You’re all pumped up! You’ve been working hard on a new layout and have tons of ideas and ... miracles to show the online world. One problem, how do you let people know you ... I first st
You’re all pumped up! You’ve been working hard on a new layout and have tons of ideas and wonderful miracles to show the online world. One problem, how do you let people know you exist?
When I first started Pixel2life.com back in January 2004, I already had a large amount of friends in the gaming community that I knew would visit my site to check it out, but I wanted to get a targeted audience of visitors. People that would be interested in the content I had to offer them. I love my friends in the gaming community (some of which I’ve known for over 6 years), but only a small portion of them really cared about design. So through trial and error, I’ve found ways to increase my traffic by targeting the proper audience without having to pay for it. These methods don’t compare to buying targeted traffic, but it’s the next best thing. P2L is not a profit oriented website, so I don’t exactly have tons of cash to spend on Ad campaigns.
First off, I must stress the importance of a quality design and quality content. You can draw as much traffic as you want, but without a quality website that will interest your guests, you’ll never make it to their coveted Bookmarks. In the case of design oriented websites for example, there are millions of personal websites that have a few wallpapers, a personal portfolio a shoutbox , and loads of spelling errors. What makes your site better than the rest that would warrant someone to re-visit? Be original, provide quality content, and update often. It’s that simple. If you’re not willing to commit to those rules, don’t bother trying to be the next DeadDreamer or Shiver7. I may write an article in the future regarding this topic in a bit more detail, but for now, I’ll assume your site is a smoking gun and ready for the eyes of the world.
Before you start anything, optimize your site for search engines. You should have a title, meta keys for keywords and description, and nice full sentences in the body of your site. Keyword density is important and with proper SEO techniques, hits from search engines will grow quite a bit. Make sure you customize each page as required. A page about 3D Modeling should not have the same keywords as a page about your graphic portfolio. And remember to include the main keyword(s) in your title. If you’re not sure what exactly to do, check out these results on Google for keyword optimization: http://www.google.ca/search?q=keyword+optimization&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&meta=
For Pixel2life.com, our first month of operation (January 2004) yielded about 200 hits from Google. After spending a week or so correcting my lack of meta keys and keyword density, I received well over 28000 hits from Google in June. This isn’t simply because I worked the keywords, but it had a large hand in it. The other part of the puzzle is reciprocating links.
Now I don’t work for an SEO, nor do I pretend to be an expert in the field, but in my experience, the more reciprocating links to Pixel2life.com on other websites, the higher my Google ranking climbs. In some of my main keywords, I wasn’t even in the top 1000, but after a few months of affiliating and spreading the word, I place in the top 5 in many principal keyword searches. Examples include:
You can check your google rankings for your choice of keywords at http://www.googlerankings.com
AFFILIATE! It’s important to affiliate and get the word around about your site. Do a search on Google for sites similar to your own or have something to do with the topic your site is about and ask the webmaster if they would like to exchange 88x31 pixel banners or text links. If you have a good site, then many webmasters won’t care about your traffic, because they know it will climb in fairly short order if your site is obviously a quality link. I have affiliated with many sites that do not get the same traffic as I do because I love their site and I think my visitors will enjoy it too. So don’t be shy - just ask! It’s not like they’re going to sue you for asking. The worst that will happen is you won’t get a response or you’ll be declined. I’ve been declined many times… it doesn’t hurt, trust me. Don’t send a generic cut and paste email to the webmaster either. Send an email addressed to them personally and let them know you’ve actually checked out their site and why you think you could mutually benefit from exchanging links. Be polite, check your spelling and make sure you send them your details including a short description of your site, current traffic, URL and how you can be reached.
So, affiliation is extremely important. Not only will the visitors of an affiliate see and possibly visit your link, but you’ll increase your search engine ranking as well.
SOTM, SOTW features! There are tons of websites (Pixel2life.com included) that have a featured Site of the Month or Site of the Week section, usually on the main page. This is a great way to get some free exposure, assuming you have a site that would earn this kind of regard. If you’ve got quality, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t win a few of these features. How to find them? Easy as pie! Get on Google and do a search for any of the following:
“Site of the week” “Site of the week” subject* “Site of the Month” “Site of the Month” subject*
* Customize subject with whatever your site is about – like graphics or programming etc...
Here’s a little cheat for you… I won Site of the Week at FTP Planet (http://www.ftpplanet.com) and received 3000 unique visitors the day it was posted in their newsletter, and I still get hits from the archived link. You can post your entry at http://www.ftpplanet.com/cgi/ubb/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&forum=Your+Web+Site&number=10&DaysPrune=1000&LastLogin=
Innocent advertising is a non-obtrusive way to plug your site IF you do it properly. Check out http://www.big-boards.com for large forums that are in line with your interests. Sign up and check the signature guidelines… staying within the guidelines, plug your site in your sig and start posting! Now, here’s the catch… post relevant information to the forum and genuinely contribute to discussions. Don’t just fly on there and start plugging your site or you’ll probably get banned. Just go shoot the shit with the forumites and let your sig do the rest. This is guaranteed to get you additional traffic. Same thing with every place you would leave a signature. Email, forums, blogs, newsgroups etc… but actually post something worth reading, otherwise you’re just another spamming asshat.
The bottom line is that you need to get involved in the community that your site revolves around. Talk to people, learn about your community and make adjustments as you go. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so you have to work at it. The harder you work at it, the better the results. You’re not paying for anything money-wise, but you will be spending quite a bit of time in front of the screen, especially at first.
Sign your work! If you create wallpapers or post photography (YOUR photography) sign your work with your website address. If people like what they see, they know where to go for more.
Tell a friend script, and a newsletter is also important (Yeah, I know I haven’t got one, but we’re working on it). Tell a Friend is a little script that allows a visitor to send a pre-made email to someone he or she knows that tells them about your website. The person just types in the email address they want the notice to go to and click submit. This is a nice simple way for your guests to share your site with others if they like it enough and want to share their find :)
A newsletter is a great reminder tool to previous visitors to come check out your site for new features and content. Many of your visitors will visit your site and forget about it, even if they really enjoyed their first look. This is natural and a common internet fact. By keeping an opt-in newsletter, you can send a monthly email to anyone that has joined the list and that will remind those “one night stand” people that you’re still around and the site is better than ever.
Well, that’s about it for the time being, I hope this helps you get your new site off the ground, or lift your old site even higher. Feel free to post your own traffic grabbing suggestions or comment on the pointers in my article.
Remember, be polite, be personal, get to the point, and don't be shy. If your site has quality content updated on a regular basis, there's no reason why you should feel intimidated when trying to share it with others. Just don't spam and annoy people, and you'll be amazed at what happens over the next few months.