Monday, May 20, 2019

I Want the Right Pageviews

This week's blog post is partly inspired by this post on Seth Godin's blog. In it, he makes the case that the idea of "reach" is overrated.

Why do you care if you can, for more money, reach more people? Why wouldn’t it make more sense to reach the right people instead?

I agree entirely. Here's a specific case in point.

My association has a website. There's a lot of good content up there, most of it intended for our members. But there are a few pages that focus on what fluid power (the technology my association represents) is. Those pages aren't really for our members. They already know what fluid power is. We don't have much of a public relations or advocacy focus, but as the trade association representing the fluid power industry, it feels wrong not having some information up there about what it is and what it does in the market.

Here's the problem, though. Every time we go to look at our web analytics, guess what comes up as the page with the most pageviews? That's right. It's our "What Is Fluid Power?" page. There are some in the organization who track and trumpet this. Look at how many pageviews our website got last month! We must be doing a really great job.

I have a different view. Let me phrase it in striking terms so I can underscore how strongly I feel about it.

I don't care about the people visiting the "What Is Fluid Power?" page of our website. They -- whoever they are -- are not our members, and our website is not for them.

Do you know how I know they are not our members? Look at the traffic source for all those pageviews. The vast majority are coming from organic search -- meaning that they are typing "what is fluid power" into Google or Bing or some other search engine and finding our page in the results that come back to them. Our members aren't doing that.

Show me the pageviews of the people coming to our site because they've bookmarked it, or they clicked on one of the links in our member e-newsletter. Those are the right pageviews to watch and pay attention to, because those are much more likely to be our members.

As someone whose job depends on connecting our members to the programs and services of my association, I can't get complacent about this. I simply do not want more pageviews for the sake of having more pageviews. I want more of a certain kind of pageviews -- the ones that reflect our members reading and accessing our programs.

When I talk about the "right" pageviews, those are the ones I'm referring to.

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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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