Get your site right…
When you first start building your site you typically focus on things like theme, layout and content. All of these are critical to having a good website that is both attractive and informative. In the beginning, no one even knows about your site… How will you get people to visit if they are not even aware of the site?
Once you have your base site implemented, you will want to consider how you will drive traffic to your site. If you intend for your site to be partially funded by advertising revenue, then driving the right people to your site is even more critical, although mass numbers of visitors is pretty good too.
When you create a page or write an article, do it about something you know about… That way, you create content that is not only valuable, but also correct. You want to give your audience a reason to visit for the first time… and a reason to come back…
Search engines and SEO
The first thing to do is to list your site with Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines. This will get the ball rolling, but believe me, this approach is not enough and it takes a really long time to start getting good placement in the various search engines. One technique to influence your sites placement in the search engines is called ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or SEO in short. SEO is a technique for structuring your site with relavent meta tags and information in such a way that the search engines will index your site based on the keywords you place in your site meta-data.
Link aggregators and article publishers
Another technique you can use is to register with some of the various article aggregation services. Once you have registered with the service, you can post links to your own articles along with a short description of your page. Since henryranch.net has a lot of articles about software development, I have become a member of the following article aggregation services:
Freshmeat.net: A great site for posting descriptions of your open source projects.
DZone: One of the well established article aggregation services for software developers.
PHPCamp: This is an up and coming article aggregation service based out of India…
RSS news syndication
A very effective approach to getting your site to be more visible on the internet at large is to provide an RSS news feed. Many website owners like to syndicate short news items on their site in order to provide their viewers with dynamically updated content that is gleaned from other publishers. By providing an RSS news feed about your site and getting the news feed syndicated on one or more sites, you can quickly and easily increase your traffic and page rankings since the RSS feed contains direct links to your site… WordPress contains some very good RSS publishing functionality that is built right into the WordPress software. To syndicate other sites RSS feeds on your wordpress site, you can use the highly configurable Syndicate Press plugin for WordPress.
You can also post links to your site in various forums. You should beware however that the manner in which you post your site links says a lot about you as a site owner/publisher. You should respect forum rules and conventions. You should not post links to your site in forums that are not realted to your site’s main topic. Additionally, you should always be respectful in the forum and only post when you have something constructive to say that is relavent to the forum topic currently being discussed. Don’t be a forum link spammer!
Friends and acquaintances sites
If you know other folks who have websites, you can ask them to place a link to your site somewhere on their site. There are two approaches to this… If you want people to click on your link and go to your site, then you should ask your friend to place your site link in a prominent position on their site. If you only care about getting more links into your site for the purpose of increasing your search engine page ranking, then simply ask your friend to place a link anywhere on their site, it does not even need to be visible to human readers…
Social Media (Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc…)
The social web is still growing exponentially and is invading almost every part of our daily life. Many social media sites allow you to post your website URL with a brief description so that your ‘friends’ can quickly link to it. Another approach, but perhaps controversial would be to send updates to your ‘friends’ about your site… Obviously, this should be done with care, decorum and respect…
If you are really in the market to drive a lot of traffic to your site and you have some money to burn, you can look into setting up advertising campaigns with the various online ad firms. Google’s Adwords, Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo all offer advertising services. The big name search companies are not the only way to do advertising though… You can make advertising agreements with a lot of different websites. In many cases, a website would be happy to sell you some of their page ‘real-estate’ for you to place ads on…
Those are my ideas for helping to increase traffic to your site. Hopefully you will find them to be useful and will notice an uptick in your site traffic. I have done all of these except for paid advertising and my site traffic is up by about 120% over the last several months.