What Is Your Online Shelf Life?

Expiration Social media is beginning to play more of a role in the online marketing of your business if done correctly.  Unfortunately though, too many times we get distracted by social media tools that end up becoming our main focus for our business online.    Which is why one of the topics I love to speak on the most is the importance of your website, or online home base.

What’s Does The Expiration Label Say?

A study done by URL shortening service bit.ly shared that on average, the shelf life for most links shared on either Twitter or Facebook is around 3 hours.  That means that most content you would share on social networks will only survive around 3 hours before it loses it’s power.

So, before you begin building a strategy of using a Facebook page as the hub for your business, consider the fact that if you aren’t constantly updating this page every few hours, you are not getting your message, your product or service out in front of consumers.  Sure, you could set up a bunch of scheduled post updates and monitor things all day long, but is that the most effective way to run your business? Personally I’m not a fan of things with such a short expiration date.

Push Versus Pull

While Social Networks have the ability to grow a huge community of followers, the only source of traffic is that social network.  So, if you have 2,000 followers on Twitter, your audience is just those 2,000 people unless you get lucky enough for someone to re-tweet you.  Facebook, is pretty much the same way, your content getting shared beyond your sphere is dependent on a viewer sharing it for you.  So, you must keep pushing the content in hopes your sphere will also push it beyond your page to others.

While some think this may be the absolute best way to run your online presence, I prefer going with a pull process instead of pushing.  What I mean, is that I prefer focusing my time and effort on creating content on my actual website that I own.  That way, I can drive my Twitter followers, my Facebook Fans, LinkedIn connections, G+ Circles and other social connections to my site.  But, in addition to pushing that traffic to a site, I also can pull in traffic, a new sphere of potential clients and more all through the search engines.

Take a look at this chart showing traffic sources driving visitors to my site:

Site Traffic Sources

  As you can see in comparison to all other sources of site traffic, Google alone is sending over 68% of the traffic to my site.  This traffic are visitors who are typing phrases into the search engine looking for answers and finding my site in the results.  You can see Facebook, Twitter and YouTube do a good job of driving traffic to my site, but they are not anywhere near the amount of traffic that comes from search engines.  This traffic is being pulled in by me writing content they find instead of me pushing something down their social streams.

To make sure it wasn’t just my site that had these types of proportions of traffic, I then decided to look at the data for a few of my clients that I work with closely as their social media advisor to see what their traffic source breakdown looked like.

Take a look at the charts below that represents sources of traffic to two of my clients sites:

Site Stats

Site Stats

As you can see, both of these clients had almost the same identical percentage breakdown of traffic sources into their site.  While social networks push a good amount of traffic to their site, they cannot compete with the amount that is pulled in from Google and other search engines.

Creating A Lifetime Warranty

When you focus your online marketing efforts on creating good content on your own site and not hours on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking strategies you can create content that can last a lifetime.  When you begin to blog or create pages of content, you need to make sure you are answering the questions that your readers want answered.  For example, a post I wrote in June 2011 on Tracking Your Images Through Google has consistently remained one of the top viewed posts on my site.

In fact, this past month it received more traffic than even the home page of my site.  Other posts that I wrote on another site back when selling real estate over four years ago still to this day generate leads and make my phone ring.  This work is the kinds of work that you only need to do once and you can reap the rewards from it for years to come.  The beautiful part is that if I begin to notice a slip in my rankins, I simply write another post on that subject, link back to the well ranking post and it will start to climb back up.

Custom WordPress Site Results

I don’t spend buckets of money each month on Google Sponsored Ad Placements, or on other Pay-Per-Click campaigns.  I simply find terms applicable to my business and then generate content that helps my site to rank on page one of Google for those terms.  While it may take my site a little longer to garner the results I want, the big difference between ranking organically and with PPC is that the minute I stop paying for an ad campaign (PPC), I also lose any source of traffic and leads as my site will disappear off of the first page of SERPS.  If you start paying again, you come back up and the minute you stop, you drop again.  Personally, I’m not a fan of my site acting like a yo-yo.

If you rank organically for a term and don’t do it through shortcuts, you shouldn’t ever see a sudden dip in how your site ranks on certain keywords.  You may from time to time see things drop maybe one or two places.  This is more than likely caused by your site sitting dormant or a change in Google’s algorithm that determines how things should be ranked.

When this happens,  if you simply go back, write some new content, link to the page that was ranking well and possibly give that well ranking page a slight content refresh, you should be able to climb right back up the search engine ladder.  In essence what I have done is created content that can generate leads for a lifetime versus a social network in which you must continuously feed new material to reach that audience.

What Is Your Online Shelf Life?

In closing I want to leave you with this question:  What is the shelf life of your online presence?  Is it something you are building to last forever, or is it something that spoils faster than a loaf of bread?

Feel free to contact me if your website has been lacking and we can discuss strategies to turn it into a long time source of revenue to your business.

photo by: smplyme84

Jeremy Blanton

Jeremy Blanton is the Co-Founder of 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors. He is a social media speaker who shares with thousands of people each year on things like how to use Facebook for Business, Blogging, and How to use Twitter.

When he is not coaching or speaking, he spends most of his time working on Custom WordPress Sites for his clients.

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