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Commentary: Quality, not quantity

Quality, not quantity

The web has a sickness. Well, it has a few, but the one I'm referring to today is the "eyeball trap."

A few major assumptions lead to this sickness:

  •  The only way to make money on the web is to have as many visitors as possible.
  •  The more clicks/views generated on your website, the more money is to be made.
  •  Your site should be a "one-stop shop" for visitors -- offering them everything they could possibly want on the web on your site.
  •  The most valuable customer is one who visits your website often and spends lots of time there.

The Beacon subscribes to none of these. Not just because we like to zig when everyone else zags, but because:

  •  It isn't working for the majority of for-profit entities that embrace it, and they have more money and more resources that we ever expect to have.
  •  If driving traffic were our primary goal, we couldn't put community needs first when allocating reporting resources.
  •  Creating lots of clicks often means making visitors page through lots of photos or videos or contests about cute kids --  things that have little purpose but to encourage you to come to a site and click around a lot.
  •  Not everyone uses the web with the same frequency -- if they use it at all. If we only focused on users of our website, we'd be leaving people out of the conversation
  •  We like to zig when everyone else zags.

If we reject the traditional approach, you're thinking, "so what's your plan? Rely on hand outs?"
No. We feel strongly that there is a value in developing real and genuine relationships with our communit -- in meeting people where they are (a live event, on the website, a newsletter reader, etc.) and using technology to be better at giving them the information they want.

This also means connecting them with opportunities, product, messages and ideas that they care about and see a value in supporting -- and the more transparent that relationship, the more valuable it is for everyone involved.

Nicole Hollway is the Beacon general manager.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.