [Kate] was lucky enough to g et her website listed (bookmarked) on Digg, a very popular social book mark site. With her permission, I w as given an excellent chance to ove rlook and analyze the traffic gener ated from these types of sites. Rea d on to discover the pro's and con' s of social media site traffic, and how it could be utilised in your o wn website or online marketing effo rts. Keywords: online,home,business,profit,income, website,traffic,internet,success,we alth,social,bookmark,media Article Body: In the very recent past, a friend o f mine [Kate] was lucky enough to g et her website listed (bookmarked) on Digg, a very popular social book mark site. With her permission, I w as given an excellent chance to ove rlook and analyze the traffic gener ated from these types of sites. Rea d on to discover the pro's and con' s of social media site traffic, and how it could be utilised in your o wn website or online marketing effo rts. Firstly, it should be said that any sort of internet traffic, should n ot be considered useless. Visitors to your site should all be welcomed , as any visitor is a good thing. I n saying that, however, it should b e noted that traffic in all its gre atness, is not created equally. Gre at differences become apparent when you start to analyze its source. T he purpose of this article, is to t ake a much closer look at the traff ic generated from social bookmarkin g, from the perspective of internet marketing. Unless you've been living under a r ock for the past 2 years, you'd not ice a very big trend on the web--so cial bookmark and media websites ha ve become "all that" on the web. Sl ashdot, Stumbleupon, Digg; any of t hese popular sites sound familiar? This is where a lot of social bookm ark traffic will originate from. In essence, these sites are driven an d "controlled" by the users. Users or members choose which content the y want to bookmark, and this will l ead into viewing and discussing of said bookmarked content. Sites such as these are immensely popular, an d flow traffic that the average web site owner can only ever imagine ha ving. Thats a lot of traffic, isn't it? But is it really useful? All this traffic and hype must be a good thing, right? But is it reall y worth your time? Should you integ rate active promotion to these type s of social media websites? What ab out concentrating all your online m arketing strategies on these types of sites? The question more at poin t is, what are the real pro's and c on's of getting your website listed on the front page of sites like St umbleupon or Digg? As a website owner myself, I wanted answers, and I wanted them quickly . In addition, I wondered if utilis ing these sites could benefit me; i .e, could they help me generate mor e income online? Recently, my friends listing on Dig g enabled me to have a upclose look at these sites, and the effects th ey brought to a website owner. This was a chance for a first-hand, upc lose study; I was not about to pass this up. However, this didn't happen by chan ce. Kate took the action of placing the free "Addthis.com" bookmark to all her pages. You can also do thi s quite easily. Using this simple b ookmark "button", you can start to attract these sites. However, be wa rned; a site featured on the front page of social media sites can almo st instantly generate 100,000's of visitors to your website; this in e ssence is enough traffic that it ma y overload your server. Not good! So be careful; active promotion to these social bookmark sites should only be taken upon if your servers or web hosting company can withstan d the sudden influx of traffic. With Kate's permission, I utilised Google Analytics and started to ana lyze these types of visitors and so cial bookmark traffic generated. In terestingly enough, some very impor tant factors were realised. The Maj ority of this traffic will: - Simply bounce back. - Very few visitors will stay on yo ur site; even for a short period of time. - Very few visitors will actually g o into the depths of your site. - If you have a newsletter or simil ar, you'll notice that very few sig n-up for these. - If you utilise any type of market ing follow-ups, etc, very few will enter. (In saying this, an unknown variabl e is the content of your site. Is i t well written? Does it perform wel l? Is it useful or attractive to th e visitor?) Traffic from these sites does pose a very common problem, however; its temporary traffic, to say the leas t. The mass amount of traffic gener ated will usually only last a few d ays at most, that is, until your li sting or bookmark is removed from t he front page. Most of these visito rs will rarely remain on your websi te for long, and the majority leave within seconds. In saying that, yo u may have a few sign-up's to your newsletter or Ezine, or visitors th at