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One of the Internet’s strengths is its ability to help consumers find the right needle in a digital haystack of data. ~ Jared Sandberg
There are many creative ways to increase traffic to your website. Some will cost you money, and some won’t. Below you’ll find many legitimate ways (ranging from free to costly) to boost the number of visitors to your website. But if you don’t have so much as a cent to spare, read How to Increase Website Traffic for Free.
- Offer free, original, and quality content on your site. This is the most effective means for increasing traffic to a website; offering people something that they cannot obtain elsewhere, or at least, not to the level of quality that you are offering it. Ways in which to ensure that your content is of higher quality than competitors or is unique include:
- Creating content that is helpful and useful. Simply cobbling together information from another website will not generate traffic. You need to offer visitors the information they need to achieve a goal, solve a problem, be entertained, find out quality news or have a good laugh.
- Keep it fresh. For repeat visits, it is crucial to provide regular updates to the website, especially in frequently viewed zones. Add fresh content every few days if possible; at a minimum, weekly.
- To have a fully functioning and successful website, you need to make sure your tags are in place and your links are not broken. You also need to submit a sitemap.xml file to Google to have your website show up in Google’s search engines. There is a tool that inspects websites just in case you missed tags and links and it creates a free sitemap.xml file. It gives you results in minutes.
- Outsource article writing. If you hate the thought of generating content yourself, or your team is not writing-savvy, consider outsourcing this end of the task. Depending on the length, content, specialization and quality required, prices can start as low as US$5 per article. However, don’t neglect attempting to write your own work – who better than you knows your own business, hobby or club and can express precisely what needs to be said? Just sit down and start writing an article. You may be impressed when you’re done!
- Add video to your landing pages (VLP – Video Landing Page) that is informative and relevant to your site. Respected studies show that good video can improve conversions and page ranking more than most any other item you can add to your pages.
- Use landing pages for fast fulfillment of your PPC advertisement.
- Launch some contests. It’ll draw you instant traffic. You can Goggle search some free sponsor program and do such contest frequently.
- Trying to get more backlinks on your website this may help to increase the traffic.
- Get a proofreader. Poor spelling and grammar reflect badly on the services and information being provided; avoid unwarranted negative judgments by getting the writing in order prior to publication online.
- Avoid content generators. While these were once the delight of a fledgling web industry, they are no longer useful. Putting your own team’s creativity online is what is useful.
- Never copy and paste from another website – Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines are too smart for this nowadays and will detect copied and unoriginal content, sending you to the bottom of the pile.
- Improve your search engine ranking by focusing your content on keywords related to your topic. This is called search engine optimization and will help people find your website when they’re searching the Web. Make sure the keywords flow naturally with the text and when you are brainstorming for good words, ask around for words that come naturally to people of all ages when looking for your type of site. To help you understand better, realize that the keywords not only go into headings and page names but also into “meta tags”. “Meta tags” are the software code that website visitors do not see but search engines do. Finally, don’t overdo the keywords; over-stuffing keywords will result in a very low search ranking for your website. Also, be very careful not to place key text inside graphics; search engines cannot pick up graphics.
- Get linked. This is a very important part of website management. Exchange links. Trading links with other websites that are closely related to the subject of your website can bring you more website traffic. These are two-way links because you must provide a link to them, too, and linking to low-quality websites can threaten the credibility of yours. Only link to sites that are dead on topic, and truly help your visitors. Instead of trading links, you could also trade banner ads, half page ads, classified ads, etc.Be sure to not be too excessive with your link exchanges and do not make this your entire link building method.Google webmaster guidelines specifically says to not engage in link schemes including “Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)”
- Advertise your presence. Besides using links, you must make use of numerous other ways to increase web traffic. Sit down and write a list of all the ways you can think of to get your web address noticed and clicked on. For example:
- If you have money – consider pay per click. The big search engines like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft provide schemes. But find out first how to limit your expenditure to the level you want.
- Use e-zines. Make your own that relate to your website and form a regular reminder each issue for people to visit your website. Submit all the free e-zine directories on the internet.
- Submit your articles to e-zines, websites and writing sites that accept article submissions. Include your business information and web address at the end of the article. This is a good way to create one-way backlinks to your website. This is the most effective way to get listed on any search engine. Usually, the more relevant links you have pointing to your site the higher you will rank.
- Go beyond the electronic medium and into the print medium. Advertise in local newspapers, business brochures, magazines, nationwide publications and mail-drop literature. And don’t forget the perennial favorite, the good old Yellow Pages™ – printed version naturally!
- Small business cards left in cafés, on signboards, exchanged at meetings etc.
- Use local resources such as clubs, libraries and community centers for non-profit website awareness raising.
- Participate on message boards. Post answers to other people’s questions, ask questions and post appropriate information. Include your signature file containing your website’s URL at the end of all your postings.
- Start your own online discussion community. It could be an online message board, e-mail discussion list or chat room. When people get involved in your community, they will regularly return to communicate with others.
- Use word of mouth. Tell everyone you know about your website, give out business cards to passers-by in the street, and so on. You might even want to run a guerrilla marketing program!
- Use your car, especially if your website is area-specific (e.g. a website detailing local events or selling local services). Get some vinyl decals or bumper stickers created and turn your car into a moving advertisement, literally driving traffic to your web site!
