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How to Attract Visitors to a Wesbite

Attract VisitorsIt's the question which has baffled some of the finest web designers you're ever likely to find. Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. But that doesn't stop people from wondering; how can I attract visitors to my website?


The reality is that competition on the Internet from rival websites all vying for the same consumers has reached such a fever pitch that it's incredibly difficult to gain an advantage. How can we market a website and gain attention, if many of the techniques are being employed by other developers across the Net? The answer is to steer clear of basing your business approach on marketing techniques alone.

The World Wide Web is saturated in terms of the effectiveness that early traffic generating schemes are likely to enjoy. That's not to say that we should avoid advanced concepts such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), but we should expand on them.

Much depends on the nature of the website itself. A commercial website will gain clients through word of mouth and satisfied testimonials. A hobbyist website's best hope, in the modern day, is to create a "buzz factor" for its brand.

Websites such as MySpace and YouTube have grown at a frightening rate due to the buzz factor of user generated content, which has become arguably the most rewarding phase of online marketing.

Some websites are now making use of what's known as the folksonomy methodology. This is where a site relies on its users to generate content and data to attract further users. Obviously, you can't operate a folksonomy approach if you're running a commercial website where the image is ingrained, but the trends are switching.

User generated content is a great source of free publicity and you're likely to catch on like wildfire through the blogging scene, if your website fills the criteria.

For those of us faced with the prospect of building a website from the ground up, and attracting users with our own content, the task isn't quite as easy.

The focus on search engine ranking is hard to overcome for all of its importance. Websites like Google and Yahoo Search remain the number one source for referrals to popular websites. The simple reality is that if a web user wants to find something, they're more than likely going to use one of the major search engines. Directories and categorized listings used to be just as popular, but are quickly falling out of favor as the search algorithms increase their efficiency.

The use of keywords and metadata is a useful start for any budding webmaster. It may sound strange, but the Internet has evolved to the point where we now need to provide information about information. This is what metadata does. It serves information to the various search engines, and with some carefully planned SEO, it's possible to gain a higher search ranking.

While the Search Engine Marketing arena is widely regarded as a useful tool in generating web exposure, it remains a complimentary feature. In other words, it won't stand the test of time if your content isn't up to scratch.

Web users tend to be more skeptical of content these days, so if you don't deliver on your keywords, or dress a site for search engines only, forgetting the importance of human readability: you'll fall out of favor in a matter of weeks.

Of course, if you're that determined to launch your website with as many visitors as possible, there are paid solutions available. You can purchase advertising space and draw traffic from other websites, but ultimately, is this a long term solution to you? You'll tend to find that the most popular websites stay on top through branding alone, and rarely have to resort to paid advertising for their activity.

As an alternative to the paid method of advertising, you can sometimes strike up deals with other webmasters to provide content in exchange for an author's link. This is a simple way to channel traffic to your own website, and free if you're willing to work with other sites.

How often do you find that a visitor will drop by your site once, have a brief look, and never return? You'd be shocked at the facts and figures of how regular this occurs, but is it so hard to believe? Most poorly planned websites are designed with a lack of interactivity and flair. Once you have users on your site, do whatever it takes to keep them. Offer a newsletter system so that you can inform them of updates. Just don't let your site name slip to the back of their mind, since the chances are, they won't be returning anytime soon.

A registration system is great for getting a steady influx of regular visitors, but you have to have something to offer. Whether it's a discussion forumĀ : VBulletin or Invision Power - or simple premium benefits, there has to be a motive to want to come back. You'll soon find that the problem isn't so much attracting users to a website; it's keeping them.

 
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