While I haven’t had the time to read Facebook Sending More Traffic Than Google to Some Sites, it did get me to think about how people end up visiting Design Notes. Yesterday a I made a quick hit list of all the different types of site that pass links on to my blog. There’s the usual sources like Twitter, Facebook (which is usually an indirect feed from Twitter), Delicious, blogs and Tumblr. All those type of sites are what I would consider “trusted sources”. People use those sites because they’ve benefited from visiting them before so they go back. Compare that to search. I don’t really have the data but I’m guessing years back search resulted in over half of how people found my site. I was mentioning that last night to a couple friends and they had a good reason for the reduction—I’m not talking much about products as I used to, it’s more about ideas. To extend that concept—maybe talking about ideas/opinion is hard for a spider to grab on to? Just an assumption on my part.
Search is a bit of a gamble, you click on a link hopping you’ll find what you’re looking for. Compare that to a trusted source where the content has already been curated, there’s a visual cue (blogs and Tumblr typically show an image), and/or it’s not just composed of an algorithm. Another argument is that a design blog is about visual things, so other design blogs want to show off visual stuff. Other topic blogs might not have the same need for things to look good. So what’s better search or other sources? It’s hard not to be happy to have people pass traffic on to my site, whether it’s via a referral or talking about something. But I also wonder about the lack of random followers that might not come because I’m not talking about a product. StumbleUpon is one kind of site that allows people to find unusual things, but even that segment of people online is small in comparison to the entire interwebs. Maybe the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button needs to be redesigned.