Increasing Your Site's Usefulness With Search

posted on 10/15/07 at 11:30:14 pm by Joel Ross

I've been doing some traffic analysis lately, and I've come to realize that the web site itself is basically only used by new visitors - the majority coming from web searches. On any given month, about 90% of my web traffic is from new visitors. Almost 70% of my traffic comes from search engines, where 95% are new visitors. From a monetization standpoint, that's the traffic I want to make my money from. Subscribers are the dedicated ones I'm having a conversation with, and I'm not interested in making money from them - hence, no ads in my feeds. But web visitors who are visiting because they have a problem they are looking to solve - well, if I can make a little money there, I'm willing to give it a try. And when I say "little" I do mean little!

Anyway, now that we're past my money making philosophy, on to the real point here. I added Google's search capabilities to my blog in August of '05. For the longest time, it was on the side bar, sometimes below the fold, and sometimes above it - but always on the side. When I created a new header, I decided to move the search to the top right corner, where it would be 1.) more visible, and 2.) less in the way. That was back in March or April of this year. Before that, I had a fairly low number of searches per month. Since then, I've had more than double my previous high six of the seven months, and four of those months were more than four times that:


As you can see, moving search to the header has really increased the number of searches. Some of this can be attributed to increased traffic, but if you put this against my traffic stats, the searches have increased by a much higher rate than actual traffic.

Note that the increased search numbers hasn't translated into any extra money, but it does make the site more useful, and hopefully it will turn some of those 90% of new visitors per month into dedicated subscribers, which is what I would rather have.

Categories: Blogging