Not So Obvious Ways to Get People to Your Web Site


You know all of the standard things you can do to get people to visit your site. The standard advice is to get listed on Yahoo (good luck - I've been trying for 6 months and I know people who have been trying for years!), add your site to the top search engines and start up a link exchange program. But there are many more, not so obvious ways to get people to take a look at what you've done.

One obvious but often overlooked thing to do is simply to ask people to visit your site. Tell your friends, family and co-workers to stop by.

Signing guestbooks can generate a lot of traffic. Be sure you are not just posting an advertisement (that's tacky). Look at the person's site then give him a few nice comments. Finish up by inviting him to your site! I've found 9 times out of 10 the person will visit and may even leave a guestbook entry of his own.

Another thing to do is post to message boards. Be careful not to SPAM - just post honest comments and such. Most message boards allow you to "register" and create a profile with a home page. I've found that this is more than enough, along with some postings, to get people to my site. It seems that if people like what I have to say they take the time to find out who I am by looking at my profile.

Of course you should always have a newsletter of some kind. This is important to get people back to your site.

Running an awards program can be very fruitful. I believe awards programs are extremely useful as a peer review of web sites, and they also are powerful traffic generators. While reviewing sites that request awards you can also leave guestbook entries, which may lead to further traffic. Be sure to invite each person who signs up for an award to join your newsletter (don't add them automatically).

Getting listed on the thousands of smaller search engines can also generate some traffic. People do use these occasionally. Be sure not to overlook the specialty directories, business listings and so forth. All of these are used by people when they need something more specific than the major search engines can easily provide.

Writing short articles for other websites can also be very fruitful. One way to do this is to leave a guestbook entry for a webmaster asking if he's interested in an article.

Newsgroup posting with an appropriate signature line can be very fruitful also. However, strong caution here: I've heard rumors that some newsgroups are filtering for pay-to-surf and MLM programs and sending spam reports automatically if found. My humble opinion is it's fine to include your own site address in your signature, but it's really tacky to include advertising of any kind. Put that on your web site where it belongs and don't clutter up the newsgroups.

Speaking of signatures, all of your emails should also end with the address of your web site. I would include the same caution here: don't include advertising of any kind. The way I look at this is simple. I don't end off a personal letter to a friend with an ad, so why would I end a newsgroup posting or an email message with one?

Some things I've found that definitely don't work well: banner exchange programs (pitiful return here), paid banner programs (almost totally useless waste of money) and FFA pages (worthless, in my humble opinion).

And a few dangerous things to do: SPAM of any sort and using "tricks" on your web pages to fool search engines into giving you a higher ranking. These may have a short-term payoff, but I've seen many ISP's canceling accounts lately, and quite a few people have lost their pay-to-surf money by a few minutes of carelessly sent out emails.

Written by