I was just reviewing a post that Doug posted at digitalpoint and thought it might be time to give it an update. Doug called it “101 ways to get more traffic” but after some editing, sorting, deduping etc the list is not just about traffic, it’s about successful site management.
I’ll start by reordering the tips so that they gain some semblance of order. Lots of websites are MFA or just created as a quick promotional tool. When I talk about “Passionate Site Owners” I’m referring to people who have set up a site to support their existing business or a site relating to something they are really interested in.
If you don’t truly believe in your site then the suggestions in the “Passionate Site Owners” section won’t be realistic.
My comments are in italics
Link Building for Everyone
- Write and submit articles . It is a classic, but it works. This will be indefinite traffic stuck in the search engines for you. Write quality unique articles, not articles that are rehashed or provide no insight to readers, which is a huge problem these days.
- Write and submit press releases, think prweb after you do one.
- Write and ping blog entries. Always make sure to link back to your website with your blog posts. Try making multiple blogs and have them all link back to one main site.
Even better, get accepted on other people’s blogs as a guest contributor. That way you don’t have to worry about link/traffic building for each blog.
- Make sure your website is listed in DMOZ: http://dmoz.org/.
Easier said than done and these days the value of DMOZ isn’t so great but if you were only going to submit to one directory, this would be the one. Remember, submit once and “walk away”.
- Comment on other related blogs.
- If you purchase a product that you actually like, then feel free to give an individual respect when respect is due and leave a testimonial. You should be able to get some traffic from that website if your testimonial is left with a url.
This can work really well. Check the homepage of Akismet, I have my testimonial at the top of the list – unfortunately I lost the link when I moved my site but it was pretty valuable while it lasted.
- Become an active respected member of niche related forums. You can do this by offering quality posts. Hint Hint, it is not the number of posts you make, it is the quality. Remember, quality or quantity. Many useless or negative posts will have people looking at you funny.
- Try to get links from websites within your niche with a high pr (pagerank). The more one-way links (inbound links/backlinks) you have to your website, the higher your pr will become. Pagerank is important because websites with higher prs tend to have a higher search results in Google. It is a no brainier that if you can get number one for a competitive keyword then you will have enough traffic that you can handle… oh by the way its all free targeted traffic to remind you.
Nice idea but be careful how you approach the site owners. Most link exchange requests go straight in the bin.
Link Building for Passionate Site Owners
- If a niche related forum that you frequently visit allows signatures, then make sure to add your website url in there.
- Review some related products on epinion.
The key being that your review has a signature link back to your website
- Solicit a link from your local Chamber of Commerce.
- Have an easy to remember domain name. If your domain name is too long or not memorable then people may forget your site.
And avoid misspellings that can lead to confusion. You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reason!
- Politely ask your readers to subscribe to your rss feeds.
- Sponsor a charity, most charities will link back to your website, and you are also doing a good deed.
Link Building BUT Proceed with Care
- Advertise your website in the appropriate categories at Craigslist. Try posting your ads in the most populated cities in the world.
I would recommend only if your website was relevant to those cities and you have something to actually advertise. Craigslist are good at spotting spam and you will be found out.
- Review websites in your niche on Alexa to try to take some of their traffic by including a reference back to your site.
Be impartial or you could end up in hot water. See Ex-florist sentenced for altering rivals’ Google maps
- Make sure to view related products on Amazon.com. You can try and take some customers from your competitors here by providing your own url if the product is similar.
Traffic Building for Everyone
- Whenever you send an email to someone, always add your website url as a signature.
- Tag blog posts at social bookmarking sites, especially at http://del.icio.us/.
What you write matters!
- Write good content, if your writing is good then people will share it with their friends. In addition, webmasters will use it as content on their website with a reference back to your article, or at least they should.
- Be funny, people like something that will make them laugh and they will spread it for you if it is a genius idea.
- Do not be boring, write about something that a wide select of people would want to know about.
But remember, that “wide select” is still within your niche. Don’t try to be all things to all people – stick to what you know.
- Write a quality 101 article about a steamy topic that people want to know more about in your niche.
- Keep updating content on your websites/blogs… try at least once per week.
- Make sure to edit your writing (unlike what im doing ).
Grammatical errors make your work hard to read and make you look unprofessional. Check across different browsers incase you have some funny characters in your text that don’t translate.
- Write something controversial and spread it freely to your target market. It can be something as idiotic as the Da Vinci code, but as long people talk about it, its a successful campaign. A few hints, something controversial is something that goes against established beliefs in your market.
Basic Site Management Rules that make your site Successful
- Make something innovative. If you are selling information, what makes your content something you cannot get from the local bookstore, Barnes and Noble or even eBay for that matter?
- Brand your website with a logo and a slogan/catch phrase. Think IBM.
- Add viral components to your blog such as social bookmarking options, and a refer a friend option.
- Tag blog photos at Flickr.
Personally, I’m not too sure about this one but, again, make sure you have the right to the photos.
- Politely ask your readers to subscribe to your rss feeds.
