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Web News & Tips - Issue #216

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All Hits Are Not Created Equal

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All Hits Are Not Created Equal

By Jim Edwards

After all the debate over website design, shopping carts and credit card processors, every website owner eventually comes to the startling realization that they need one more thing to survive - website traffic! Without website traffic it's the same as building an expensive billboard and, instead of placing it alongside a busy highway, you hide it in your basement where nobody can see it.

Upon realizing they need traffic, most website owners run out and start blowing chunks of money and time trying to get "hits" to their sites, but they fail to realize that all "hits" are not created equal.

In their quest to get eyeballs to their websites, most online operators don't realize there's a big difference between driving "general" traffic to your website and driving "targeted" traffic. Just getting any traffic is the same technique TV advertisers use. They flash ads on the screen in front of people who can't afford or don't need the advertised product. Since general advertising can't hit specific targets, they hit everyone and hope that someone in their target audience is actually watching at that moment. Spam, banner ads, "safe-lists" and similar traffic techniques fall into this "general" category. "Targeted" traffic is made up of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say or sell online. These people either share the same interests or have an immediate need or problem they are trying to solve. "Targeted" traffic is best because the people hitting your website have a much higher likelihood of actually making a purchase. Targeted traffic comes from people following recommended links on other sites, typing in relevant keywords into the search engines, or even reading articles you've written on a particular subject and then clicking over to your site for more information.

If you don't already know where to find the best sources of targeted traffic for your website, you will need to experiment with lots of different sources to find the ones that bring visitors who give you the most "bang for your buck." The fastest way to determine which avenues provide the most targeted traffic is by using an "ad tracker". An "ad tracker" is a simple program, residing on your web server, that tracks how many visitors your site gets from a particular source and how many of them purchased. Though it sounds simple, most businesses don't do this! Most businesses can't tell you their visitor to buyer conversion percentage and, therefore, don't know exactly how much they can invest in traffic generation and remain profitable.

Whether you pay for your website traffic with cash (pay- per-click search engines, ezine ads), or you pay for it with the sweat of your brow (article distribution, free search engines), you must identify your best and most profitable sources of targeted traffic that convert into buyers, subscribers, or leads. Failure to identify and track where your buyers come from and then calculate how much they really cost you ultimately translates into failure for your online business.

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Web News

Could the resistance to paid online content come from a lack of payment alternatives? According to a collaborative survey from Javelin Strategy & Research, eContent Magazine and PaymentOne, 61 percent of the participants said they would be more likely to make online content purchases if there were an easy and secure alternative to the credit card. 

The world record for the number of successful and verified digital attacks carried out in a single day was broken on May 4th 2003 according to mi2g with 2,576 overt attacks. 

The previous single day record was achieved on January 3rd 2003 when there were 2,395 successful and verified overt attacks worldwide recorded. 

"Decision makers are looking for a monumental incident in cyber attack terms and not recognising that the sum of the parts is growing by the day and reaching epidemic proportions. In 2003, we are seeing nearly the same number of overt attacks in a single day that we used to observe in a whole month during early 2002 or for that matter in the whole of 1999," said DK Matai, executive chairman of mi2g. 

Predicted demand for hiring IT workers has reached an historic low of only 493,000 positions over the next 12 months, according to research released by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). The hiring prediction is down from 1.6 million at the start of 2000 and less than one-half of the predicted 1.1 million positions needed at the start of 2002. 

The telephone survey of 400 hiring managers from IT and non-IT companies nationwide found 67 percent of those interviewed said they thought hiring demand would stay the same or decline over the next twelve months. 

Based on data from the World Factbook 2002, Internet penetration in the United States and Canada is roughly 58 percent. This figures represents more than 182 million users between the two countries. 

Of the 165.75 million U.S. users, 122.43 million are estimated to be "active," according to March 2003 data from Nielsen//NetRatings. Nielsen//NetRatings defines active users as the number of people that actually go online in a given month. 

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