Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WUGC CellMap: The Power of Top Level Links

More on the history of the WUGC CellMap.

When we first built the WUGC CellMap, the WUGC organizers were too swamped to link it (I'm a volunteer for Worlds, and I've seen how much work was put into this). So, I wondered: how can we promote this map so people can download it? I know it's something that will be extremely useful, especially for the international visitors that will be attending Worlds.

Then, I saw that the latest forum postings are shown as top level links, right on the navigation pane on the left. This is a great way to get people to participate in the forums, as all the latest messages are shown on every page (since it's part of the nav pane).

So, I made a post in the forum, and waited and see.

Now, I put the CellMap up in the afternoon of July 30. I didn't know what kind of traffic we would have. It was a bit of a "wait and see" approach, but trying to harness the top-level link.

And was it ever powerful.

Without any other type of advertising (other than its prime location), we had over 100 hits in a day!

I wondered how much traction it would've gotten if it was under the venue/competition sub pages, and I have a feeling that it would not get nearly as many. I didn't know whether the webmaster would have enough time to put it under there, so I made an effort to keep the link on the front page. I didn't want to make unnecessary bumps, since that's just bad etiquette. Thus, I made a concerted effort to have useful info and tangible updates to keep it near the top. I updated the schedule, revamped the download page (MUCH more user friendly now).

When it finally made its way officially onto the Venues and Competition pages, I stopped posting so we can see how much that would affect traffic. Interestingly, it didn't dent traffic too much (but it DID go down). That could mean a variety of things, and I have two hypotheses.
  • One, is that word of mouth has taken place. Some people are running around with a CellMap, and are showing it off. (We've had good feed back right on the forum).
  • Two, is that people are purpose driven. If someone is looking at the venues, and comes across a link for CellMap, they'll be intrigued, and check it out. If the visitor isn't looking for a CellMap, having a top level link won't attract them.
Ultimately, having it at the top level did make a difference, but only initially. Even after the link is officially on the subpages, I made a final post on the forum, so it stuck around on the main page for a bit more. Traffic didn't go back up. That could mean that people who are inclined to check it out has already done so, and the "top level-ness" was no longer as important as issue.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to drop us a line!

- Wayne


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