explore your site. But keep in m ind, this number will not be very high. Social media site traffic can be li kened to customers in the drive-thr u sections of fast food restaurants ; they come and go as quick as they came. The visitors will basically view your content, and before you k now it, have already left, surfing back to the main site to venture on to the next item or listing. Social bookmark traffic will always behav e differently, to a large extent, w hen compared to organic search engi ne traffic, or your newsletter traf fic, for instance. Very differently. Visitors from Kate's article posts will generally add up to 50 to a 10 0 new sign-ups a day; much differen t when compared to social bookmark traffic. In addition, readers and v isitors to her articles are actuall y interested in her content, and th erefore have been previously expose d to similiar content upon reaching her website. So in this case, ther e was no comparison. The choice of traffic will always l ay in the visitors generated from s earch engines, atleast when compari ng to the traffic from social bookm arking sites. A question still rema ins, however-- is social bookmark t raffic really all that useless? Firstly, as previously mentioned, y ou need to remember that no traffic should be considered useless. Any type of visitor to your website sho uld be counted as a good thing. Any website owner should realise that getting traffic and visitors to you r website is a must; otherwise its game over. When someone searches for a particu lar term in a search engine, and th ey end up at your website, this mea ns that your visitor is there becau se you have what they're looking fo r. This type of traffic is essentia l to your website. Visitors like th ese are considered to be "targeted traffic"; that is, they're more lik ely to read your pitch-page, overlo ok your information, sign-up to a n ewsletter, or even buy a product. A dditionally, they may also become r epeat visitors. Traffic like this i s ideal. These are the types of vis itors you really want. However, its not all bad news. Soci al media or bookmark sites do have a bright side. How would you like the possibility of your website gaining exposure to millions of people? Sounds good, d oesn't it? Even though you may not get sales, for instance, this traff ic can assist in getting your websi tes name out there; branding it, cr eating a buzz. If your website appeals to a more m ass market, then you are even more in luck. Social bookmark traffic in this case can be an excellent sour ce of traffic and visitors. Social sites such as these also hav e another added bonus; gaining a li nk on high PR7 and PR8 websites, wi th high traffic flow, can't hurt yo ur search engine rankings. After yo ur website is featured on a social media site such as Digg, your link can also appear on a large number o f secondary websites on the web, as much as 1000 or more. Much of this traffic will also be using the Fir efox web browser, which is embedded with the Alexa toolbar-- what does this do for you? Your Alexa traffi c rank will be improved. As much as 50% of the visitors hitting Kate's website we're running the Firefox browser. Something worth pointing out, is th at the traffic generated from Stumb leupon was much different. Longer s tay durations were the common thing in this traffic, that is, this tra ffic behaved more like organic traf fic. This could possibly be attribu ted to the fact that Stumbleupon is a higher quality site, and this wa s reflected from the higher quality of the visitors originating from t here. This also made me come to the realisation that not all social me dia/bookmark traffic can be measure d with the same stick. This experie nce also pointed me out to somethin g important; the content featured o n Kate's website is geared towards targeted visitors from search engin es and articles, and is generally n ot suited to the mainstream net-surfer. An idea to better take advantage of this type of traffic, is to gear y our website and its content to more mainstream internet users. Whether or not this enables you to achieve a greater level of success, is lar gely dependant on what you offer an d how it is offered. Another unknow n variable, unfortunately. In the near future, I hope to gain the chance to further study social bookmark traffic, and its long-term effects on websites. In specific, the effect it would have on keyword rankings and link popularity ranki ngs in search engines; only then ca n I come to any type of real judgem ents. However, for now, my mind is being kept open, and the idea is be ing tossed up as to whether social media and bookmark traffic is actua lly worth the time or the effort. I s the time taken away from your usu al day-to-day marketing efforts wor th it? Guess there is only one way to find out, really.