Tuesday, August 12, 2008

if you build it they will come

Not so much. Not so much Mister Man character whose name I can't remember who said that in that movie Field of Dreams. That may apply to a bunch of ghostly baseball players but it doesn't apply to the masses on the www.

Just because you build a site doesn't mean they'll come. Just because you brand it, doesn't mean they'll come. Just because you choose not brand it, doesn't mean they'll come. Doesn't mean they'll sign up for your newsletter. Doesn't mean they'll suck up your RSS feed. Doesn't mean they'll tell their friends. That's like saying just because he buys you a drink you owe him a pajama party. That's like saying just because she promised she'd buy clotted cream she'd bake the pie from scratch. That's like saying just because it rained last week you're going to learn how to play the Star Spangled Banner on a harmonica while simultaneously playing God Save the Queen on a kazoo hanging out of your left nostril. Stop expecting that. Your expectations are too high. You don't get eyeballs just because you think you deserve them. And you most certainly do not get eyeballs just because you learned the buzz-word-term "eyeballs" ... but THAT is an aside we'll save for another day. Back to expectations. Stop that. Stop having them.

You know why you should stop expecting magic from your web site?

You don't deserve the magic. Not really. If you think you deserve it, you'd better take a look around the www and start making lists. Try this at home: get a sheet of lined paper. Draw a line, vertically down the centre. Now you have two columns (row span TBD for all you web geeks out there). At the top of one column put the heading SITES WITH TONS OF COMMITTED TRAFFIC and at the top of the other column write SITES NO ONE VISITS. Ready, set, surf!

First, applaud yourself for finding the sites that no one visits. Second, fill in the columns. Take a yellow highlighter and highlight the sites that deserve their fate. What does the first column look like? Yellow? Or is the second column yellow? If this was a balance scale that measured the heaviness of yellow, which side would it tip toward? If you had on glasses with blue tinted lenses, which side would turn green? If you had a clay pot full of buttercups, which side would camouflage the flowers? The left, or the right?

Now ask yourself why you just wasted all that time.

The only way to have committed traffic is to give people a reason to be there. The reason is not your unique selling proposition for your brand new product. That's not enough to engage a user. We're talking committed traffic, not just traffic. What's committed traffic? Users who are willing to and wanting to engage with your brand on line. Not just sign up for the contest. Not just write on your wall and bam thank you ma'am. People who want to be there because they have found an extension to what they already know and respect. Your brand. The purpose of the www in relation to your brand is to stretch it out wide....like...like...a NET. A net that....works. So that it becomes something huge. Something that grows in an organic manner. Your brand can grow like that. Like ivy. Moss. Create Coverage. Wide. Web. Net. Works.

Digital. Yep. That's where it's @

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