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January 7, 2008

How do I get more traffic to my site?

On the Internet, by the end of the day, it’s all about traffic, and more so, it’s all about relevant traffic. Relevant traffic is the lifeline of your online presence and you need to make a continuous effort to keep getting good traffic to your website. Now, you can get targeted traffic from:

  • The search engines: The search engines are the primary source of your relevant traffic, in most of the cases. It doesn’t cost you tons of money to get traffic from the search engines. Millions of users conduct billions of searches every month.
  • Pay-per-click programs: They are not as hot as the search engines but they are your way to instant targeted traffic. Sign up for a pay-per-click program like AdWords and you’ll be getting traffic within fifteen minutes. Pay-per-click advertising options are present on independent content publishing websites too.
  • Inbound links from other websites: If you publish compelling content then many website owners put your link on their websites to add value to their existing content. Such links can be put their voluntarily, or through link exchange. Link exchange is discouraged these days, so the best way of making others link to you is to produce high-class, linkable content, on a regular basis. You can even interact on various online forums to increase your link visibility.
  • Emails: Up till a few years ago email marketing was considered the most effective advertising tool the world had ever witnessed. Spam killed its charm but in some quarters it still performs well, especially the opt-in email newsletters. Email advertising campaigns, provided they are done properly, are still the best way of getting highly targeted traffic.
  • Blogs and RSS Feeds: Only the most ignorant can discount blogs and RSS feeds as highly productive tools in terms of generating targeted traffic. Blogs are a constant source of quality information and hence they get instant traffic from other websites and the search engines. RSS feeds, without being intrusive like emails, instantly notify people whenever you publish something new on your blog or website.
  • Social media and bookmarking websites: Some of such websites are: Digg, Netscape, del.icio.us and StumbleUpon.
  • Offline sources: If you prominently display your URL on your visiting cards, letter heads, brochures and other stationery you can get some good traffic from there too. I have seen people printing their URLs even on their T-shirts and vehicles.

In order to get traffic from all these sources, you have to take care how you create your website and how you organize your content. Given below are a few things you should constantly keep in mind while creating and maintaining your website, and while writing content for your website.

Stick to your central theme as much as possible; The more you stick to your central theme, the more expert content you’ll have. Don’t try to create content for every interest under the sun (or the moon, or the stars). Think vertical if you want to get high-value traffic. Cover all the topics that belong to your central theme. It acts like fodder to the search engines. The search engines love specialized content; give it to them and they’ll give you loads of traffic in exchange.

Sticking to your central theme also earns you great respect and loyalty, and also hundreds of inbound links. When you keep generating content on your subject, people take you as an expert and linking to you becomes a prestige factor. It also increases your keyword-density across your domain.

Provide information that helps your visitors; This is what keeps them coming back to your website. You cannot always be selling this thing or that thing. More than that, develop a bond with your visitors. Show them their happiness matters to you. Make your website a resource of useful information. Publish content that adds value. This is a sure-shot way of increasing traffic as well as loyalty. Information that provides help, for instance, how-to articles, get linked to a lot by other web masters and blog publishers, and this leads to higher rankings on various search engines.

Conduct a thorough keyword research before generating content; Most SEO campaigns fail to zero-in on the right keywords. You’ll be surprised to know what all keywords and key expressions people use to find businesses such as yours. Target a few wrong keywords and you can bid good bye to an effort of six months of SEO. It’s not always necessary to use keywords that your competitors are using. First of all, they might themselves be optimizing for the wrong keywords, and second, there might be a slew of keywords that are being used by the users but are being ignored by your competitors. Use your keyword research to find out such keywords and optimize your web pages for them. This will increase your traffic manifolds.

Create a simple, accessible but elegant design; When you create fast-loading, elegant and accessible web design you accommodate the entire Diaspora of your prospective market — you don’t exclude particular sections of the society. Even search engines prefer accessible websites because almost all accessible websites conform to the W3C web designing standards. Good design also means using the right colors (that cause no eye-strain) and right contrasts to assist seamless browsing. The navigation bar should be designed in such a manner that all your important pages should be reachable within 2-3 clicks. A well-defines sitemap of all your pages help your human visitors as well the search engine crawlers.

Do well-organised onsite optimisation; Onsite optimization means using your keywords at all the right places like within the header tags (

), as anchor text (, and especially in the navigation) and with the bulleted lists ( and ). Also, try to highlight the occurrence of the keywords here and there, but don’t overdo it. Although this is not necessary, use the keyword at least once in every paragraph.

Create a title (the text that comes between ) that not only carries your keywords, but also represents the true highlight of your page content. Never try to deceive your visitors with a title that does not completely represent the content of your page. Your title shows up on the search engine results pages when your link appears on them. A compelling title makes people click it, and having those keywords in your title that people are looking for increases their probability of being clicked.

Regularly create new, relevant content; People come to your website again and again if they are expecting something new there. Similarly, the search engines index and re-index your pages with greater frequency if you update your website regularly. Having many pages increases your chance of at least few of them getting ranked higher by the search engines.

Remain active on the Internet; Known people get more traffic on the Internet. Keep the buzz alive by maintaining an active blog, participating in the comments sections of other blogs and various subject-specific online forums. Blogs are a great way of getting high-quality traffic both from the search engines and from other blogs and websites. If you continuously generate quality posts and encourage productive conversations on your blog more and more people gradually start coming to your blog and some of that traffic gets spilled over to your actual business website. Another benefit of maintaining a popular blog is that if you put your business website link their it gets extra point when the search engines rank your website.

Link to others; Link to them and they’ll link to you. Linking on the Internet is a two-way activity especially if you are not a celebrity (if you are a celebrity people link to you anyway). If you select the outgoing links with caution it also tells the search engines that you link to quality information sources. People who are looking for such links will visit your website repeatedly knowing that you constantly add new links.

More often than not people to whom you link, link back to you.

Well, I could have written a 101 Ways of Increasing Traffic To Your Website but my main purpose was to give you exactly the pointers you can use to increase traffic. Follow the steps mentioned above and you’ll definitely notice a surge in your online traffic.

Author:  Gary Mattoc is the CEO of Peterborough Web Design Company Doublespark and also the Chief Editor of SEO Blog.

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