Who Do You Want at Your Site?

March 2003
by Steve O’Keefe

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Billions of dollars in web development costs could be redirected to more profitable pursuits if only more people thought seriously about which visitors to try to attract. For years, the knee-jerk reaction to the Internet was first “We need a website,” followed quickly by “We need more traffic,” and then by expensive–and fruitless–search engine optimization efforts.

What you really need is a clear understanding of whose visits will do what.


The Trouble with “the Public”

Many people think they want “everyone” to come to their sites. Really? If your goal is traffic, then you should post pictures of naked people. Most webmasters do not want to become purveyors of porn; in truth, they want a certain kind of traffic. Creating intelligent strategies means narrowing the target audience. For sites supported by banner advertising, raw traffic seems important because more traffic supposedly translates directly into more dollars. But does it? Banner advertising rates vary with audience characteristics. While you might sell generic banner ads for $5 or less per thousand impressions (CPM), I know of medical specialty sites that get between $200 and $300 CPM. And, in any event, the banner advertising market has crashed; sites that earn revenues based on traffic alone are disappearing.

Still, there are some sites that should appeal to the largest possible general public. These are primarily se…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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