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Bessed, Two Months In

December 6, 2006

So it’s been two months since Bessed launched, and my goal is to frankly assess where the site is at the end of each month.

On the upside, the site now boasts of just over 300 topic pages, with quite a few in the queue waiting to be added.  That’s good.

Our traffic fell from the first month, however, down to just 3,170 page views last month, or about 105 per day.  It’s not unexpected that traffic would go down a bit from the first month to the second, as the first month of a launch is when it’s easiest to get some press coverage and get a little word of mouth.

While I’m not happy with the dropoff, I’m glad to see that the dropoff in traffic was worse than the dropoff in revenue—traffic dropped by 58% but revenue dropped by 21% from October.  That tells me that the people coming in over the past month were more likely to be people that were doing specific searches for topics that lent themselves to greater revenue generation, versus the larger swarm that can be expected to check out a new site but not necessarily use it as intended.

Nevertheless, it’s a significant drop in both traffic and revenue, which is bad. No sense sugar-coating it.

Challenges so far.  Getting new topics added while trying to keep existing topics updated as new events occur. I said in an earlier post that I didn’t want to just sit back and wait for others to add sites because that creates a boring, fairly static directory.  But in order to keep a site more “alive”, that means paying attention to the news and updating topics on a more timely basis.  We’ve been somewhat hit or miss on this, not adding topics as fast as I’d like, and only getting a certain amount of existing topics updated to the place I’d like them to be.

It’s basically a matter of not having enough manpower (peoplepower?) to do it as well as we should. What I then need to ask is, are we trying to do more than we really can in making the site all-encompassing?  Is it realistic to take on all topics, or is it more realistic to limit the number to what our people can reasonably do really well, thus keeping things updated but growing the site much slower in terms of total topics covered? I’m not inclined to slow down the introduction of new topics; I’m hoping that we’ll continue to get more feedback from users, which will prod us to update topics that need updating quicker—the truth is that we can’t possibly keep up with the absolute latest thing happening on each topic every single day.  But if we’re getting feedback from visitors saying, “hey, Steve Wozniak was on Colbert last night, you should link to that” or whatever the case may be, we’ll do better and the site will be better.

The truth is that what makes a site work is traffic and contributions from visitors.  We’re not the only social media site that is ready to be social but doesn’t have enough socializers if you get what I’m saying.

For now the goal is to continue to expand, to serve the people that are coming in and making suggestions, and see how the traffic trends.  It’s much too early to get down on things, but it’s never too early to start raising the questions that eventually need to be answered one way or the other.

That said, on to month #3.

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