- Syndicate your content by using an RSS feeds on your website.
- Encourage readers to comment on your blogs. When they do this, they will provide you unique content.
- Make a custom 404-error page for your website. You can provide a link back to your main website or even try to monetize it by offering a related affiliate program within your niche.
This is an absolute must! Check, too, that your site works with and without the www. If its a subdomain ensure that users who still put a www at the front will still get to your site.
- Build a tool that individuals in your niche will love and enjoy. Then give it away for free. If the tool is helpful, then you will get quality one-way links to your website.
Not easy but these days everyone is dreaming up facebook apps right? They are the modern take on the site freebie and facebook apps. I added a rent comparison tool to Andrew King.co.nz, it is very specific to the site but it works for its target market.
- Offer something for FREE. Abracadabra is not the magic word, FREE is. It is like a worm on a pole for a fish in the water…. its bait! Offer a free mini course or free ebook to help collect more subscribers. You can always offer a backend to monetize on this opportunity, such as an affiliate product for example.
Ensure any ebooks you give away include clickable links back to your website and a “call to action”.
- Make sure you have no broken links on your site, and make sure that your website shows clearly in all browsers.
Use Xenu to test for broken links
- Make a sitemap for your website.
Change this to a Google sitemap to ensure Google has all your site, all of the time. Regular sitemaps aren’t important so long as your site has good navigation and is usable.
- Use a favicon for your site.
A distinctive favicon triggers memories when people see it in their bookmarks. If your page stands out for a user with many tabs open they may return again if your favicon reminds them of something else they wanted to know. I frequently have a large number of tabs open and will close the lot at once, however if I glance over and see a favicon for a site I need to return to I’ll often do it there and then. Once my browser is closed, I’m unlikely to return.
- Make your visitors more involved in your website. You can help accomplish this by adding CGI scripts to your site.
This hint has to be circa 1999. What site doesn’t have CGI/PHP/AJAX somewhere behind it. The sentiment is right though, give visitors the opportunity to sign up and get special content etc.
- If you have a profile anywhere online, always include appropriate keywords and link back to your website.
- Look at sites related to your niche to try to figure out how they get their traffic.
- Try to avoid java scripts on your website as much as possible.
- Do not use frames on your website.
iFrames for third party content such as ads is invaluable – if they’re down your site will still run. Embedded content can lead to problems.
- If your website becomes popular and starts getting lots of traffic, try switching to a dedicated server. The longer you site is down equals the more lost visitors you will have.
Focus on Keywords
Onpage optimisation should never be overlooked. Here are some key rules.
- Properly optimize your website for the right keywords.
- Place appropriate keywords in your anchor text when linking.
- Use keywords in your image alt tags. For example,
- Add photos to your blog with appropriate keywords.
Not only are the keywords important – the photos make your pages more interesting. Where possible use your own photos and if you source them elsewhere make damn sure you have the right to use them. Open the image in notepad and see if there’s any embedded copyright information.
- Spell correctly whenever using keywords in writing.
Unless ofcourse you need to add calculated errors to catch people who can’t spell or mistype.
Important Marketing Ideas
- Have a GREAT product. All of the marketing/advertising in the world will do you NO good if your product is sub par.
Being passionate about your site and the business behind it is vital if you want any kind of success.
- Write tip articles, such as “Ten easy tips to blank-blank-blank.”
- Consider adding a direct mail marketing campaign to your marketing arsenal.
- Build a list of subscribers. Your list is like a golden asset to you if utilized correctly.
“Utilized” is the important thing here… if you build a list and never market to it then they’ll forget. One day you’ll send something out, they will have forgotten you and they’ll flag your email as spam.
Utilise Social Media and Networking
- Open up a myspace account and find targeted friends so that you can promote your services to them. Do not spam people, myspace is cracking down on spammers and are starting to sue people.
The same goes for Facebook, Bebo or any social media that your target market are embracing.
- Make and upload a viral video to you tube. Use appropriate keywords in the video description for your target audience.
- Record an informative podcast and submit them to poplar podcast directories.
- Answer people’s questions on Yahoo! answers with a link to your website in the sources area.
- Provide helpful answers for Google adsense on their help forum with a link back to your website. Go here to check it out: http://groups.google.com/group/adsense-help
- Put a link in the “about me” section of your eBay profile.
Additional Marketing Opportunities
- Start a publicity campaign, do something that individuals in your niche will take note of.
- Hold a crazy contest that people in your niche will talk about. This will equal more links and traffic to your website.
Be realistic about the prizes and make sure you honour your commitments.
- Contact small newsletters sources offline and submit articles to them.
- Sell an item on eBay/TradeMe etc as a charity auction. Most charities will link back to both your auction and your main website.
- Purchase the misspelled versions of your domain name and have it redirect to your main one.
This can be expensive and you would want to track the hits on each so that you know which domains are pulling their weight and which can be dropped.
- Add a bookmark option to your website/blogs.
Does anyone still click these? Use AJAX to count the hits and ensure it deserves its space on the site.
