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November 30, 2007

I’m writing lots of free content for my website, but still nobody comes. What can I do?

Having launched more than 100 specialist content websites for clients over the last six months, I often get asked this question. My answer is always twofold.

Over the long term, which I suggest is 12 to 24 months, good-quality, highly focused and regularly updated content websites will triumph.

Google and the search engines are getting far better at separating the wheat from the chaff. They are 100% focused on finding the best content for each particular search request.

Once the search engines have visited your site and made an initial positive assessment, they will keep coming back and re-indexing your content. The more content you publish, the more frequently they will return. The more they like what they see, the higher they will rank you on the search results pages. The higher up the results list you appear, the more people will see your links and click on them. Hopefully, some of these visitors like what they read so much that they link to it from their websites or blogs. These inbound links from other sites are seen as positive endorsements of your content by the search engines, which respond by improving your site’s position on the search results pages.

And so the virtuous circle goes on and the traffic to your website increases.

The moral of this story is: keep publishing great content and don’t give up just because you don’t see instant results.

But this all takes time.

What can you do if you want to increase the number of visitors coming to your website?

There is a lot you can do. In fact, if you undertook all the activities that could build traffic, you would have no time to create content.

So where should you focus your early marketing efforts to get the greatest long-term benefits?

The answer is to build your presence, reputation and authority with your target audience so that you have a firm foundation of loyal and supportive readers who will help spread the word about you and your site.

To achieve this goal in the shortest possible time, you should focus on the handful of people in your market who can make a big difference. They will be characterized in the following ways:

  1. They have a relevant audience of their own, probably via their own website or blog.
  2. They have a good reputation for being authorities in your sector.
  3. They are interested in what you write about.
  4. They have shown they are happy to provide links from their site to other websites.

These are the people you need to engage with, so they will talk about you and what you have to say. If you are mentioned in articles written by perceived experts, you become endorsed as an expert yourself. This will bring targeted and relevant traffic to your website and will start building a loyal audience.

So how do you work with these very busy people who are continually being pestered for endorsements?

Here are some good ideas:

1. Get on the Radar – The best way to get on another blogger’s radar is to get him or her to see you as a useful and helpful ally. Most bloggers’ sites allow people to add comments after articles. The quality of these comments improves the site and turns it into a community. To get noticed, you should regularly add good-quality, well-thought-out comments on all the sites you want to work with.

2. Link to Their Blogs or Websites – Every successful blogger or website owner knows the importance of inbound links, so show your support by providing links to those sites, referring to specific articles (with links) and talking about them in comments and forums on other people’s websites.

3. Get in Contact – Once you have established yourself as a supporter, it is time to get in touch directly. But a word of warning; DON’T go straight in with a request for a link to your website. This will undo all the good work you have done so far. First you need to build a personal relationship, so think about how you can help the person be more successful. Here are some approaches that I know have worked:

a. Ask if you can do an interview, which you will publish on your site. Better still, make it a podcast that you publish on iTunes and similar sites.

b. Offer to write an article about a subject you know is highly relevant to that person’s audience for exclusive publication on his or her website. Try to become a regular guest writer.

c. Ask if you can republish on your website a specific article he or she has written.

d. If you have written an ebook, invite the person to be an official reviewer.

e. Ask him or her to comment on a particular article on your site that is relevant to something he or she has previously said.

4. Meet in Person – Nothing beats meeting in person to cement a relationship. Arranging to meet is usually best achieved at industry events, unless you are fortunate enough to live near the person.

5. Encourage Community on Your Website – Once you have engaged with all the key influencers in your sector, your ultimate goal is for them to start visiting your website regularly to see what you are writing about. When they visit, you ideally want them to leave comments or participate in your forum. For this to happen, you need to have created a community where you are visible and active.

Summary

Engaging with and being recognized by the key online movers and shakers in your niche is one of the fastest ways to build a core audience and credibility. Do everything you can to help these people become successful, and you will reap the rewards. Remember, to have friends you’ve got to be a friend!

Author:  SubHub provides an all-in-one solution to enable you to rapidly design, build and run your own content website. Publish for profit on the web. Website: http://www.subhub.com SubHub Articles Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/SubhubStartASubscriptionOrMembershipWebsite-OnlineMagazineOnlineJournalOnlineNewsletter?format=xml

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