How to Get Traffic to Your Site
The first step to getting and maintaining traffic to any given site is to write real, free, useful and informative content. Period. If you can't write your way out of a paper bag, get help. Always read your content out loud BEFORE you publish, it'll help you catch those annoying mistakes. And don't write with your eye on the money, it will do you no good whatsoever. Write what you love to write, write because you want to share, write because you can't find anything better to do at three in the afternoon, but don't write just to sell. You'll fail because people hate being sold to. I have better things to do with my time than listen to your pitch about your "kewl" product, and so does everybody else on the Internet.
The thing most people don't get about Internet marketing is that it's all about the information. While in the brick and mortar world, location is everything, on the Internet information is everything. People aren't coming to your site because they're looking to buy something, they come because they're looking for info they need right now. So give it to them already!
If you don't write about what you love, you will come off as phony. The biggest part of learning to be a pro copywriter is to learn to love other people's subjects, and the hardest. When one of my clients wants me to write about hemorrhoids, I have to study enough to really get interested, which is part of why copywriters cost so much. If you're not planning on being a copywriter, stick to the stuff you're already interested in rather than trying to do a subject just because you think it'll be profitable. People can tell when you're not really interested, it's part of what makes a "salesy" feel to a site.
On the bright side, by writing what you love, you bring a level of passion, knowledge and interest to your work that brings you the sort of traffic you actually want. You build trust with your readership, you establish yourself as an authority, and you find the most interesting people to talk to! You also avoid burnout and, if monetizing, your income slowly builds up to unbelievable levels, all while ensuring your permanent place on Google's happy list.
Instead of wasting tons of time trying to figure out how to trick search engines, play with algorithms and keep on top, you have time to write extensively and well about what you know. Once you write it, you don't have to spend more time on it, unlike all the poor sods who have to keep figuring out new ways to "hack the system" when the algorithms get one level more complex. The search engines want deep, relevant content, and will keep optimizing to get it. By just giving them what they want in the first place, how much time and effort can you save?
Search engine optimization does indeed have its place. SEO is meant to help you get out of your own way, not to try and trick people. If you wrote the most wonderful content in the world, and screwed up the techie end, people still can't find it. Create metatags with a catchy title, an enticing description and a maximum of five relevant keywords for each page. The title and description don't show up on your page itself, but they do show up in the Search Engine Results Pages. In other words, people choose to go to your site or not based on your title and description, so make them interesting.
Do not use anything but straight HTML, Flash and animation is hard to find, impossible to spider, and is not universally appreciated. If you specialize in animation, such as publication of your own cartoons, by all means offer it. Only, offer it in several different formats so people with different connection speeds can choose their optimal method, and keep the landing page straight HTML. The same goes for video, audio, and everything else that takes up connection speed.
Once you've optimized your HTML pages, create a .xml file as a sitemap for spiders. They're not that hard to make, just type in .xml sitemap tutorial on Google and you'll find it. Webhosting places are even starting to offer them as an addon without getting too technical, and you need one. An .xml file lets search engine spiders understand your site quickly, which leads to quicker ratings.
After you've written your content, post it everywhere you can! However, don't do it from a get-rich-quick standpoint. Get involved in online forums, and put links to your site in your signature if allowed. Get involved in social bookmarking sites and bookmark your favorite pages, including your own of course. The point is, get involved, don't do link spamming. Many people mistakenly get involved in the "techie" aspects of the Internet, trying to figure out how to use a programming shortcut. The Internet isn't about tech, tech is just used to create communities that otherwise couldn't meet. Get involved in the community and the community will reward you.
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