- After someone orders from you offer a one-time offer that compliments your product. For example, if I offered a traffic ebook, then after the individual purchase it would make sense for me to offer a traffic conversion bonus for a limited time only.
- Include a media section on your website so that you will give the media an easy way to stay up to date on what your company is doing.
This assumes you have the type of business that might be newsworthy. Most of us don’t and having a media section may make you egotistical.
- Write and give away a free ebook or report. It does not have to be long as long as its quality information neatly formatted and put together. You can also make a brandable ebook or report and allow affiliates the opportunity to brand their affiliate links in there to pass on to the next individual. You can then send this ebook to your subscribers or submit it to ebook directories.
- Buy traffic from the search engines by utilizing one of their PPC campaigns.
- Pay for sponsored advertising space on other people’s sites and newsletters.
Offline Activities for Passionate Site Owners
- Stay up to date on what is going on in the world, you can monetize off hot topic trends.
But if you are passionate about your site and your business this should be a no-brainer.
- Put an ad in your local Yellow Pages to get some local customers. Yellow pages tend to be more successful then newspaper ads because individuals are looking for a particular service when they are browsing through the yellow pages as opposed to newspapers.
This assumes your target market is local.
- Post bulletins in your local supermarket. However, since not everyone may carry a pen or pencil, place your contact information and url on strips on the bottom so that individuals can rip it off and take it with them.
- Network, when you know more people you can find people that can help you get what you need.
- Take a guru in your niche out to lunch, and pay for it.
- Get a custom t-shirt made with your website url on it, and wear it often.
- Give speeches offline. Start small and local. Also, do not forget to participate in Toastmasters meetings in your area.
- Become friends with editors of an offline publication.
Because real friendship is that easy, right? Do network though and get to know other people in your industry. Being well connected will make you more successful generally and will help your site.
- Write and publish a book. Having your own book is a quick way to gain credibility.
These days it need only be a decent eBook, it doesn’t have to be through a real-world publisher.
- Volunteer. Donate your time to a good clause…you can always network with people and form connections at the same time.
- Get involved in your community and try to run some type of outreach program.
I would change that to “support”. You have your business to run and if you overcommit you can end up letting everyone down!
- Offer good customer service, you may be surprised on how many referrals you get just be having a reliable one.
- Host your own commercial so you can put “as seen on TV” on your products.
Take your opportunities where you can get them ideas
For webmasters who want to chase dollars and don’t already have a business to promote.
- Do your research and find expensive niches to tap into. A good way to do this is to find how expensive someone is paying for a keyword on a PPC search engine. If you can sell items that are more expensive more often then it is a quicker way to get rich .
- Start an organization or club about something. This can be done online through Yahoo! or Google groups.
- Make a screensaver and make it easy for individuals in your niche to download it. Have eye candy graphics combined with your company logo to brand yourself.
Take into consideration your target market when you do this – and the quality of the images you have access to. It has the opportunity to “go viral”.
- Offer an affiliate program for your product or service. Make sure to let your satisfied customers know that you have one, if they like your product then they will be even more delighted to know that they will get money for referring you.
Be extremely careful how you run the affiliate program – use a third party system – because affiliate program abuse is rife.
Totally “Out There” points to consider
- Try coining your own term. Might want to trademark it if you smell that it will become popular.
Just look at the success (or not) of the sark-mark. If you try this you risk looking like a complete tosser but if it works you could become a legend.
- Include translation for your websites/blogs, especially in Chinese.
But only if the foreign language market is important to you. If your website supports your local business then translating into a language not used locally is pointless.
- Is your product groundbreaking? Will you leave individuals with no choice but to talk about your product or service?
- Are you selling something that wide groups of people want to know about but there is limited/scarce knowledge?
- Spark emotions. If you get people emotional about something then they will most likely talk about it.
- Make sure to include appropriate keywords in your title tag, search engines show more prominence or importance to keywords here.
- Outsource grunt work. Time is in essence money…. you can hire individuals at freelance services to send emails, request JV proposals, or to answer questions from prospective or current customers.
Just ensure that anyone you hire matches your ethics and enthusiasm for the subject. A poor choice could kill your business.
- Become the virus within your niche. Make yourself the bug and have people talking about your product. When people talk about your product then you can induce the viral effect. However, you must give people a reason to talk about you, and being like everyone else is not one.
- Try to teach a class at your local community college or university. The more exposure you get in the public, the more credibility you will receive.
- Conduct surveys and publish them. These make you appear as an expert in your field of study.
Although you’ll need a fair amount of traffic to make this work.
- Break a record or shoot to be in the Guinness world records for something.
- Find domain names that get traffic, purchase them, and have them redirect to your website.
Last but not least
- Test, test, test. Your flushing money down the toilet if your not testing to see what campaigns are bringing you in the most money compared to which ones are costing you money. When you test, you can eliminate the campaigns that are costing you dollars so that you can properly maximize your marketing efforts. Without proper testing, you are pretty much lost and can’t improve. You can only guess to what has or what is working. With proper testing, you do not guess, you know.
No quibbling there!