With the recent happenings at Digg and the apparent rise of Mixx, it would seem that the balance of power in social media is shifting. The question is: why do Mixx front page stories still not drive any traffic?
With huge gains in all of the traffic reports, it would seem that Mixx would be at the very least close to Reddit’s ability to drive thousands of visitors to a website from the front page. As recently as last week, we tested a story that hit the front page of Mixx to see if it was finally there in the way that it sends traffic.
What’s the deal here? What happened. Is it possible that Mixx is sending less traffic to sites than it did before? There are more visitors and users at Mixx than ever before, but now it seems that front page stories are not taking people to the site.
The reason for this is right there – “front page stories are not taking people to the site.”
The first problem is in the custom nature of the front page. Users who are logged in are served a page based upon their preferences when they go to the homepage. The “front page” is actually the popular page, an inner page of the site. Those who are not logged in will get the popular stories served to them, but logged-in users may not unless they choose to.
The second problem is actually based upon a brilliant marketing move. The headline link used to take visitors to the source media and there was a “view details” link next to it that took people to the Mixx page for that submissions. Now, it’s the other way around — the headline link takes you to the Mixx page and now there is a “view story” link that takes visitors to the source.
In reality, this is a move that will bring more visitors to the site because it is more search engine friendly for Mixx itself. Having the large link to the Mixx page for a submission increases page views and is done so from a keyword-rich link. This makes it more likely that a search engine will index the Mixx page itself and rank it for searches that are relevant. Google traffic has a chance of being higher than user traffic on the site. It’s a good move for the future of Mixx, but a tough move for those who are looking for the server-crashing visitor boost that sites like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon offer.
If they fix one, the other probably wouldn’t be necessary. For now, users are stuck knowing that their front page story is sending dozens of visitors to their target site.
It’s a real catch-22 for the executives at Mixx. Do they continue to optimize their website for future visitors, or do they entice users with ways to increase traffic? Both ideas have merit.
The right thing to do is to stay with what they’re doing. Google traffic will trump social media traffic any day because of relevance and trustworthiness. Still, the need to make changes to the overall layout in order to make the site more sticky. It has tremendous potential with innovative features, butif they can’t make the features easier to get to and more cleverly positioned to draw attention, people will come and then they will go. Either way, they have a long way to go before they are a traffic driver to rival Reddit, let alone Digg.
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