Everybody on the Internet wants more web traffic and we’re all looking for the cheapest way to get it. Here’s my personal take on how to do it, how to keep it and most importantly how to avoid paying for it.
If we’re going to talk about how to increase your website traffic for free, let’s first establish a few truths.
First, I don’t care what search engine you use, at 60%+ of the market Google is king. Is it closest competitor? Yahoo is at around 20% of the market and in the real world of Internet marketing nobody else matters.
Secondly, there is no way to increase traffic to your website other than earning it. There are lots of build traffic quickly’ scams on the Internet, none of them work for one pretty basic reason Google (remember, they’re the ones that matter) only hires really, really smart people.
Now that we’ve established the two basic truths of the Internet, building traffic for your website is really simple.
Have something relevant to say.
Seriously, there are millions of websites out there and almost everybody has an opinion. Make sure that yours matters by ensuring your content is valid, effective and helpful.
If I wanted to run a website about fishing in the Miramichi, I wouldn’t want to promote myself through my website (after all, who wants to read about me? Instead, I would write content about the sport of fishing and specifically the type of sport fishing that can be accomplished in the Miramichi.
In the real world, a picture may be worth a thousand words but on the Internet the opposite is true.
Let’s appreciate the truth, Google can’t see it doesn’t have eyes but it can read using text. That’s why the highest ranking websites on the web are full of text, not graphics. If you want your website to be at the top of Google, you need to ensure your website can be read by Google.
Speaking of which, Google reads xHTML not english. Make sure your website uses properly formatted and standards compliant xHTML otherwise Google will not be able to properly understand your website.
- Write content that people care about
- Publish your content using properly coded xHTML
- Include ALT and NAME tags for photos
- Use Microsoft Word to write web pages, the code it produces is not standards compliant
- Build websites in Flash, Google can’t see anything in a Flash application
- Assume your website works because it looks good in Internet Explorer, if you want to see what Google sees view the code
Think like a search engine. If you really want to market your website for free, start to think about Google and what the people who programmed it wanted the Internet to be.
Take the time to ensure your website functions properly, use tools such as The W3C Markup Validation Service to test your site, http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ will ensure your CSS is good. Why does it matter? Because computers can’t read content that’s written wrong.
Publishing vs. Design
Websites are not about design, they’re about publishing. Ensure your document is formatted properly from top to bottom. For example, is your website name in an H1 tag? Are chapter titles in H2’s? Have you made proper use of DIV tags? SPAN tags and TABLES?
The web is a collection of hyper-linked documents, if you don’t link to other websites then you’re site is a dead end on the superhighway. Cul-de-sac’s might be cute but they don’t get a lot of traffic take the time to help your visitors by linking to relevant articles, news and general interest pieces which support your content.
Above all don’t cheat.
Remember, Google employs thousands of really, really smart developers who are always trying to improve the search engine. Remember, You can make money without doing evil.
How to Increase your web traffic
When we talk about how to increase traffic to your website, the first thing that we have to decide is what type of traffic we’re looking for and then, once we’ve established quality traffic goals we can start talking about how to get people to visit your site.
It reminds me of a great meeting I had years ago while working for Corel Corporation in St. Catharines Canada. I had been invited to a management meeting in the fall of 2000 to discuss how to increase traffic to our corporate store. The web marketing person at the time was there and she’d voiced the opinion that we needed to get a million visitors to the site. I corrected her and stated that we needed to get 10,000 quality visitors. Frankly, she annoyed me but beyond simply having a voice that could curdle milk she was also wrong. After some time, I gave up and blurted out that getting a million visitors to the site wasn’t hard so if we could wrap up the meeting I’d get started right away. The trick I told her was that if you want to get a million visitors to the web store, all you need to do is place a banner on a few dozen sites that read ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚Ã†Â’ÃƒÂƒšÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚šÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÂ‚šÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚šÃƒÂƒÃƒÂ‚Want to get fucked? Click here.ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚Ã†Â’ÃƒÂƒšÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚šÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÂ‚šÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂƒÃ†Â’ÃƒÂ‚š
Needless to say, this wasn’t the traffic the company wanted and most likely also isn’t what you’re looking for so instead of looking at increasing traffic, let’s look at how to increase quality traffic.
Right up front there are a few easy ways to help generate traffic to your site. First off, offer people something for free. Contests, giveaways and marketing promos are always a great way to keep people coming back. Online Flash games that feature your products, quizzes, calculators and downloadable forms are also powerful tools for helping keep people online.
Newsletters, RSS feeds, PodCasts and subscriptions will also help you recycle traffic back to your website after they’ve come for a first time. Keep in mind that unless you offer something truly unique, the best way to build traffic and keep traffic hasn’t changes since the days of Greek stages quality content, delivery and writing.
10 dirty tricks to earn money online
We all want more traffic to our website right? Of course, we do, but how do we do it? We give people what they want of course! Let’s look at 10 dirty tricks marketing people use to get you to their website.
The Internet is packed with people who have nothing better to do than get riled up about something, so don’t be afraid to offend. The UK band Depeche Mode did it by singing about Blasphemous Rumours, you don’t have to go that far but whatever works.
Why do we love to hate people like Howard Stern and Gordon Ramsay? Because they shock us. If we wanted to be bored, we’d spend all day talking to our mothers. No, people want to be shocked, so give it to them!
If there’s one thing you can take away from George W Bush’s approach to winning elections, scare people. Make them think that if they don’t come to your website they’re losing out. It’s an age-old trick and people always fall for it.
Be Too Cool to Resist
Why do we care what the latest Hollywood celebs are wearing? Because they’re cool and it’s that simple. Actually, I don’t care what they’re wearing but I know that a whole lot of screaming, money spending teenage girls love them, because they’re cool.
If your website is free, it has no worth. So make people pay to get the real inside dirt or better yet, only let them in if you’ve invited them. Power to the privileged! If people are too ugly, too poor or too stupid to get into your club it just makes people want to get in more.
Man, do people love testimonials. It’s partially a popularity thing but also that a lot of people are sheep, they’ll do what people tell them. Want proof? Watch Oprah.
Tell People What They’ll Gain
You know the old saying about a fool and his money? It’s true. All you need to do is tell people what they’ll gain by visiting your website (money, sex, power) and they won’t care what the cost is as long as you’re exclusive or too cool to resist.
Make it a Limited Time Offer
Nobody wants to pass up a limited time offer. By making them make a choice quickly, you’re forcing them to make a decision without thinking about the outcome. It’s a tactic used to sell everything from gym memberships to Wall Street Bailout packages.
Even if people never get to check if the reviews are real, post reviews of your products or website, people eat these up.
Wait, there’s more!
Ever wonder why infomercials work? It’s because we’re always looking to get two for the price of one. Even with food, just think about it how many pizza shops do you know that sell you two smaller pizzas for more than the price of one large, good pizza?