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Increase Your Site's Traffic

Posted Saturday, September 25, 2004

1. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, and has useful content.
One of the biggest mistakes webmasters make, is they create a site that is difficult to navigate. Even if you have the best content in the world, if your visitors can't access it, then it is worthless. So often you will see sites that place links to other pages at random, forcing you to go through 5 or 6 pages just to get back where you were. You can eliminate this by creating a menu system, and by either using a Top Menu, or a Side Menu which is easily accessible on every page on your site. These menus contain key links, which are used to take the visitor to important pages, or to gateway pages (for example, if you click on our Traffic Link, you go to the Traffic Gateway page, which links to our tools and services). Avoid using highly graphical menus, or menus with a font that is difficult to read.
Content is the second biggest mistake webmasters make. Often they get too caught up in advertising or affiliate links, and end up making a page full of banners and useless links. If you are creating a Car Site, your page should contain links relevent to cars, either fixing them, buying them, insurance, etc. You would not expect to see a page full of banner ads and links for fishing on Toyota's website, but you do expect to see actual information and relevent links. Also, unless your site is intended to be used as a directory, avoid over-linking. Exchanging links is a great way to increase traffic, but there is a right way, and a wrong way. In fact, some search engines lower your placement if you over-link. When placing irrelevent links (to sites that have linked to you, but are not relevent to the subject the page talks about, for example: you should place no more than 5 links on a page, and most webmasters prefer to place these links at the bottom of their site. The second option is to create a "links page," such as the Free for All Links, where you will place all of your irrelevant links.

2. Create Meta Tags for your site and submit your site to search engines.
Again, before you submit to search engines content plays a major role. Today search engines actually scan your site for both Meta Tags, and for site content. To assist the search engine robots (and to receive a higher search engine ranking) you should use text for your main information (for example, this article is text, not flash or an image), bolding the important or key words. Also, make sure that you use the "ALT" attribute for images, as the search engine robot will not see the image, only the alt attribute in the image tag, and when using flash add the keywords and links as a comment (<!-- My Cool Site <a href=></A> -->).
The second key part, is creating correct and useful meta tags. There are a lot of sites that offer meta tag generators, but not all of them are up to par. Make sure that you have the following meta tags:
TITLE (<title>Your Site Title</title> & <meta name="title" content="your site title">)
SUBJECT (<meta name="subject" content="cars">)
DESCRIPTION (<meta name="description" content="brief description of your site">)
KEYWORDS (<meta name="keywords" content="important keywords for your site">)
LANGUAGE (<meta name="language" content="EN">) [EN = English]
EXPIRES (<meta name="expires" content="Date to stop listing your site">)
COPYRIGHT (<meta name="copyright" content="© 2004 Your Site">)
REVISIT AFTER (<meta name="revisit-after" content="How often to spider your site">)
ROBOTS (<meta name="robots" content="What they are suppose to do">)

To create meta tags, you can either use the codes above, or you may create them quickly and easily by using either Comteche's Meta Tag Generator ( or's Meta Tag Wizard (

3. Join a banner exchange and/or a pop-up exchange to get more visitors.
Joining a banner exchange or a pop-up/under exchange is a proven way of increasing site traffic. The big difference is that a Banner Exchange will trade banner impressions with you, and a Pop-up/Under Exchange will trade visitors with you (with a Pop-up/Under exchange you will receive actual visitors). While the pop-up exchange is a gauranteed way to get traffic, you need to be careful to make sure you do not launch several pop-ups off of your site (the general rule is 1 per visitor, and definately no more than 1 per page) so that your visitors are able to browse your site easily, and hassle free. If you launch too many pop-ups your visitors will either download pop-up blocking software, or just decide to go somewhere else for their content needs.
Now, there are thousands of different pop-up/ banner exchanges on the web, but you need to be careful when deciding which to use. When picking an Exchange Network, check the following:
- How Many Free Credits do you Get
- What are the ratios (you show vs. they show)
- What type of content is allowed (you do not want adult sites launching from your site)
- Can site's have more pop-ups (if they can, your visitor could be hit by a lot of pop-ups at 1 time)
For a banner exchange, you should expect at least a 10:8 ratio (meaning that you show 10 banners, and they will show 8 of your banners), and a pop-up exchange you should expect a 3:2 ratio (for every 3 pop-up windows you launch, they will launch 2 of yours). Some good pop-up/under & Banner exchange networks are: (, Comteche (, Free-Banners (, and w3exit (

4. Once you start getting traffic, use your visitors through Top Sites, and by asking them to tell a friend and link back to you.
Finally, use the visitors that you are receiving now. Most of the traffic you receive will not come from search engines, or from advertising, but through people talking about your site. For example, in 1998, when was a big hit, most people who visited were referred by a friend via the real world (such as daily conversations). However, if you want people to talk about your site you will need good, qaulity content (as mentioned in step #1).
You can also ask your visitors to "Email a Friend" about your site by using an online form that you script (many sites offer a form that you can use and requires no scripting on your part, such as Bravenet []), or you may simply use a mailto link [<a href="mailto:?subject=Check out this site: (">Email) A Friend</A>].
You can also allow your visitors to link back to you by creating a "Link to Us" page (for example, (, where you should place a few banners and buttons that they can use. Also, use your visitors browser by asking them to bookmark your site, or even make it their homepage.
Finally, take advantage of other site's traffic. Many sites offer Top Site pages where the more visitors you send them, the more visitors you will receive. If you choose to do this, compare the Hits In for a site against the Hits Out for that site. If the site has more Hits Out than Hits In, this hints that this top site will send more visitors your way, than you will theirs (which means you are gaining traffic from the service, not losing it).

And there you have it, four simple steps to increase your site's traffic. However, again the most important step is Step #1, in order to get visitors, and keep them coming back your site needs to have good content, and a easy to use navigation system. Just one more tip, giving away free stuff on your site is always a plus, and it doesn't have to cost you a thing. Check out Bravenet ( or Add-Ons ( for some great add-ons and freebies for your site.

For more articles on web design along with several different tools and generator visit at (

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