Ten steps to develop your sites traffic
All webmasters realise that the lifeblood of their website is traffic, without traffic a website is simply a series of codes on a server. However, traffic brings a website to life and the importance of this cannot be under estimated. Getting traffic is big business and a complex process but what I want to do is provide you with a foundation to use when developing your site so that all your work becomes focused on developing your websites traffic.
The key thing to remember is that bringing in traffic is not easy it takes hard work and determination and a commitment to maintain this emphasis as the site grows, my intention is to discuss the ten key processes that you should be using as a minimum in order to build the traffic to your website.
This list is not all there is you can do but use these as a starting block to build your website foundations.
1. Keyword research.
This is the vital first step for any website, you need to find out what keywords and key phrases are best suited to developing the most traffic to your website, how can you do this?
2. Choose your domain name.
This is a vital stage because your domain name should reflect your business because it will become part of your brand, if you're ideal name is taken then add another word to it so that you can still keep your brand identity. Try to include your main keyword in the domain name, for example, if you are selling widgets and your main keyword/phrase is red widgets then you have the choice between widgets.com or redwidgets.com (if widgets.com is taken).
3. Get content uploaded immediately.
As soon as you have decided your keywords and registered your domain name then write a simple article related to your business, this article should be informative and also detail what your business will be delivering and the proposed go live date. Upload this and make sure that the search engines know of its existence by either submitting it to them or linking to it from another site that is crawled regularly. This process will help you to beat the Sandbox and then when you are fully ready it will be much easier to get the search engine traffic you need.
4. Always put some good content pages up.
Whether you are going to be selling products online or providing an information site, ALWAYS make sure you have 20 or so pages of decent unique content on your site. The content should obviously be related to your business, contain all your targeted keywords/phrases and be something of value to any visitor that lands. This will not only provide an interesting read for any human visitors but will also give plenty of ‘meat' for the search engine spiders to chew on, giving your site more presence across all your keywords/phrases to boot.
Try to add fresh unique content regularly, do not copy other peoples work because if you are doing it then you can be sure 100 others are also doing the same. Unique content means that more people will take the time to read it and link back to it.
5. Optimise your pages.
Your keywords/phrase should be in the title of your page, also set within a <H1> tag and the content must be relevant to it. Use bold within your page, remember most internet users scan pages initially and having bolded text (ideally keyword/phrases) draws their attention and locks them into reading the full page.
6. Always include a sitemap.
This has two uses, anyone landing on it can see the complete contents of your site and hopefully explore but the main one is that it provides a central hub from which the search engine spiders can hit all your pages. Always link to the site map from the homepage and always keep it up to date whenever you add a page as it is guaranteed to help with the indexing and ranking of your pages in the search engines.
7. Develop a link building strategy.
Back links are the key to any website in the battle for traffic so you must have a process in place, there are so many programs and sites that can be used to develop this but links can be gained using one of the easiest and free techniques on the internet. If you listened to point 4 then this technique should work well for you:
Analyse who is linking to your competition, type the following into Google/Yahoo etc..
This will pull up all the sites that the search engines have as linking to your competitors, visit them and find the appropiate contact details and then send a polite email enquiring about whether the would also like to link to your site as it will give their site members benefits etc.
Try to develop as natural a linking strategy as possible, Google tracks nearly everything when it comes to links as it wants to maintain the integrity of its database so the more natural a link looks the better. By natural I mean get links to different pages of your web site don't just have them all pointing to your homepage, in other words make sure you are deep linking to pages within your site.
8. Use the power of articles.
Become an expert on your subject and write about it frequently, once you have written your article then submit it to as many article directories as you can. Every article you submit has a link back to your site, so whenever anyone puts the article on their site you gain another back link and there are lots of people that visit these article sites to read on their chosen subject and if they see your link and like your article they will click through to your site.
This also increases the authority nature of your site from a visitors perspective, the more they see your name everywhere the more of an ‘expert' you become and the more they have confidence in your site and the more they will recommend it to others. The power of word or mouth cannot be under estimated.
9. Follow your industry and look ahead.
Always keep yourself up to date with your markets development and write about it early, the sooner you have something written and up on the internet the better. Being a leader in your field will be rewarded by the search engines, linkers and keep your visitors coming back as you will be providing cutting edge information.
10. Study your traffic statistics.
You should constantly be studying where your traffic is coming from so that you can optimise your site to maximise this traffic, most hosts provide detailed statistics on where visitors are coming from and the phrases they are using to find your site. If your host doesn't provide this then either get a third party statistics package or change hosts, the importance of traffic stats cannot be under estimated.
You need to be looking for the following (as a minimum):
-Which sites or search engines are sending you the traffic?
-What keywords/phrases are they using to find you?
-Which pages are attracting the visitors?
-Which pages are the ‘exit' pages?
This should allow you to develop your site because you will know what sort of pages encourage your visitors to your site, is it the content or a particular page format for example. You can also look at the pages that are ‘exit' pages and test new designs to see if you can encourage people to stay on your site for longer.
A key information snippet is what keyword/phrase they are using to get to your site. For example, you may be targeting Ebay Templates but when you check your logs you see that the majority are searching for Free Ebay Templates so you take this knowledge and develop some content that targets specifically Free Ebay Templates. Remember knowledge is power and this applies more so in the world of website development.
11. I thought you said there were 10 points in this process?
Now I know I said at the start that there were ten points but this eleventh point is really a re-emphasis of a point made earlier. It is probably the biggest point that I mentioned and as such needs to be re-mentioned, keep your content FRESH. Try to add a new page to your site every couple of days, this page doesn't have to be massive it should be 400 words as a minimum and be related to your business/market. Every subject in the world can have something written about it on a daily basis and as this is your bread and butter you will be easily able to achieve this.
Without fresh content your search engine rankings will start to slip, your visitors will become bored and go elsewhere. In order to maintain your authority status and keep the traffic coming back your site must be the most interesting, original and contain the most up to date and freshest information out there.