Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Key to Website Traffic - Content, Content, Content

 Many people seem to think that the key to building traffic at their site is to be found in getting listed in all the top search engines in the top 10 of each engine. Or they think that having banners all over the Internet will just draw people from everywhere. Certainly, advertising and promotion are helpful, but I'm afraid this is not "field of dreams" if you build it, you have no guarantee thy will come just because it's there and they know about it. They will only come if the content is interesting to them.

Think about it this way, a business opens up in a high traffic area of your local mall. You go by the mall looking for, say, new clothes. The new store sells buggy whips. Do you go into the store just because it is on the mall? Probably not, unless you are in the market for a new buggy whip. Considering how many buggy's we have around, it is unlikely that store will last long regardless of it's high traffic location.

So it is with a web page. You have to offer compelling content to draw visitors in the first place, and to keep them coming back again.

One of the keys to good content in any type of publishing is summed up in a simple statement "Find a hole and fill it." For instance, I saw a need for an on-line daily devotion about six years ago. At the time no one I knew was providing one. I had been delivering one via e-mail for two years, then I started posting it on my web site eventually we added Bible studies and other materials and soon the website was drawing more than a half-million hits a year.

In creating content you really need to think like a web surfer. A lot of people create web sites thinking "This is what I want to put up on the site." What's wrong with that? Nothing, if you are planning on being the only one to visit that site. But if you want to attract people to your site you have to think like the Web Surfer you are trying to reach. Like I tell my magazine writing students "Think about the reader first, last and always. " So, don't think about what do I want to say. Think about how do I get them to listen.

The first rule in creating compelling content is that you have to clearly identify who you are trying to reach. If you say, "Everybody," then you are sure to fail. You need to have a clear target audience. The better defined your audience the easier it is to reach them with your message and to draw them to your site.

 So, if I have a commercial site trying to sell computers, who are the likely folk to come by? Well, they will fall into two categories: people who have their own computers (the majority) and those who use someone else's computer. Since the largest number of people fall into the first category, then I might target that audience. Now, I ask myself why would someone who already has a computer want to buy another. The answers are (a) The computer they have is inadequate for what they need. (b) Their computer is out of date and needs to be upgraded. (c) The person is a tech-head who always wants the latest in computer technology (d) The person is in charge of purchasing computers for a business and wants the best product at the best price. or (e) The person wants to buy a computer as a gift for someone else. You could target any of these markets. But let's say we are going after categories a and b. The computer is inadequate or out of date. If you create a web site with a lot of forms, frames, graphics, and flash and other bells and whistles, they will exit your site before it even loads and forget about oming back.

In your advertising and search engine descriptions, you need to get across the idea that one cannot stand still with technology. You could focus your advertising on Classified ad sites and swap meet type of newsgroups that allow advertising. You could also post notices around a local college or buy advertising in the college newspaper pointing the students to your site.
All of these would keep the focus on the needs of the market you are trying to reach. If you wanted to reach one or more of the other markets you should start from scratch with a new web page and new promotion geared toward that market. 

 Yes, it's a lot of work but to draw people to your site you have to be constantly working on your content. 


  1. Terri, great post. Bringing traffic to your site is time consuming and definitely work, and content is absolutely necessary. It's also useful to run your article/post title through a keyword search tool to make sure you're on target for those searching for your topic.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  2. Certainly good advice. Do you know of a good keyword search tool? I'm working on an article about SEO and would love to include it if you do.


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