Local Search: More sites but the same traffic
For Thanet based websites and blogs there is less traffic to go around than four years ago. Thanet related web search was at the same level or lower in 2008 than in 2004 but in during 2007 and 2008 the number of Thanet blogs has exploded.
With the same number of searches being made but a lot more sites available the available traffic for Thanet based business websites has fallen sharply over the last four years.
Using search for "Thanet" as a baseline I asked Google trends for the searches carried out by people in the UK for the terms "Thanet", "Broadstairs", "Margate" and "Ramsgate". The results are quite interesting (once I'd filtered for US searches for Margate which messed up things).
See the latest version of the results here (you will also get to see what the noted news points were).
What does this mean for Thanet Businesses, Blogs and Website Owners? Keep reading to find out.
Using search as an indicator of on-line interest shows us that those who want to look at Thanet related content on-line probably have been able to do so for some time. However, the number of people producing content to meet that need has risen sharply especially in 2008 which saw a surge of new and popular Thanet blogs launched.
The bulk of the web traffic it seems is now people looking at Thanet based blogs.
This means that businesses hoping to gain additional brand recognition or increase sales through web interactions with customers must compete with popular and interesting sites that often have no financial objectives at all. This makes them highly customer focused and sensitive tot he needs of users in ways that traditional business might find hard to match.
What solutions exist for Thanet based businesses wanting to see any traffic to their site with an interest in Thanet? After all the most valuable traffic source is not the one that sends the most hits but the one that sends the most targeted traffic. With blogs and news sites getting the lions share of the attention how can other businesses enjoy the limelight on-line?
One way might be to create a blog as part of your business on-line presence. This should ideally be part of the main site for example:
blog.example.com or example.com/blog are good addresses
However, example.somefreehost.com sends a different message.
Blogging is not something you choose to do on a whim last five on a Friday. Business blogging requires planning, dedication and an investment in time. So if you have a good supply of work time to invest in a blog then this might be an attractive way to gain positive public attention from your corporate website.
On the other hand if you do not have the time to invest then a similar set of results can be had from investing money into some one that has got the time. Thanet Star, for example, might provide the right sponsors with extremely topical and focused brand exposure as could a number of other blogs and bloggers I am sure. What that exposure might consist of (adverts, brand placement, review etc) would be down to the blogger, the offer and the price tag. What might work well one place might not be so ideal in another.
You might like to combine approaches and invest in paying a well qualified writer to write for your blog on a full or part time basis. This is more expensive but might yield good results. It would all depend, of course, on your planning nd the blogs interaction with the other blogs.
A word of warning. The world of blogging, especially Thanet blogging is very very sensitive. As such a number of serious pitfalls exist that could hurt your attempt to gain traction in this way.
For example: Blasting your corporate sales message in every post will fail to meet the needs of readers and further more will win only the derision of most bloggers who will see you as a fake.
For example: If the likes of Mr Goddon wanted to buy brand exposure by sponsoring a blog he might find that he has to offer a very large number of digits indeed before he'd get so much as a sniff of interest.
I fully recommend that you make friends with a local blogger if you are considering any of these approaches. Take the time to chat to them and get some opinion.
I am regularly available by phone or email if you want to talk.