Tips to Increase Traffic to Your Website

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We'd be happy to share our Internet marketing secrets. But, keep in mind, building a great website is really lots of common sense, so don't expect too much from this, it's kind of like asking "how do you lose weight?" No one wants to hear an answer like "diet and exercise." This is mostly common sense. Remember, cutting edge technology can kill the cat. Keep it simple!

  1. Content is King
  2. Things to Avoid
  3. Design Techniques For a Successful Website
  4. Navigation Can Make or Break a Site
  5. Driving Traffic to Your Site
  6. Client Contact Methods
  7. Obtaining Advertisers on Your Website

Content is King

You will have a lot of Internet traffic to your website if your pages are fun, entertaining, and informative. I have to say that the best marketing tool is to have the best original, complete, killer content out there that there is. Dry content (over-professionalism) will not hold your readers. There have been numerous articles on this. Being politically correct doesn't always work on the web. Articles need to have personality. You don't have to be crass, but humor goes a long way.

In addition, there is a rumor going around that all content has to be dynamic. Not true. Some information is what they call "evergreen", meaning that's its relevance and value do not go stale. As long as the navigation on a set of so-called static pages is well done, there's no reason to think set of plain ole' HTML pages can't draw a large traffic base.

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Things to Avoid in Website Design

These tips are given so you don't appear like an amateur or annoy your audience. The first thing new web page designers want to do is use all the tricks of the trade: flashing pages, background graphics, colorful fonts, tired images downloaded from tired web image galleries. I can usually tell how many months a designer has been doing web pages by looking at them. Avoid this trap!

  1. Avoid any kind of animated graphics - only newbie programmers use these, they are highly annoying.
  2. Avoid the use of background graphics - they can be used effectively, but only if you use a light hand.
  3. Avoid centering all of your text - again, a newbie trait.
  4. Avoid the use of lots of different fonts and font colors. Stick to one style. If you were sending out a formal flyer or pamphlet, would you use 6 different fonts and 12 different colors in your printed pages? We thought not. Again, the hallmark of an inexperienced web page designer.
  5. Avoid the use of java applets. Nothing is more frustrating than to have your web page download grind to a halt while an applet is loading. Many people will be gone before the page finishes loading. I've seen a few good uses of applets, but they don't come to mind right now. Also, with Microsoft pulling the plug on supporting java applets for Internet Explorer 6.0 (you need to download a plugin), I have a feeling applet use will go away.
  6. Avoid the use of plug-ins. Why? Not everyone has the inclination or know how to install a plug in. Others just don't want to install them.
  7. Avoid the use of adobe acrobat .pdf files for anything other than official forms which must be filled out exactly per some specification. An example of a good use? The IRS puts all of their tax return forms in .pdf format so can just print them out at home. Saves a trip to the post office, and they always have the form you need.
  8. Why don't I recommend them except in such cases? A) They require a plug in (see above) and B) The files themselves are ridiculously big. Don't use them if at all possible.
  9. For some more tips on what to avoid (and to be entertained) check out this URL. Web page that sucks

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Design Tips for a Well Done Site

To appear as professional and to reach the largest audience possible, may we suggest the following tips.

  1. Use white as your background color. Why? Beacause the easiest text to read is the old boring black text on a white background. Why do you think most books use this set up? White text on a black background is the hardest for most viewers to read. Dark background colors with light text can be an eye-catching effect, but if you are doing an informational article, try to stick to the tried and true format.
  2. The standard font for web pages is font face "Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma" with the font size set at 10 pt.
  3. Remember, only 10 percent of viewers scroll down on the home page of your site. The home page of the site should preferably fit "above the fold" or should fit an entire screen without having to scroll down.
  4. If you have very short articles on your site, it is perfectly acceptable to put them all on one page. As a matter of fact, many people still print out web pages and keeping the information on one page is convenient for them.
  5. Make sure your pages look good on all browsers and devives - such as Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Bing, and all size mobile devices.
  6. Style sheets are perfectly acceptable these days, but keep it simple as there are still some incompatible features between the different browsers. So again, check you page on different browsers before making it live.
  7. Hire a professional to do your web graphics. Nothing is more of an eyesore than amaturish graphics.

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Navigation Can Make or Break a Site

So what if you have brilliant content? If your navigation is confusing or just impossible to wade through, your visitors will never find it! And if you frustrate them, that's right, they are gone. Here are some basic navigation tips.

  1. All navigation should be on the left margin of the page or on the top of the page. This is the industry standard.
  2. The navigation links should be consistent from page to page. If possible, they should be the same on every page.
  3. Your navigation should ensure that all content is no more than three clicks away.

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Getting Traffic

The top three draws to a website, and ones that will generate the most traffic.

Contact the various search engines available and ask to be added to their data bases, or register to most of them at one time by using an all-in-one service such as a submit-it service. This is a great free site and will get you automatically enrolled in all the major search engines! There are many more search engines and sites out there which will submit links. When I first started Credit Info Center, I made it part of my day to spend a half hour a day submitting my site to search engines or to pages who I thought might be interested in my content. This alone generated significant traffic.

You may want to use paid search engine submission services. There is one I recommend. I hired a company to do stealth submissions to the search engines which has tripled my web traffic. http://www.deadlock.com/promote/ - these guys are great, and they love to give me a hard time.

It used to be that search engine spiders would scour the web and rank your web pages automatically, but Yahoo is making plans to start charging for search engine placement, effectively wiping out the "little" guys chances. If you do have to pay, I personally think Google has the best deals.

Make Sure Your Customers Can Contact You Via E-Mail

If your pages provide an easy access link to your e-mail address, your customers can contact you on the spot without printing out your page or copying down your information. Even if your customer intends to contact you after leaving your site, he may forget or simply be too lazy to call or write.

It's also important to return emails quickly. Nothing is a bigger turn off than not receiving a reply to email sent to you. Hire a part time student to handle this if you have to. Don't send back canned responses. People are smarter than you think.

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How to Attrack Advertisers to Your Site

Don't over look advertisers as sources of revenue, even if your main reason to have a web site is to sell products. If your site has a lot of traffic, there is lots of money to be made by advertising. There are numerous organizations out there that will pay you by the click. I'd put links here, but they change so frequently. Do a search on one of the search engines to find one.

As far as my own advertising experience, I'm not bragging when I say this, but companies beg me to let them advertise on CreditInfo Center and don't balk at the price at all. I have done absolutely nothing to market my site to advertisers other than have a site out there with obvious traffic. It feeds on itself, good content leads to high volume, which leads to advertising potential. Without exception, all of my advertisers have contacted me first about advertising, several of them before I posted ad prices. I do get way higher than the industry CPMs, but my audience does trust my advertisers I have checked all of them out and have turned down lots of them whose practices I thought were shady. I don't want anyone ripped off through my recommendations. In other words, I think I give my readers a sense of trust in my recommendations to them.

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