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How Paid Content Drives Away Website Traffic

By Kelsey Jones

newspapersWhile researching or reading up on a certain topic or current event, one of the most frustrating things in the world is to be taken to a snippet of the article and to be told that to read the entire article, one needs to sign up for a paid membership to the site.

As a Citizen of the Internet, I cannot hit my back button fast enough. I will never pay for content that I can get somewhere else.

And your consumers shouldn’t have to either.

As Ben Parr from Mashable stated in 2010, “The numbers speak for themselves: The old newspaper model is simply not going to be market-viable as we head deeper in the digital age. News blogs (such as Mashable) and online reporting are the future of journalism.

That doesn’t mean that newspapers should simply give up and die. There are many things that newspapers can do to avoid extinction. The ones that embrace the online space faster and more effectively have the best chance for survival.”

News and current event articles, as well as columns, tutorials, and blog posts should never require readers to pay for access. The fire on 2nd street in downtown Manhattan, Kansas isn’t the secret to finding the Holy Grail, so why should I have to pay to read about it, especially when I can find out all the details from Twitter, Facebook, or another Free news site or blog?

I must have chosen your website for a reason—either someone else linked to it, it showed up in search results, or I somehow stumbled upon it. For that, I give you kudos. But my applause ends there. Asking me to pay a monthly subscription fee not only causes me to hit my back button, it also makes me go out of my way to complain about it and tell others about it—in a negative light.

I didn’t think this was a big secret, but to some content sites, apparently it is. Consumers and readers don’t mind ads, as long as they don’t interfere with reading the content. Ads and advertisers are there for a reason—use THEM to make money. (Especially since revenue gained by the publishing industry for online advertising continues to increase.) Don’t make the actual drivers of website traffic—the users and potential customers—pay for your “substantial hosting and content publishing costs.”

Internet users don’t care that the newspaper industry is failing. There are thousands of blogs, websites, and other online journals that are willing to fill in the gap with well-written, relevant stories for free. People still appreciate paper content, but when they are online, they aren’t going to pay for it. Requiring a paid content subscription is going to negatively affect website traffic, loyalty, and will further decrease publishing profits.

Recommended Reading:

Newspaper graphic source: Newspaperdeathwatch.com

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

CEO/Founder at MoxieDot.
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones

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  • Ace Rocolla is a genius says:

    shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhocking
    I have the same aversion with porn sites; people pay for that?