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The A to Z Guide to Getting Website Traff´c

By Shawn Campbell

In September of 1999, Brett Tabke wrote "26 Steps to 15k a Day" in the Webmaster World forum. A lot has changed since then, and now is the time to consider a new 26-step plan that meets the current needs of webmasters in 2006. Some of the old ones still apply (writing new content everyday, for example), and some don't (submitting to the search engines is no longer necessary), and we're here to tell you which is which! As you probably already know, bringing in traff´c is not easy - it takes hard work, determination and lots of elbow grease. So if you're ready, roll up your sleeves and follow these 26 simple steps, and within just one year you will generate enough traff´c to keep you busy for a long, long time!

A) Keyword Research
Before you do anything else, use a keyword research tool and do an extensive job researching the right keyphrases to use for your site. What keyphrases are your direct competitors using? Are there any keyphrases that create a potential for market entry? Are there any that you can put a spin on and create a whole new niche with?

B) Domain Name
If you want to brand your company name, then choose a domain name that reflects it. If your company is Kawunga, then get www.kawunga.com. If it's taken, then get www.kawungawidgets.com. No dashes, and no more than two words in the domain if appropriate.

C) Avoid the Sandbox
Buy your domain name early, as soon as you have chosen your keyphrases and your company name. Get it hosted right away and put up a quick one page site saying a little about who you are, what you sell, and that there will be more to come soon. Make sure it gets crawled by Google and Yahoo (either submit it or link to it from another site).

D) Create Content
Create over 30 pages of real, original content on your site. This will give the spiders something to chew on. It will also give you more opportunities to been seen in the search engine results for a wide variety of keyphrases.

E) Site Design
Use the "Keep It Simple" principle. Employ an external CSS file, clean up any Java Scripts by referring to them off the page in an external file, don't use frames, use flash the way you would an image, and no matter what, do not create a flash site. Do not offer a busy site with lots of bells and whistles to your visitors. Keep things nice and simple. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for and they'll have no reason to look anywhere else.

F) Page Size
The less kilobytes your page uses, the better - especially for the home page. Optimize your images and make sure the page loads quickly. Most people and businesses in the Western world may have high speed, but cell phones and other countries might not. If your site loads slowly, you may have already lost your visitor before they've even had a chance to browse around.

G) Usability
Make sure that your site follows good usability rules. Remember that people spend more time on other sites, so don't violate design conventions. Don't use PDF files for online reading. Change the colours for visited links, and use good headers. Look up usability for more tips and tricks, it will be worth your while.

H) On Site Optimization
Use the keyphrase you have chosen in your title (most important), your headers (when appropriate), and within the text. Make sure that your page/content is ABOUT your keyphrase. If you are selling widgets, than write about widgets. Don't just stick the word widgets into the text.

I) Globals
Globals are the links that remain the same on every page. They are the reference for new visitors to keep them from getting lost. Sometimes they are on the left of the page, sometimes they consist of tabs at the top. Often they are in the footer of the page as well. Make sure that you have an old style text version of your globals on every page. I usually create tabs at the top, and put the text versions in the footer at the bottom of the page. Find out what works best for you.

J) Headers
Use bold headers. On the Internet, people scan they don't read. So initially, all they will see are the headers. If your headers don't address their concerns, they won't stick around long enough to read your content. Use appropriate keyphrases when you can.

K) Site Map
Build a site map with a link to each of your pages. Keep it up to date. This will allow the spiders to get to every page. Put a text link to the site map on the main pages.

L) Content
Add a page every 2-3 days: 200-500 words. Create original content, don't copy others. The more original and useful it is, the more people will read it, link to it, and most importantly of all - like it enough to keep coming back for more.

M) White Hat Only
Stay away from black hat optimizing techniques. Black hat optimization consists of using any method to get higher rankings that the search engines would disapprove of, such as keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible text, cloaking and more. Stick to white hat methods for long-term success. People who use black hat optimization are usually there for the short-term, such as in p÷rn, gambling, and V´agra markets (just look at your email sp@m for more black hat markets). These black hat industry sites are usually around just long enough to make a quick buck.

N) Competition Analysis
Who is linking to your competition? Use Yahoo's "link:" service to see the back links of your competition. For example, type in "link:http://www.yourdomain.com" into Yahoo search without the quotes). Try to get links from the same sites as your direct competitors. Better yet, see if you can replace them!

O) Submit
Submit to five groups of directories:

1. Dmoz.org and Yahoo (local, such as Yahoo.co.uk, or Yahoo.ca, etc... if you can).
2. Find directories in your field and get into them. Pay if you must, but only if the price is reasonable.
3. Local directories that relate to your country or region.
4. Any other directories that would be appropriate.
5. If you are targeting the local market, make sure that you are in the Yellow Pages and Superpages (because search engines use these listings to power local searches)

P) Blog
Start a blog about your industry and write a new entry at least once a week. Allow your visitors to comment or, better yet, write their own entries. This will create even more content on your site and will keep people coming back regularly to see what is new.


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About The Author
Shawn Campbell is an enthusiastic player in the ecommerce marketplace, and co-founded Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.. He has been researching and developing marketing strategies to achieve more prominent listings in search engine results since 1998. Shawn is one of the earliest pioneers in the search engine optimization field.