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Building Traffic

Jan 1, 2008
Building traffic to a blog or website can be a slow and time-consuming process; unless you're very lucky, success doesn't strike overnight. But with a bit of patience, and by following some straightforward rules, you can see improvement in your traffic statistics over weeks and months, which will see your site grow, expand, and bring the visitors - and the revenue - in.

Here are seven simple ways to boost your website traffic.

1. Content is King

It can't be stressed enough: content is king. Search engine results and links from other sites and blogs are all very well, but if there's nothing on your site worth looking at, those visitors won't be back. The best way - the only way - to guarantee repeat business, whether you're selling widgets or blogging about cats, is to make sure that your site isn't just easy to find, but actually worth reading once they are there.

So, as well as making sure that the content on your website is relevant, interesting, and keyword optimized (see tip 4 below), ensure that it's updated regularly - if you're running a sales website, for example, make sure all your prices are up to date and be sure to update the site regularly with details of new special offers. If you have a blog, you should be putting new posts up every day if you can.

2. Building links

This is a good way of building long-term site traffic, particularly if you have a blog or website that may appeal to a wider community of like-minded people. By putting links to other sites on yours - both down the sidebar and in the body text of your blog or website - you'll encourage other bloggers and webmasters to do the same for you.

Over time, these reciprocal links become very useful - driving traffic to your site and encouraging discussion of your content on other sites and blogs. Search engines like Google tend to rate a site more highly if there are lots of incoming links, so go out and actively encourage other websites and forums to link to your own.

3. Add tags

Make sure you add tags to all your pages and blog posts. Not only do these serve an important purpose in helping search engines to pick up your website, but they also help visitors navigate around your blog or website, which in turn will help you increase your site traffic. If your page title tags are incorrect, on the other hand, that will have a corresponding negative impact on your search engine rankings.

Many blog platforms such as Blogger will automatically attach meta tags to post pages, but even then you should use category tags to improve the visibility and navigability of your site.

4. Keywords

One of the most vital aspects of traffic building is to ensure that you are using keywords properly. It's worth looking around the Internet for specialist articles on this topic, because many millions of words have been written on the subject. With good reason; if you use keywords correctly, it will help build traffic to your website or blog far more effectively than almost any other method.

The basic rules are simple enough. Select the keywords and keyword phrases of most interest to your prospective audience. It may not be enough to use simple keywords, as there are hundreds of thousands of websites selling "insurance" or blogging about "politics." So, instead, try to focus on two or three word keyword phrases that will help guide visitors to your site, like "discount home insurance" - or "keyword phrases."

For the best visibility, put keyword phrases into the titles of pages, near the top of your text, and in the meta description.

5. Be seen by search engines

This is a product of all the factors listed above, but there is one further push that you can give your website to help with building traffic, and that's to make sure that search engines and aggregators know about your blog or site. Target the big search engines, such as Google, but bear in mind that if you're operating in a particular niche market, there may be specific sites and search tools that like-minded people use.

Be sure that you are "pinging" search engines every time you have new content. (There are free services that will do this for you automatically, and many blog platforms will perform the same function.) When it comes to blogs, there are many different directories and search tools people use to find sites of interest. Submit your blog to all of them and watch the inbound links, and your search engine profile, grow.

Finally - and if you think it's worth your while - consider paying search engines for higher placement. Research shows that most people don't look beyond the top two or three search results - so make your site one of those.

6. Analyze your traffic

Traffic building is a whole lot easier, if you know why people are visiting your site in the first place, so get a stat tracking device like SiteMeter or StatCounter - basic site meters are free and help you track visitors by location, duration of visit, pages looked at, and crucially, the URL that referred them to your site. You can also sign up to paid site metering services that give you more advanced coverage - these are more appropriate if your site traffic is already quite high. Once you've established who visits you and from where, you'll be much better placed to work on increasing those visits.

7. Participate in other blogs and forums

This is particularly useful if you run a blog or a website that caters to a particular interest group or niche market. For example, if you run a website that sells tropical fish, aquariums, and accessories, become a member of a forum or newsgroup dedicated to fish. Post on relevant blogs and be sure to comment, so they'll follow your links home, building traffic for your website. You shouldn't overdo this, or "spam" other sites with your own URL, but if you establish yourself as a viable online presence, people will naturally want to visit your site to see what you have to offer them.
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