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View Full Version : Is the .com & Haunted House Referral site dead?



dr0zombie
10-23-2011, 05:03 PM
Yes, I realize that topic is going to start some ruckus. So read through this before you just blast off a defensive or offensive reply. Larry, I am not complaining about your site… it’s a great site… just sharing what appears to be a significant industry change I did not realize had happened.

I am the owner of a 1st year haunted house in Illinois. I spent a decade working for an event in Illinois that was consistent ranked in the top three. During part of that time I was the webmaster of the events site, and always had access to their website analytics. Now as the owner I have access to my analytics. You are talking to a guy who has been maintaining, at the event level a haunted house site on and off since 1998.

Five years ago I would have told you to do anything you could to be a part of your local Haunted House Referral / review site. These sites drove MONSTER amounts of traffic to the .com of a haunted house. I would have said, have a MySpace to send people from your .com to interact. Five years ago I was getting burned out and uninvolving myself from the industry.

Today, I own an event and watch my traffic heavily. Google gives me most of my hits over 1/3 of my hits. The rest of the search engines are in there too. Next highest place kicking people to me is….. FACEBOOK!!!! The haunted house review sites combined… DO NOT equal the traffic Facebook pushes to me. Now this may be unique to me. But I can say this is really telling me a few things.

1. Facebook really is becoming the AOL like portal it is rumored to be. People under 25, our core audience are living their entire lives in Facebook. No .com…. they don’t even care to go look… There are other social sites… Hulu, YouTube, those places… but no one cares about a regular old someonesaidgohere.com site.

2. Your search engine priority is more important than ever. WHY? Because people under 25 know how to Google. They can find you… so help they find you…

3. Guys, let’s face the facts… NO ONE under 25 gives a darn about an online review anymore. They have become just a known fraud source. You doubt me, ask them. They stopped looking when the companies started paying people in India and China to stack reviews with false entries. I stopped asking if people went to our local online review place in our third weekend. Why, might you ask? I was educating the public that the site existed. No one knew who they were.. I have two colleges in town... NO ONE KNEW! (BTW, as an owner I realize I love being the guy who greets. If your exit and entrance are in the same place you really get the pulse of your crowd and your event. )

The point of my rant here is to share what might be something the rest of you realized in your marketing over the last few years. The .com is weaker than it has probably ever been. Facebook is the monster in the yard we all have to appease. And no one wants to waste time looking at an inconvenient opinion on things or looking up your haunted house in a listing of 100 other events. People now know how to Google and they just want to type into their search engine “my town” “haunted house” and hit enter. Or even better, go to the place their Friend just posted made her mom piss her pants….

Now the real battle….where the hell do I spend my advertising dollar…. =)

krazedklownkilla
10-24-2011, 07:25 PM
I do agree with you here. I keep a very watchful eye on everything my haunt dose and it seems that the haunt search pages dont have as many hits as the Google search. Kinda crazy but Who am I to say what teens are doing????

HauntedMemphis
10-24-2011, 11:18 PM
I've found similar findings.

1) 30% of my traffic comes from Facebook.
2) Google is about 25% of my traffic.
3) 25% of my traffic typed my address in directly. (I put my website on everything printed.)
4) 10% of my traffic comes from my local review site.
5) 10% of my traffic comes from other referals including Hauntworld, Midnight Syndicate, the HAA, and local media sites.

DDJR
10-25-2011, 12:33 AM
Heres what i have

1 google
2 hh.com Paid
3 direct
4 local referal No charge
5 hw.com paid

The problem i have had when looking at thease results over the last four years. You pay the same abount of money to both referal sites yet one site gets you four times the traffic. Does anyone else see the same.

bhays
10-25-2011, 06:49 AM
Here's what we're seeing:

1. Google
2. Direct to our domain
3. Facebook
4. Bing
5. Yahoo

First review site comes in at 19. I honestly believe our Facebook Fan page is every bit as important as our web site these days. We're over 7000 likes and it has been a great source for customers this season.

SCfearfarm
10-25-2011, 07:45 AM
Mine for the month of October are:

Google - 34%
Direct traffic- 22%
Hauntworld paid- %8
Hauntedhouse.com- %8
Hauntedhouseonline.com- %6

I am not taking either side on the debate because I am fairly new to the business, but.....to be a featured haunt on hauntworld is about the same cost as one 1/4 page ad in my local newspaper.....or 4 extra vinyl banners........so for the investment for me it is still worth it because it draws more people than either of those 2 now. Newspapers are almost dead so I had rather take a chance on something online. Plus.....you still have to count your page views on hauntworld itself that people get information from and never visit your actual website. We have been polling the crowd and a lot of people get information directly off of the referral sites without visiting the website. It looks like most all of us must be doing good marketing for people to be typing in our domain directly in the top 3 or so instead of searching....but the factual numbers don't lie.....google is king of searches and getting your website up at the top of google should be everyone's goal.

JamBam
10-25-2011, 09:37 AM
This month seems typical of the past except Facebook is rising.

1. Direct address
2. HH.com
3. local referral site
4. Hauntworld sites
5. Bing
6. Yahoo
7. Facebook

HauntedPaws
10-25-2011, 02:52 PM
Facebook and Google should be your biggest as they have the most presence. Facebook is the most visited site on the web. If they aren't what's happening? For Facebook are you posting daily messages? The members friends will see your posts and possibly join too. If not daily the few days before your first night of the week like Tuesday or Wednesday. As for Google is your page SEO optimized and the info current with up to date dates?

Bhays has the ideal site traffic breakdown atm.

dr0zombie
10-25-2011, 08:20 PM
I have much the same traffic breakdown as Bhays. I would guess in much smaller numbers though. I do what I can to maximize my listings and we post to Facebook regularly to help people know who we are. Plus Facebook coupons seem to have a better return to the door than free radio tickets. :)

It does seem that as haunt owners we are stuck in 2005 with our fascination with review sites. So why are we not moving to figure out how to maximize our Facebook value? I am not saying Larry can’t mutate HauntWorld to do that. I am just saying it seems like this is an obvious change we need to get on board with.

spookhaven
10-28-2011, 12:23 PM
But is your Facebook from your free sites you create or are you paying for ads on the sides? I think that makes a difference. I have a larger Facebook following but they are all contacting me directly on Facebook. They are not "clicking through" so the leads aren't coming from Facebook. I would have to say that some of my direct traffic is coming from Facebook, but that is because I don't advertising per say just "post" with a link daily.

Just a thought we need to consider.

bhays
10-28-2011, 12:26 PM
Last year we did paid FB ads, this year we didn't. Honestly the best thing we've ever done is have someone take photos at the end of the haunt then post those on FB. We have added thousands on our FB page this way. I honestly didn't expect the response we've gotten.


But is your Facebook from your free sites you create or are you paying for ads on the sides? I think that makes a difference. I have a larger Facebook following but they are all contacting me directly on Facebook. They are not "clicking through" so the leads aren't coming from Facebook. I would have to say that some of my direct traffic is coming from Facebook, but that is because I don't advertising per say just "post" with a link daily.

Just a thought we need to consider.

MovieRelics
10-28-2011, 12:30 PM
Remember what we talked about at Fear Camp, the best tools are the ways that engages your guest to help promote you to their friends. Its the "Word of Mouth" ideology that Facebook is great at fostering. Its the best kind of advertising plus it's basically free advertising your haunt!