Monthly Archives: March 2011

Missionary Needed?

In the past, I believed as long as we work on contents, lots of people will be attracted to the website, sooner or later. However, this principle doesn’t seem to hold true anymore.

Or I should say, contents alone won’t translate into traffic.

I read an post the other day (Sorry, source forgotten). It mentions we no longer live in the era that solely good quality of contents can make a website famous or popular. Presentation matters. User interface has influences. Even promotion has to do it deliberately.

Global Voices is doing the same as well. To increase readership in the Chinese site, everyday we repost links on Facebook page. Editors try to add a line or two as attention grabber or as a tagline, so it won’t look like being done by robots.

It’s not a traffic-oriented website. We simply hope more people will read and spread the information, and maybe benefit from it, since we already spend time writing and translating. Then a friend of mine mentions, “actually, what you need is recruiting missionary”.

By “missionary”, it means some people who religiously enjoy reading contents on Global Voices, and share the information repeatedly on whatever channels or platforms they can find.

Those missionaries definitely have some unique characteristics, so they can do promotions so comfortably and blatantly. I, for one, don’t have that talent.

Besides, I always find religious missionaries a bit scary and intimidating, with their proactive and aggressive attitude. In my imagination, they will literally drag you into their spaces, if laws allow. And I don’t like crusade stories either.

Less Expectations

It almost becomes a norm nowadays. When it’s close to the end of semester in high school, traffic in Global Voices Chinese site will somewhat increase, especially searches for old posts. It seems to be students looking for presentation materials for their history classes.

There is another emerging trend going on as well. As new semester begins, college students sign up for translation courses seem to “discover” GV from their professors, and enthusiastically send us letters to volunteer for Lingua, our online translation project. They may quickly register a post or few posts they would like to translate into Chinese, and hope to contribute to this “great project”, as they often mention. How many of them, however, will be able to finish their initial post, or even continue, remains a big question.

GV Chinese editor Portnoy and myself used to have some expectations when we are invited to talk to college students and share GV experiences. We are well received, and they seem to be interested.

Will it turn into higher traffic or more contributions? I don’t know. It depends on how much you believe in humanity.

My answer is on post title, but of course, I’m still grateful to people who do read and/or contribute.