- Give freebies. Who doesn’t like a freebie?! Online freebies are commonplace and they leave the visitor wanting more when they are well written and informative introductory materials. Consider such freebies as:
- Giving away an eBook with your ad on it. Allow your visitors to also give the freebie away. This’ll increase your ad exposure and increase web traffic to your website at the same time;
- Holding free online classes or seminars. They could be held in your website’s chat room. The idea of “live” information will definitely entice people to visit your website. You will become known as an expert on the topic.
- Giving visitors a free entry into your contest or sweepstakes. The prizes should be something of interest or value to your visitors. Most people who enter will continually revisit your web site to get the results.
- Letting visitors download free software such as freeware, shareware, demos etc. You could even turn part of your site into a free software directory. If you created the software, include your ad inside and let other people give it away.
- Targeting specific groups who might worry about using the internet with free classes in using it on your site – senior citizens, busy workers etc. might find these convenient and alluring.
- Offering free online services or utilities from your website. For instance, they could be search engine submitting, copywriting, proofreading etc. The service or utility should be helpful to your target audience.
- Giving free consulting to people who visit your website. You could offer your knowledge via e-mail or by telephone. People will consider this a huge value because consulting fees can be very expensive.
- Offering a free start-up package that has a finite time; enough time for the customer to practice with your online product and like it enough to pay for continued use.
- Sending out free CD-Roms, CDs, DVDs etc. that contain starter packs or teasers to encourage the customer to use your site more.
- Offering free screensavers or templates for business cards, cards, writing paper etc., anything that a customer can print out.
- Be patient. Search engines need a lot of time to index a new website and domain. They need time to index all your content; it’s worth the wait and should be factored into your website profitability and/or popularity timeline. In the meantime, continue to add high quality content to your website and keep it up to date and relevant.
- Use all of these free techniques to increase traffic to your website: USFreeads.net, twitter.com, bloggvertise.com, drop flyers, chat rooms, forums, Youtube, Myspace and Google Groups.
- Balance your page. To improve your website, balance your page because when users enter a website, their focus first starts at the top left of the page and hovers there before slowly tracking to the right. The web user is focused more on the text of the page, rather than images or graphics. This is where balance comes into place.
- Balance will not only make your page more visually appealing, but it will make your page easier to read and items easier to find. A good object will help the objects on your page flow.
- Keeping it simple. If you clean your website up by removing all the unnecessary visual elements, it will allow important items to stand out. You should leave some white space on the page so the illusion of the space is visually pleasing, as well as easier to navigate.
- Clean backgrounds. The background textures and colour you chose have the ability to estimate the overall appeal of the website. Lots of texture and graphics in the background can be distracting, and the more texture you add to the background, the less noticeable your text and images become. If you are going to use a colour on the background, you should make sure there is significant contrast between the background colour and the text. You will rarely go wrong with black text and white background because it’s clean and easy to read. You have to be careful when using brighter and darker colours such as red or yellow. They cause visual fatigue (temporary loss of strength and energy resulting from hard physical or mental work) and the reader will lose their focus on the text.
- For easy navigation, you should create a toolbar with links that are easy to navigate and position the toolbar in an area that makes sense. Web users often look for the toolbar across the top or down the left the left hand side of the page. You shouldn’t forget a link to your homepage. It’s often forgotten but very important to point your users to your homepage.
- Text readability should make your pages easy to read, break up blocks of text and create short paragraphs. You should consider the key points on each page and create headings and subheadings use one or two fonts. You should select one font for your headings and subheadings and another for the body text and highlight key words and phrases by bolding or using a different colour. You should be careful when selecting colours, and not to use every colour in the rainbow. Many such as yellow and pink don’t stand out well if you’ve selected a white or black background.
- Scrolling Horizontal scrolling- it would be better if you get rid of horizontal scrolling because users hate to scroll left to right. It’s disorienting and annoying, so if you’ve got it, lose it. Vertical scrolling is ok if you have to have it, but consider moving larger blocks of information to another page and providing links. There’s also the danger of missing vital information that falls below the screen if a user decides not to scroll down to view it. So if you’ve got to have a scrolling page, try to keep all your important information above the fold.
- Make it quick. We all get impatient when it takes more than 5 seconds to connect to a website. Users want to make contact, and make it quick. You need to ensure that your pages load as quickly as possible. Eliminate unnecessary graphics, especially flash graphics they can be time hogs.
- Never, ever SPAM. Your credibility will be gone before you know it, and with it will go your traffic.
- Don’t get caught up with website generators and internet tricks. All these “black hat” tricks will only work temporarily. Your business needs to be set up for the long term.
- Do not be fooled by those traffic sellers promising thousands of hits an hour. What they really do is load up your URL in a program, along with a list of proxies. Then they run the program for a few hours. It looks like someone is on your site because your logs show visitors from thousands of different IPs. What happens in reality is your website is just pinged by the proxy, no one really sees your site. It is a waste of money.
- How to Improve Search Engine Ranking
- How to Create One Way Backlinks to Your Website
- How to Start an Online Discussion Community
- How to Exchange Links
- How to Write Articles
- How to Create a Website
- How to Increase Website Hits
Sources and Citations
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