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The Importance of Traffic May 11, 2007

Posted by Brad in Entrepreneurship, Ideas.
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If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The same thought could apply to the Internet. If a great website exists but no one knows about it, what’s the point?

It’s true, great content is what keeps visitors coming back and with the advent of RSS and other web technologies it is becoming arguably the main thing that attracts visitors. However, with the amount of content on the web today, the ability to market your offering is still incredibly important.

Like it or not, your website or blog is a brand. It is important to make sure that your content and presentation is uniform and professional. You also need to take steps to establish your “brand” and to make it known to others. The most effective way to do this is to network through the Internet and especially in the blogosphere. Make friends, read blogs frequently, and join their communities by posting correctly. The more friends you make the more allies you have to drive traffic to your site.

***NOTE: learn the blog, read some posts and get a feel for how the community works. Above all do not post spam. If you are going to contribute a link please also take the time to contribute a relevant comment. Behave on other people’s websites as you would wish them to behave on yours.***

We also hear a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) these days. Search engines, if used correctly can generate a lot of traffic for your site, especially as search technology improves. Thankfully this cottage industry has far more information on the web than one could ever ask for and more than I could possibly present. If you’re interested, check out Search Engine Watch to learn more. Perhaps, the best advice I can give is that it is very important to learn how to develop and implement an effective META Tag. It will prove very valuable when it comes to controlling how your site is indexed by a search engine.

Another often overlooked tool is a press release. Chances are if you’re publishing a website worthy of traffic, you’re doing something newsworthy as well. In a sense, your website is a community or a project and big or small you’re working towards something. The media is always looking to keep tabs on these types of things and specifically if you target your release to members of the media who cover the area of interest that encompasses your site (this takes some research), a press release can provide you with leads, contacts, and media coverage. All of which can lead to increased traffic for your site, not to mention opportunities you may never have even thought of when it comes to getting involved with an area you love. Here is a great article on how to use this tool to market your site. If nothing else you’ll gain great experience in media relations.

Finally, we touched on Really Simple Syndication (RSS) in the beginning and it has become an increasingly important traffic tool. Users are becoming tired of having to check all the different sites every day to get their information. RSS brings information and your content to the reader through a feed. This makes it easier to get return visitors and to keep visitors tuned into your site. Projects like Feedburner and Technorati have simplified the process even further and remove any hassle that was left from syndicating your feed. If you’d like to learn how to make any site into an RSS feed check out this link from Search Engine Watch: Making and RSS Feed.

I really can’t stress it enough but in anything you do you should be conscious of how you are going to sell it. If people aren’t interested in what you’re doing, you need to take steps to either reach a different audience or to make what you’re doing interesting. If you’re creating a website or a web application, it would serve you well to reread Everyone Should Learn to Sell, it applies to your website as well as your person.

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