The A to Z Guide to Getting Website Traffic
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In September of 1999, Brett
Tabke wrote "26 Steps to 15k a Day" in the Webmaster
World forum. A lot has changed since then, and now
is the time to consider a new 26-step plan that meets
the current needs of webmasters in 2006. Some of the
old ones still apply (writing new content everyday,
for example), and some don't (submitting to the search
engines is no longer necessary), and we're here to
tell you which is which! As you probably already know,
bringing in traffic is not easy - it takes hard work,
determination and lots of elbow grease. So if you're
ready, roll up your sleeves and follow these 26 simple
steps, and within just one year you will generate
enough traffic to keep you busy for a long, long time!
Before you do anything else, use a keyword research
tool and do an extensive job researching the right
keyphrases to use for your site. What keyphrases are
your direct competitors using? Are there any keyphrases
that create a potential for market entry? Are there
any that you can put a spin on and create a whole
new niche with?
If you want to brand your company name, then choose
a domain name that reflects it. If your company is
Kawunga, then get www.kawunga.com. If it's taken,
then get www.kawungawidgets.com. No dashes, and no
more than two words in the domain if appropriate.
Avoid the sandbox
Buy your domain name early, as soon as you have chosen
your keyphrases and your company name. Get it hosted
right away and put up a quick one page site saying
a little about who you are, what you sell, and that
there will be more to come soon. Make sure it gets
crawled by Google and Yahoo (either submit it or link
to it from another site).
Create over 30 pages of real, original content on
your site. This will give the spiders something to
chew on. It will also give you more opportunities to be seen in the search engine results for a wide
variety of keyphrases.
Use the "Keep It Simple" principle. Employ an external
CSS file, clean up any Java Scripts by referring to
them off the page in an external file, don't use frames,
use flash the way you would an image, and no matter
what, do not create a flash site. Do not offer a busy
site with lots of bells and whistles to your visitors.
Keep things nice and simple. Make it easy for them
to find what they are looking for and they'll have
no reason to look anywhere else.
The less kilobytes your page uses, the better - especially
for the home page. Optimize your images and make sure
the page loads quickly. Most people and businesses
in the Western world may have high speed, but cell
phones and other countries might not. If your site
loads slowly, you may have already lost your visitor
before they've even had a chance to browse around.
Make sure that your site follows good usability rules.
Remember that people spend more time on other sites,
so don't violate design conventions. Don't use PDF
files for online reading. Change the colours for visited
links, and use good headers. Look up usability for
more tips and tricks, it will be worth your while.
On site optimization
Use the keyphrase you have chosen in your title (most
important), your headers (when appropriate), and within
the text. Make sure that your page/content is ABOUT
your keyphrase. If you are selling widgets, than write
about widgets. Don't just stick the word widgets into
Globals are the links that remain the same on every
page. They are the reference for new visitors to keep
them from getting lost. Sometimes they are on the
left of the page, sometimes they consist of tabs at
the top. Often they are in the footer of the page
as well. Make sure that you have an old style text
version of your globals on every page. I usually create
tabs at the top, and put the text versions in the
footer at the bottom of the page. Find out what works
best for you.
Use bold headers. On the Internet, people scan - they don't read. So initially, all they will see are the
headers. If your headers don't address their concerns,
they won't stick around long enough to read your content.
Use appropriate keyphrases when you can.
Build a site map with a link to each of your pages.
Keep it up to date. This will allow the spiders to
get to every page. Put a text link to the site map
on the main pages.
Add a page every 2-3 days: 200-500 words. Create original
content, don't copy others. The more original and
useful it is, the more people will read it, link to
it, and most importantly of all - like it enough to
keep coming back for more.
White hat only
Stay away from black hat optimizing techniques. Black
hat optimization consists of using any method to get
higher rankings that the search engines would disapprove
of, such as keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible
text, cloaking and more. Stick to white hat methods
for long-term success. People who use black hat optimization
are usually there for the short-term, such as in porn,
gambling, and Viagra markets (just look at your email
spam for more black hat markets). These black hat
industry sites are usually around just long enough
to make a quick buck.
Who is linking to your competition? Use Yahoo's "link:"
service to see the back links of your competition.
For example, type in "link:http://www.yourdomain.com" into Yahoo search without the quotes). Try to get
links from the same sites as your direct competitors.
Better yet, see if you can replace them!
