Top 10 Ways to Increase your Web Traffic

This article will help you get more page views and is written with Web Developers in mind.

Do you run a website much like this one? Are you having trouble getting the page views you would like? It can be difficult and quite frustrating at first when starting a website to generate the kind of traffic you envisioned while building the site. We all wish that the “if you build it they will come” philosophy of Field of Dreams was true but unfortunately it is not.

Within this article I will give you some ideas that should help you to increase your daily hits and generate more traffic than even you had thought was possible with your website!  It is important to remember though that content is king; If you have poor content you will not get returning visitors.

Something I did not add to this list but is nevertheless very important are the use of pictures.  You were probably wondering why the cute nerd girl was hanging out on the left hand side of this page and what relevance she has there.  Although some would say it’s sexist, the fact is- sex sells and grabs your attention.  Although that picture has nothing to do with this article you have found yourself deep in the thick of it and perhaps began this hunt wondering what “she” was all about!  Remember to choose choice images and place them strategically within your page.  Do you think the images chosen for this post were good or bad?  Why?  Please feel free to comment at the article’s conclusion.

NERD TREK Tip #10: Count Page Views

It is important to keep a running tally on what pages are bringing a lot of traffic to your site and which are not.  Try and figure out what you are doing to generate that traffic on post A and what is causing post B to perform so poorly.  Over time you will get better at this, for me at first it was like coding HTML in the dark.  I had no idea why some of my articles were just doing OK and others were generating thousands of hits!  In some cases it was as simple as one of my main images for that article showing up in Google Images as the #1 image!  People would click the image, read the article and then visit a similar article. This helped create a stream of traffic that I was able to redirect towards similar articles by gently recoding specific pages to nudge and guide the traffic in the direction I needed it to go.  You can even go so far as to gear new articles towards your new found readers to keep them coming back for more!

NERD TREK Tip #9: Copy Similar Websites

I’m not promoting plagiarism here folks, what I mean by this is to read the other top websites in your field often.  See how they manage ad placement, the number of articles written per day, amount of contributors, email list sign-up procedure, RSS feeds, and so on.  They have a working strategy- so LEARN from their success!  There’s a reason Gawker Media was a recent target of hackers- they have a ton of email addresses in their database because they are a successful project.  Take their ideas, customize them to your own and run with it!

NERD TREK Tip #8: Give away FREE STUFF!

Everybody loves free stuff!  There are a number of ways you can approach this.  If you are just getting started you might want to begin by making t-shirts, pencils, pens, sports bottles, and simple stuff with your logo on it and then giving it away to promote your brand name.  Once you get established you can start selling stuff online with your brand name and get paid to promote!  Take it slowly with this one, you don’t want to front a ton of money and only increase your daily visitors by 10.  Wait until you are well established before going crazy putting your name on everything.

NERD TREK Tip #7: Advertise

Although Ads can be very annoying try something new for a change.  Make your ad different from the rest and get creative, brainstorm or search the net for ideas and then ask your friends which ones they like best.  You could even write an article about your search for a creative advertisement when you’re all done and score some hits to top it off.  Lots of people pay for ads on other websites, but I have made it a point not to front too much cash in case the return isn’t what I had hoped.  Instead I find similar websites that I enjoy knowing that my readers also enjoy them- like Obsidian Portal for example.  I offer them free space on my site in trade for space on theirs.  I let them know how many visitors and hits I get a day and if they are interested we make a deal.  The best way to handle this is to offer trying it out for a month or a season.  After that you can both re-evaluate and see how much traffic the other site feeds into yours and vice versa.  It’s a win-win situation friends!

NERD TREK Tip #6: Invite a Guest Writer

Just as I talked about trading ad space in the last post, now it’s time to trade actually POSTS.  If you run a blog recruit someone from a similar blog to write a post on yours and in trade you will write a post for them!  You get their followers and they get yours.  How can you go wrong?

NERD TREK Tip #5: Host a Contest!

