If you build it…

Jul 23 07

If you build it…

Paul Weinstein

Here within zoomshare we’ve been talking a lot about sharing interests and what that means for us and our users. Why, do people want a website? Because they have something they wish to share. Perhaps photos and videos via our new widgets feature or maybe to sell what he or she has, which can be done with our shopping cart feature. Or maybe one’s wish is to share information such as I do via our blogging tool?

At some point anyone who has ever created some sort of web presence, a whole web application or a single web blog, faces the same set of questions; will they come, where will they come from and how will they know to come? For example, let us take this blog, pdw @ zoomshare. This blog is dedicated to covering some of the internal happenings @ zoomshare and until recently it was inactive for the most part, receiving about 25 absolute unique visitors from Jun 18th to Jun 24th for example.

From Jun 25th to Jul 1st the number of visitors jumped to 4,303 for an average of 615 visitors per day. For the sake of clarity when I refer to some common web metrics I’m referring to numbers generated from Google Analytics. I’m using Google Analytics since it’s a common industry tool. However, I do want to note that zoomshare does offer a ‘stats’ tool for zoomshare hosted sites as part of the paid for services.

Anywho, this is where the sharing aspect comes into play. After I starting getting into a groove of posting entries, I started seeking out people and places that might make up my target audience, in order to get people to visit and hopefully return as time goes on. My audience? People who share an interest in the topic(s) covered in this blog. For the most part that means people who have an interest in the workings of zoomshare. That audience can be broken down into two distinct groups, zoomies – zoomshare users – who wish to know a bit about the workings of zoomshare and, perhaps to a lesser extent, other techies who are looking for bits and pieces of shared knowledge.

Reaching out can be a bit difficult alas. For example, to reach out to zoomies we do have our forums, but forum page views account for only 13% of total page views per day from logged-in zoomies. We recently launched All About Zoomshare to help fill in the gab, but that just brings us back the same question, how does one get the word out and generate traffic? Thus our focus on how people share so that we can develop tools that allow people to connect and share with each within and without Zoomshare. As I’ve discussed elsewhere the Flipbook Widget for example, provides a method for sharing photos on Zoomshare and non-Zoomshare sites.

While we work a bit more on those pieces within zoomshare there is something zoomies can do today. Doubt me? How do you think I got people to start viewing my site? That’s right, after getting the site together and posting information, getting a feel for my new site and the potential audience, I started seeking viewers out. To reach the target audience, those who share my interests, I started posting to forums and email lists I already followed, groups I already belonged to. Before I knew it, I generated quite a bit of initial interest. Of course I’m not done, traffic since Jul 1st is slowing down, now its averaging around 111 new visitors per day instead 615. More important, however, in the long term is not so much new visitors, but getting repeat viewers, right now only 7% of the 6,000+ total visits to my site come from repeat visitors.

Right, so what exactly did I do? I posted to tech sites (source of 38% of my recent visitors) I read and sent a few emails (source of around 21% of the visits to this blog) out to friends and family. But I didn’t simply ask people to view my site. Nope, I tried to entice viewers in by providing them a reason why to view the site, Of course, before sending any emails or submitting any posts, I wrote up a few articles of interest, to share as well as to attract.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work and one has to keep at it. spooniep notes that one “has to be persistent” adding to the website and promoting the website on a regular basis. Getting listed in search engines can help, but that’s not a cure all. Less than 1% of all visitors to pdw @ zoomshare came by way of a search engine.

Naturally, I also posted to zoomshare forums so zoomies could discover this new place where they can find out more about features @ zoomshare and how they work. Again, I tried to give potential visitors a reason, laying some bait. Alas, the zoomshare forum is source of less than 1% of all visitors currently. Which means one also needs to be patient, as the word starts to spread between audience members.