Happy New Year!
I talk to people who are ready to give up their sites after one year of effort. I understand their concerns.
My government sites pull almost 100,000 page views a month and sites I’ve assisted can get as many as 2,500 page views a day.
But starting from scratch and establishing brand new sites is a thankless chore that often results in little search traffic especially when not tied to an organization. Even organizational sites with an established user base struggle.
Google and other search engines are unkind/brutal as to sending traffic to new sites. Ninety-nine percent of your comments are spam. Some commenter’s are less than kind. Requests for links are ignored. You’re shocked about time spent on your site via Google Analytics.
You may be extraordinarily knowledgeable about your subject matter and pay to have a really nice looking and functional site. You may be writing about important topics and have a unique point of view yet traffic is almost nonexistent.
You’re frustrated and upset and you’re close to giving up. Don’t. Establish you reasons for a social presence.
Some things to consider:
For many of us, blogging or social sites is simply a hobby. Regardless of traffic volume, you get personal satisfaction from posting your material.
Google and other search engines are unkind to new sites. Your one-year-old site simply needs more time to establish favorable consideration. It will come.
You put a lot of time and effort with little reward but you “are” establishing a presence; you are solving problems for readers and you are proving your credibility. If you are doing this to establish authority within your niche then it will have an eventual payoff.
Creating articles within your subject expertise can be a real time saver. When I get inquiries about the difficulties of first year blogging, I will simply use this article as a base for discussion.
Traffic is based on the number of articles posted. I do not suggest posting simply to create a presence; articles that have relevancy must come from the heart. But increasing the number of posts helps. For those capable, three articles a week can dramatically improve traffic. Those posting daily will see significant increases.
Note that on sites I’ve started from scratch (those not tied into existing organizations) I post infrequently and I pay the price as to lower traffic. But I understand that I’m establishing a presence and that’s all I want to do right now. Creating a web presence gives me options for the future.
Inviting colleagues to write for your site provides them with an outlet and you with quality material. Paying for articles is a dubious enterprise unless you know your source.
Allow other sites to post your material. Some do not require new articles and will simply take existing material. This allows you to see how you communicate within a larger platform. You get 50 page views on your site but you get 1,000 page views on another. At least you know it’s not your material that’s at issue, it’s simply a matter of your site being new to search engines.
Asking for links (another site places your site address on their page or cites an article) is standard operating procedure. It’s not easy and it’s easily defeating but an essential practice. Don’t be shy in asking for links after you create at least twenty-five articles and you have your site where you want it as to appearance.
Advice of experts:
Be skeptical as to the advice of experts. I read everything I can on the subject and endlessly listen to podcasts and I can assure you that most of what you will hear is dubious at best. Your success is not based on software urging your use of key words. Key words (how users find your material) are essential but key word stuffing simply makes your articles look and sound silly. Search the Google Keyword Tool for assistance.
The same applies to headlines. Declaring your article to be an “essential” resource (“What you must know about______” and “Critical Things to Know About______” simply turns people off. The overuse of declarative titles is tiring and misleading in most cases.
Experts will tell you to do things that the average person has no time to do. You will be encouraged to spend lots of time conversing with fellow subject level experts as to their site experiences. It’s a great suggestion but few of us have the time to engage at that level and quite frankly few seem inclined (differs as to the subject).
Understand your market. If you’re trying to attract baby boomers or seniors (see my site at http://MyLifeAudio.Com) understand that they are a growing but limited internet presence. If I’m writing for audiences well served by established sites like public affairs or social media (see http://LeonardSipes.Com) then traffic will be a challenge at first.
Depend on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and others to drive traffic at first. They won’t send much but it will be more than the search engines send especially in the first year.
Look at your trend lines as to site statistics. You will have a series of ups and downs in the first year but overall, are average page views growing? I don’t worry about daily numbers; I’m concerned with growth over the long run.
If you use Google Analytics you will notice that time spent on site is minimal by 70-80 percent of users. Don’t be shocked. It happenes to all sites. It’s a matter of quality versus quantity. The twenty percent that engage are worth a thousand times more that the 80 percent who accidently stumble onto your site.
People have varied learning styles. Consider short articles. Contemplate video and audio (transcribing audio and video places a lot of content on your site). Know that people skim rather than read.
So that’s it. A nice site with well written articles offering a unique perspective that have appropriate key words “will” get increasing numbers of traffic based on time and the number of posts offered. Your efforts will eventually provide the rewards you seek. But during the first year we need to have realistic expiations and understand that quick rewards are far and few between.
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