If you are brave and willing to risk some cash you could host a contest offering the chance to win a FREE iPad or similar device for signing up on your email list.  If you want to take this a bit further you could hide a specific image on one of your pages with a code upon it.  In order to enter the contest you make it a requirement to use this code.  That way, people are navigating through your site and becoming accustomed to it before they finally find the code and enter it to win.  Otherwise they might hear about it on Facebook, pop in, enter their email, leave and win the contest- never having really even looked at your website.

NERD TREK Tip #4: Post on related blogs/newgroups

Search the web for sites similar to your own and start following your favorite authors.  Post insightful comments and link back to your website.  If you just wrote an article on the new 128 bit Pac-Man game seek out similar articles and read their perspective.  Write a comment being certain you are not disrespecting the author (unless that is your intent and strategy to gain followers) and post a link to your review noting that in your comments.  You will be surprised how a series of these comments can start to bring a regular flow of traffic to your site over the coming months.  I sometimes forget about an article I commented about only to track it in my cpanel back to something I wrote months ago.  In those cases I might be bringing in 100 visitors a month just off that one comment!  They add up!

NERD TREK Tip #3: Be Original

It’s VERY easy to get caught up chasing Google Trends and trying to stay on top of the hottest topic of the day.  From experience this can be quite lucrative!  On Cyber Monday I held the #1 position on Google News for over 4 hours and scored a whopping 17,000 hits.  Google Adsense blew it’s roof and I could not believe my eyes.  After that I tried to replicate the results by chasing the nasty Google News bug all over the net trying to once again ride the wave to get to the top.  What I found was that I lost the readers I had built up and when I looked back the wave was gone and I came crashing down on my face.  What the hell was I doing?  I’m a creative and motivated person!  Why was I chasing the “trends”?  I have always made it a point in life to stay away from that nonsense and just appreciate the things I appreciate.  I had to make a decision to stay true to myself, my blog, and my readers.  Now I can hold my head high and enjoy being a nerd.  I honestly have no idea what’s trending today, nor do I care.  The picture of a beautiful woman wearing Xbox underwear and the article on the history of Thor remind me that my hardcore nerd readers are here with me and that’s all that matters!  😛

NERD TREK Tip #2: Maintain an Email List

If you haven’t started an Email list and you already have a website you are BEHIND THE GAME already.  Get an email list and set it up NOW!  Don’t wait to finish reading this, RUN!  An email list is just below the #1 spot on running a successful website.  Think about it- if your server crashes, the building that hosts your server burns to the ground, there is a horrible power surge, aliens take over the planet, you have bad diarreah, no matter what the emergency- your email contacts will still be there.  If you need to pick up, move and start a new website you still have all your followers.  If you don’t have this list you must start all over again.  Do yourself a favor too- make sure if you use Google Adsense that you investigate Google Adsense for Feeds and link your email newsletter into a feed through a service like Feedburner.  You just read that and said “yeah, yeah- I’ll bookmark this and do that later.”  Don’t, because that’s what I did and now I’m kicking myself for not getting that all setup sooner.  I also had an annoying pop-up urging people to sign up for the email list on my website.  Most webmasters encourage this, but to be honest 50% of my traffic would leave as soon as they arrived because of that damn thing and I wish I never put it up!  Learn from my mistakes so you will go far fast!

NERD TREK Tip #1: CONTENT IS KING

You may have heard that phrase elsewhere.  It’s because it’s true!  When you write content let it flow, the best content comes from the things you are interested in right here and now.  If you are running a blog on the outdoors and you have recently been into herbalism then by all means- write an article while you are doing your research.  Don’t wait until weeks later when the results of your finds are in.  Start now while you are fresh, sit down in front of the computer or even plug it into your email on your smart phone and send it to yourself to fine tune later.  The important thing is to let your brain flow when the good stuff is coming out.  Let it flow naturally and you can always correct the mistakes later.  I would rather read an interesting fresh article with a few type-os than delve into a boring rehash of something 10 websites have posted and you just rewrote because it was a hot topic.  Trust me, people can tell.

My final advice: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
At the end of the day you want to be proud of your work regardless of the number of people who read your website.  Even if you only have 10 readers who never comment but keep coming back to read each and every article- you’ve made it my friend.  Enjoy the freedom of expression that is the internet.

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.