How to draw visitors to your website, how to generate traffic and how to optimise your website for search engines.
More website traffic is what everybody who owns a website wants, but with every increasing amounts of websites to choose from it has become necessary for webmasters and site owners to fine tune their sites and provide some reason why visitors and potential customers should visit their site rather than the rival and competing sites.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become an industry in itself with plenty of companies, small and large, offering to change and tweak your website in order to make it easier for search engines to analyse it, to increase its page ranking, and draw more visitors to it. Naturally, the fees such companies will charge you will vary from the small to the large too, and there’s no guarantee that the traffic will start flowing nor that it will remain constant even if they succeed in generating some.
So what can the site owner do that is both free of charge (or at least low in cost) and which is proven to improve the chances of generating new traffic, encouraging former site visitors to return, and which will make the site more appealing to search engines? The answer is – plenty. There’s a lot you can do without spending a penny. All it take is time and a little thought.
Here is a list of ideas to get you started. You may find more as you go along and research these techniques. New initiatives emerge all the time so this list is by no means exhaustive, but if you can put half of these things into practice then you will have developed an advantage over many of your competing sites.
1. Add plenty of fresh and original content to your site. Keep adding it on a fairly regular basis.
2. Write articles about things that resonate with the theme of your site and submit these to article directories. Your author bio at the foot of the article should contain a link to your site.
3. Create good qualiy content that others will link to. If you write interesting and informative articles about motorcycles it’s more likely that other such sites will create links to your content and you may also attract links from social media.
4. Visit blogs that write about your site’s subjects and leave comments on them. Most comment forms allow you leave a URL so you can add a link to your site there, but keep it in context with the blog. No one likes a spammer.
5. Register at forums that are in the same vein as your site’s topics and participate in discussions. Add a signature to your profile containing a link to your site. Don’t add too many as this can be considered poor netiquette. A discrete signature containing two or three links at most. Again, keep the URL in context with the forum subjects.
6. Post adverts in classified ads websites like Cragslist, Gumtree, or Vivastreet.
7. Look out for review sites and endorse products. You might be able to add a link to your own site from there.
8. Add a blog to your site and write reviews, tell stories, share ideas, and otherwise ‘talk’ to your audience.
9. Use a domain name that is both easy to remember and that also describes what you’re selling.
10. Add something to your site that is free to download. Use a loss leader to draw traffic.
11. Compile a mailing list by having subscription form clearly visible on your site.
12. Send regular, professionally produced mailshots to your mailing list and measure the results.
13. Learn how to use the mailing list account fully and adjust future mailshots according to the results of those previously sent.
14. Optimise your site’s code. Verify it according to a recognised standard and remove anything superfluous.
15. Familiarise yourself with Google’s Webmaster’s/Site Owner’s Guide and act on its recommendations.
16. Join Facebook and make use of the free to use Facebook pages, and/or create a Facebook group and use that to market your site.
17. Join other social and business networking sites and use them i.e. create and expand your network.
18. Use good old fashioned business cards, leaflets and posters on notice boards to advertise your site and its services or products.
19. Advertise your site on promotional merchandise like car stickers, mugs, key rings, pens, and calendars.
20. Start an affiliate program and keep in constant contact with your affiliates.
21. Get someone to proof read your site. Make sure the content is correctly spelt and punctuated and that it is grammatically correct.
22. Submit your site to search engines and web directories. Make sure it’s added to the correct ones and not worthless sites or those which are in the wrong niche. Don’t overdo this or pay for it.
23. Configure a ‘tell a friend’ link in your site. Make it easy for visitors to tell others about your site.
24. Configure a signature in every email account you use. Make it discrete but interesting.
25. If you’ve added a blog to your site or you have one that refers to your main site then submit the blog to blog catalogues and directories.
26. Write press releases a few times each year and submit them to the free PR directories.
27. If you’re site is a blog or contains a blog, enable RSS feeds so that visitors can keep up to date without returning to the site.
28. If you’re site would suit it, add a forum to your site so that visitors can discuss your products or services. You can also use this list bugs and beta releases, to encourage feedback, and to provide support.
29. Continually monitor your site’s ranking and check for increase or decrease for your chosen keywords. You need to know what effect (if any) your modifications are having on your ranking.
30. Use state of the art tools that can automate some of this workload for you. It can all be done by hand but it’s a s-l-o-w process for an individual, and if you have more than one site then the workload increases exponentially.