It’s a question I’m sure all of us in the media industry have asked ourselves at some point: why are we doing this?
Despite common opinion, I don’t believe that making money should be the primary goal when publishing; really, you’d have better luck (and dividends) packaging food or (perhaps until recently) giving out mortgages. For most of us on the editorial side, I’d say, it’s the connection with readers that gets us up in the morning. Whether it’s providing them with entertainment, food for thought or essential information, creating quality editorial is the primary goal.
Online, more often than in print, this goal sometimes gets pushed aside for other goals, such as building traffic and selling ads. “Increase pages per visitor!” is something we often hear. “Ad sales has oversold – we need to boost impressions!”
I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t be trying to make some money – I’m as fond of my paycheque as the next person – but I always try to keep one simple rule in mind when working on my site, above and beyond the two goals of creating good editorial and increasing traffic. That rule? Don’t annoy your readers. Keep it in mind while you work on your site (cross-stitch it on a pillow if you have to), just don’t forget it, whether you’re building slideshows for pageviews or selling and integrating vokens.