Increasing Website Visitor Numbers

What needs to be done to increase traffic to the site?

So goes the distressed cry from many website owner. When we write content for a website, we want to do well on Google and other search engines. How do you get more people to visit your site?

Avoid anyone selling snake oil on this, eg "pay us £2000 and we will get you number one in Google". Our own experience confirms the argument that heavy site traffic costs money.

The options are:

  • The first rule is 'good content'; if a page is interesting, portrays an exciting or useful product, or intrigues an audience, then visitors will come back, tell their colleagues and friends, link to it from a blog or website, and cite it in the press.
  • SEO - search engine optimization.
  • Site maps - pages of static HTML links as well as XML files for the search engines.
  • Time - a site with content will, in time, build a reputation and that will spread word-of-mouth recommendations. Time is also essential for the search engines to do their stuff; there is nothing that can be done to hurry them; expect three months before you find your site in Google, and that does not mean page 1!
  • Good links to your site - by good links we mean from well-respected sites eg The Guardian, BBC, valued sites in your industry or sector.
  • Web Advertising - eg Google Adwords; you bid for phrases eg 'business change consultancy' and the more you pay the more often your ad gets shown on sites where the pages match your keywords.
  • Traditional advertising and promotion - in journals, public speaking, editorial, trade shows - to get the URL out and about
  • Mailshots - by email and post

Search Engine Optimisation

We need to help the search engine spiders tell visitors about your page. This is not a war but it is an ongoing art - the search companies want to deliver the right pages to searchers and hone their rules to achieve this. When webmasters try to exploit or misuse those rules, the search companies are forced to downgrade sites using those techniques - and innocent sites may lose out in the crossfire. However sites being honest and truthful will win out in the long term.

For each page work out the keywords of importance and put these in the page heading (the H1 tag), in the first paragraph too, and repeat these keywords in the meta tags with the first paragraph in the description tag. Avoid all crude approaches eg including the word 'sex' or repeating keywords in an unnatural way.

The broad principles are:

  • The file name used for the page should reinforce the keywords, with underscores or hyphens between words.
  • The Title meta tag should be the same as the main heading on the page ie different for every page.
  • The Description meta tag should contain the top paragraph.
  • The Keywords meta tag should contain the words and phrases, separated by commas, by which you think the page should be found, again different for every page.
  • There should be just one H1 (heading tag) on the page - with the page title - not the site name.
  • The first paragraph we have talked about should be as near the top of the BODY tag as your design allows.
  • all images hould have ALT tags which contain the keywords which describe the image.

Some commentators will say that "the search engines take no account of xyz", but these rules are good disciplines to follow.

TLA is delighted to do the SEO work; the time and cost will depend on the number of pages.

Remember that this work requires repetition - adding new content, more promotion work, and reviewing the SEO aspect. Search engines change how they handle sites and an annual review is worthwhile.

For more information, please contact TLA.