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Social Bookmark Traffic - Is It Usef

Word Count:

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


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

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

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 "" 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
- 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

(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

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.

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