Dear Gothamist:

What do I do about my friends not going to my website? My website, updated almost daily, is a source of great pleasure to complete strangers but apparently not my friends (and I use the term loosely these days).

I look at their dumb kid/wedding/family reunion photos when I go over to their houses. I feign interest in their doomed love affairs/castles-in-Spain job interviews.

Why can't they look at my website once in a while? They know I have it. All of my emails are signed with my name and the URL.

But when someone mentions it, and its usually someone I just met, my friend doesn't even pretend to know what we're talking about, he/she goes "What are you talking about? Oh you know I haven't really looked at your website in the past two years. Heehee..." Yet they know all the facts about Paris and Ashlee and Jessica, so its not like they're busy with PhD theses or kids or anything...

Do I need to get new friends? Or do I just need to get real?

Your pal,
Cathy

We suggest not reading too much into it. Let's face it, it's likely that almost everyone you know has a website, even if it's just a LiveJournal or a Geocities account with their wedding photos and some flashy animated .gifs. Do you visit the websites of all of your friends on a regular basis. (Because -- and we're kind of ashamed to admit this -- but we don't. No offense, just, you know, we have day jobs.)

So, yeah, they know you have it, but why don't they look? Well, it could be that the content of your site is just not really their cup of tea (which is nothing against you personally). Or perhaps they talk to you often enough that they don't feel it's necessary to check in with you via your website. Or maybe they're ooked out by seeing their friend's writing in a different context than they're used to.

As is the case with most friendship issues, though, communication is key. You want your friends to look at your website? Tell them to visit! Send out an email saying something like, "I just posted something that I think you'll all be interested in..." to draw their attention. (Sure, you've got an email sig with your URL, but odds are, if you converse by email often enough, your friends don't even notice that anymore.)

If you're getting traffic from non-friends, isn't that a little bit better, anyway? Your hit counter goes up because people have randomly found and liked your site on its merits alone, not just because they're your friends. With so many personal sites on the web these days, that's something to be proud of.

So, basically, get real. If you're friends aren't checking out your site, don't take it personally.

Related: We've learned two things that will ensure people continue to visit your website. 1) Post new content on a reliable schedule, so that people know when to check back, and when they do check, something new is there. 2) Link unto others and they will link back to you: a link to sites you like may get the attention of that site, who will in turn check out your site - if it's good quality, you may get a link back. See also Gothamist's controversial notes on what not to do when you blog.

Less related: What to do when your ex-friend's blog is a bit too enticing.