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Tips and techniques on how to increase web traffic to my site

In this section I am going to give you a few tips and techniques on how to increase your site's traffic in order to eventually lead to more "selling".

Search engines and organic search

The most effective source (although not the only one), through which your site is going to acquire its visitors is through search engines. During the Writing Content and SEO section of Step 3, we saw that your site's content must "keep the search engines happy" in order for them to return relevant search results, based on keywords, to their users so that they can find your site.

Bear also in mind that the search engine users usually scan the results of the first (the majority of them), then second and, at an even smaller percentage, the third page of results to find what they want. The higher your page ranks to the search results, the most probable it is for the user to click on your site's link!

Don't forget though that there are millions of sites out there, many of which might have content similar to yours. Therefore achieving a high rank at what is also referred to as organic search results is a very difficult task. You have learned a few tips though on how to propertly write content in order to satisfy search engines and improve your ranking. I will repeat them, as well as add some new ones in the following list:

  • The more content and web pages you write, the better. Keep adding pages to your site with new content!
  • Try and include your keywords, besides the main text of your content, to your web page titles as well as to headings (h1, h2, etc.).
  • Always use the "alt" attribute of images by describing what an image displays (preferrably use your keywords in there as well). This proves especially useful for image searches.
  • Try and increase the Pagerank and link popularity of your site by submitting your site to as many web directories as possible (the is the best, but at the same time the most difficult to accept your site, web directory in the internet, a listing at which is going to definitely increase your Pagerank).
  • Help seach engines crawl your site easier and more efficiently by submitting them information about your site as well as your site's sitemap, preferrably in the XML format. A nice free tool you can use to create your site's sitemap in this format is GsiteCrawler. After you create your sitemap, go to Google's Webmaster Tools and submit it to Google and Yahoo's Site Explorer and submit it to Yahoo. MSN has yet to implement a formal interface for Sitemap submission.
  • Although their effect has decreased a lot and they are no magic solution, I would suggest that you still use meta tags in the head part of yout HTML files in order to describe your site. More specifically use the following meta tags in the head part of your HTML:
    <meta name="description" content="content description 1, content description 2, ...">
    <meta name="keywords" content="keyword 1, keyword 1, ...">
    <meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
    The meta "keywords" tag allows you to provide additional text for crawler-based search engines to index along with your body copy and the meta "description" tag allows you to influence the description of your page in the crawlers that support the tag. Finally, the meta "robots" tag tells the search engine crawlers to index the particular page. If for any reason you do not want the search engines to index a particular page, simply use the "robots" meta tag by placing "noindex" in the content attribute.

Online paid advertisement

One easy, but certainly more costly, way to achieve high ranking for your site (in the sponsored links section of the search results), is through online paid advertisement such as Google's AdWords.

AdWords is basically the most commonly used and preferred platform for online advertisement in the internet, through which you can advertise your site.

You pick particular keywords for which you want your site advertised and you build campaigns and ads which will appear in the sposored links section (right and top-colored side of search results for Google) of Google's search results based on these keywords. Other people might have picked the same keywords as well. If this occurs, the person who offers the most amount of money per click, gets the highest ranking. It is therefore an auction/bidding system and obviously for the more popular keywords (such as for example "internet", "books", etc), the higher the bids are and the more money you are going to spend (the more people will be looking for those keywords though).

Apart from search engine results, your ads can appear on sites with relative to your keywords content. Those sites have given permission to Google to set the ads on their content (we will see more regarding this, in the next and final Step, Step 6). You have definately seen such ads at website pages which are basically a bunch of links usually surrounded by a border (othertimes not though) and at the bottom it says "Ads by Google". In these cases, you can also have image ads and not just text ads.

You pay per-click (the term you should be familiar with is Cost Per Click - CPC), which means that Google charges you the amount you have bid for a keyword once a visitor click on the sponsored link. You set your maximum allowed daily budget for all keywords so that your cost can be controlled. You should start low (i.e. a daily budget of $0.50) and move higher to see the response to your campaigns.

Ads and Advertorials to popular sites

Another effective way to get tons of traffic but will also cost you tons of money is through ads and advertorials in popular sites (sites with guaranteed traffic), like popular portals (e.g. Yahoo), as well as other form of traditional advertisement (TV, Radio, magazines, newspapers, etc.) which is just as (maybe more) expensive.

I wouldn't recommend such a method for your site (at least for the beginning), since it will cost you a lot of money and it might not do you that good if you cannot sustain it.

Banner exchanges

Visit sites and contact them if they are interested in mutual promotion by exchanging banners. This way, they will promote your site through their pages and you will do the same for them.

This usually will happen between similar in traffic sites. Popular sites will not accept this form of promotion and will direct you to advertorials. You have nothing to loose though by trying.

Word of mouth

A cheap (free) and usually effective way to attract visitors is through word of mouth. Remember how Google did it! They never spent a dime on advertisement. They had a good product and by word of mouth it propagated and now everone is using them.

Some ways to initiate word-of-mouth are:

  • Go to forums and post items, articles and links regarding your site.
  • Send email to friends, email lists, targeted audience (which you can get from directories, either web or yellow pages).
  • Use social networking (sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc.) to promote your site. Create groups and send messages to make your site known to the public.

As I said though, these are a few ways of "intiating" word-of-mouth. In order for word-of-mouth to propagate, you depend solely on how good your content, products and services of your site are.

This concludes Step 5 and we are now ready to proceed to the final Step of and learn ways to make money with your site!

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