Read through the hundreds of forums and bulletin boards on the internet and you will find dozens of threads centering on the lack of web site traffic. All the other remaining threads bemoan the difficulty of getting visitors to return long enough to buy something. Then there are the threads about the complexity of getting listed and ranked well in important search engines.
All of these dilemmas have the same cure - CONTENT. Content that is pertinent to the subject of a website and updated regularly makes a site "sticky." Sticky sites drive and keep occupied all the visitors you could possibly handle. Search engines drink from the fountain of fresh and interesting content provided by savvy webmasters who enjoy increased rankings and sales.
You too can enjoy these benefits with just a little effort and a small budget if you create or find content appropriate to your topic. Add some or all of the following types of content to your site and your traffic will increase and visitors will return often.
Articles - There is no doubt that free reprint articles are the best way to populate websites. You can maximize the benefits of articles by writing them yourself or by offering a small fee to writers for customized versions of their popular articles.
Quotes - Any interesting set of quotes on topic will help motivate and inspire visitors. Add and delete quotes regularly to keep your site fresh. Find quotes at http://www.brainyquote.com/.
Puzzles - People love games and puzzles. Appeal to the child that exists inside all of your visitors and they will reward you with their time and attention. One place to get a new monthly puzzle is http://tinyurl.com/6spgk. Consider investing a small sum to have a custom crossword puzzle developed for your site.
Forums - Follow in the footsteps of successful websites by adding free forums to your site. Check out forum software at www.phpbb.com Ask loyal visitors to serve as moderators for specific topic threads.
Feedback/Guestbook - Allow visitors to ask questions or comment on an issue raised by your site or your blog. Make this information public (so long as it is in good taste) and searchable by visitors.
Reviews - Unbiased reviews are universally popular. Add reviews of books, software, hardware, scripts, movies, television shows, schools or spas to your site and visitors will return again and again.
Case Studies/Success Stories - Everyone loves a success story. Interview your best customers and add their stories to your website to bolster your credibility and satisfy your content needs. Be careful to make the success story interesting and motivational rather than commercial.
Jokes - A sense of humor is often lacking on the internet. Imagine how impressed you would be by an attorney who has such a good sense of humor that he keeps all the best attorney jokes on his website. Follow in the footsteps of that attorney and visitors will look forward to visiting your site.
Newsfeeds - Does your site cover a topic that frequently generates breaking news? Add current news to your site via feeds and enjoy a higher rate of return visits from your readers.
Resource Directories - Instead of the usual reciprocal link campaign consider adding a resource directory to your site that actually points your visitors to valuable sites that complement your own. List only the sites you choose and do not incur search engine wrath by insisting upon reciprocal links. All links in the directory should open to a new browser window.
Newsletter & Archives - You don't have to recreate the wheel and attempt to create a huge list for your newsletter. Offer regular updates by e-mail or blog to current and potential clients and include links to pertinent articles or resources. Keep archives publicly accessible and search engines will visit often.
Blogs - Why should you jump on the current trend of blogging? Search engines adore blogs and visit them often because they tend to be updated frequently. You can use a blog to replace your e-mail newsletter and to feature your product or service reviews and other bits of pertinent information that do not merit a special e-mail to your customers.
Job Listings - Consider adding fresh job listings to your site that fit your topic. For instance, you could feature telecommuting jobs if your site topic is "work at home." Make sure you have the permission of the employer prior to posting their openings on your site.
Testimonials - Request testimonials form current and past clients and sprinkle them throughout your website. Remove outdated testimonials and add fresh ones on a regular basis. Give your clients live links (opening in a new browser window) to their website within the testimonial.
Please remember that you need permission to use content created by someone else and at all times follow the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. You can read the full text of this law at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.2281.ENR:.
The internet was conceived as a method of sharing information with people around the world. If we all return to these roots by filling our websites with topic appropriate content then we will be rewarded by search engines. Forums complaining about the lack of website traffic will disappear and be replaced by recommendations of interesting websites to visit.
(c) 2005, Davis Virtual Assistance. All rights in all media reserved.
Bonnie Jo Davis is a Virtual Assistant and veteran article marketer.