Submit to five groups of directories:
1. Dmoz.org and Yahoo (local, such as Yahoo.co.uk,
or Yahoo.ca, etc... if you can).
2. Find directories in your field and get into them.
Pay if you must, but only if the price is reasonable.
3. Local directories that relate to your country or
4. Any other directories that would be appropriate.
5. If you are targeting the local market, make sure
that you are in the Yellow Pages and Superpages (because
search engines use these listings to power local searches)
Start a blog about your industry and write a new entry
at least once a week. Allow your visitors to comment
or, better yet, write their own entries. This will
create even more content on your site and will keep
people coming back regularly to see what is new.
Links from other sites
Simply submit your website to appropriate sites, asking
that they link to your site as a reference because
it will benefit their visitors. Don't spend too much
time on this, if your content is good and original,
they will find you and link to you naturally. Remember
is Queen (www.redcarpetweb.com/promotion/0409.html#feature).
Stay away from reciprocal linking, links farms, link
scams, and any other unnatural links. They may not
necessarily hurt you, but Google tracks when you get
a link, how long you have had a link, who links to
the site that links to you, where you live, what you
had for breakfast, and more (not really... but kind
Make sure your server has a good statistics program.
Use it! If you don't have access to a good program,
then pay for one. Without the knowledge of who is
coming to your site, from where, and how often, you
will be missing out on some essential tools to improve
Sign up for Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing.
Spend money getting people to your site. Use it for
branding too. This will create a steady flow of visitors
to your site, and will make your site more accessible
to your potential clients. You don't have to be #1,
you don't even have to be #5... just make sure you
are on the first page of search results for most of
your keyphrases, when the cost is right.
Stay informed of what is coming up in your market.
If a new product will be out next season, write about
it now. Take advantage of being a first mover. The
search engines, and linkers, will reward you.
Write an article once every week and get it published
in as many online publications as you can (with a
link back to your site). Include the article on your
site. Not only will this create many links to your
site, but it will also get people to click to your
site, and most importantly you will become an expert
in the eyes of your visitors. They may even begin
looking for your site by querying your name!
Study your traffic
After 30 to 90 days you will have enough results to
analyze in your statistics program. Go over them with
a fine toothed comb. Get the answers to these questions:
- Where are your visitors coming from?
- Which search engines do they use?
- What queries do they type in?
- What pages on your site do they visit the most?
- What are the entry pages on your site?
- What are the exit pages?
- What path do they follow when they browse your site?
Use this information to tweak your site.
- Use the most popular page to encourage the visitors
to make you money.
- Adjust the paths they use to send them where you
- Figure out why they leave from the exit pages.
Also, see what search terms people use to find you,
and fine tune your keyphrases. If you targeted "green
widgets", but your visitors are finding you with the
query "green leather widgets", then start creating
content about "leather widgets"!
Verify your submissions
After 3-4 months, check that you got into Dmoz.org
and all of the other directories that you submitted
to. If you have not been included, then submit again,
or better yet, write a polite email to the editor
and ask why. Also, find any new directories that would
be worthy of your submittal time and submit to them.
RSS (Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary)
is becoming a powerful tool for Internet marketers.
You can quickly and easily add fresh content to your
website. Article feeds are updated frequently, so
you can give your visitors (and the search engines)
what they want - fresh content! You can use RSS to
promote any new content, such as new pages, articles,
blogs, press releases, and more!
A press release is a written communication that you
submit to journalists in the media (newspapers, radio,
television, magazines) which are used to make announcements
that are newsworthy. Create press releases announcing
publication of any new articles or new company information
or products. If it is interesting/original enough,
a journalist may pick it up and write an article about
it. Before you know it, your website address may get
published in the NY Times.
Keep your content fresh
Remember to write a new page every 2-3 days. I only
mentioned it briefly, but it is probably the most
important point in this article. Keep writing! Without
fresh content, your site will gradually drop in the
search engine results. To stay on top, your content
has to be the most up-to-date, freshest, and most
interesting and original content in your field.
Follow these 26 simple steps and I assure you that
within one year you will call your site a success.
You will bring in a massive amount of traffic from
within your industry and watch as your business grows!
So start writing, and write yourself to the top!
Campbell is the co-founder and
Chief Search Engine Optimizer at Red
Carpet Web Promotion, Inc. www.redcarpetweb.com
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