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To those of you who founded large websites, what stirred the most amount of growth in your site's history? Was it a mention in a local magazine or e-zine? etc. For us, it has just been a constant effort and struggle together with a lot of SEO and making contacts in the industry - not really one thing that lead to an instant burst of traffic.

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Last Post by Serious
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I've seen a doubling of traffic with basic on page and off page SEO. But then my site is hardly are 'large one' :)

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What sort of SEO techniques do you use? Link swaps? Purchase "artificial" PR by buying links on high PR sites?

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I followed SEO-Guy's tutorial as best I could and tried to get as many themed links as possible.

SO this comprised:

Targetting 1-3 keyword/phrases per page
Optimising <Title>
Optimising <h1>,<h2> tags
Using JS links to stop PR leakage to pages I didn't want to get PR
And most importantly, using themed links internally and externally.

This saw me jump into the top 10 for a couple of what I thought were tough keywords. My BL have only gone from 10 to about 40 along the way.

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Driving traffic is hard but if you get quality visitors and if you have a quality website that is consitantly updated with new content then you will have alot more returing visitors/customers. There are many ways to create returing visitors e.g. Newsletters, forums, useful content/ products etc.

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I think good content and SEO both play significant role to attract more viewers as well as retain them longer.

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if you have like every keyword say over 2000, will that help?, or would it be worse.

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It would be much worse. It's a "black hat" seo technique called "keyword stuffing" that the search engines can easily track and penalize you for. Meta tags are very overrated nowadays - they do little, if anything.

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In fact most of the SEO expert consider that MSN and Yahoo tolerate heavier keyword densities per page than search engine leader google. However there is lot of debate on this issue. I hope Meta tags still have some life left in them relatively important factor by SE though.

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My traffic has been driven by a variety of things, including press, word of mouth, google, and other relevant sites linking to me.

Most recently, however, most of my traffic has been a result of newspaper articles about my site. On tuesday, there's going to be an article about me and my site in the health section of the Washington Post (I think its front page cause there is gonna be a color photo of me). Check it out. :)

By the way, I wonder what inpspired you to creat this topic, cscgal. ;-)

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By the way, I wonder what inpspired you to creat this topic, cscgal. ;-)

I thought it would make for good discussion to see all the different elements that contribute to site growth, and perhaps spark some ideas as well.

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We targeted our exact market.

We now sit at the top of Yahoo for "increase traffic"

We have optimized our pages going after exact terms and keeping ourselves as far away from black hat tactics as possible.

With that said you must know what black hat is and how to use it in order to understand why it works.

This will allow you stay within the boundries of TOS and optimizie your pages effectively.

We have used our own product in our quest for #1 on the major search engines for our terms and so far it has been amazing. The results of ourselves for one and more importantly the out pouring of support and praise form our customers who are haivng the same success.

Our plan of attack was simple. Relative inbound links, I cannot stress this enough that Google does not like a Site selling Socks to be linked to a site selling Car tires... and it will hurt your popularity overall.

We optimized tags proeprly and basically wrote our own articles as we went along as to what is working and what is not.

We kept everyone in the loop and are now a very successful Software Development company serving the world for its SEO needs.

Extremely happy with our perfomance. We are also looking to get rid of our Hosting divison because of such success along the dev divison.

Sorry for the long drawn out reply.

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Add some motivation factors for your visitors as to make them feel that they are touching your product or service when they visit your site.

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Can you please explain what you mean when you say "touching your product"? Do you mean that they feel like they are so close they just HAVE to have it? Or perhaps that they're making a difference? I'm confused.

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Can you please explain what you mean when you say "touching your product"? Do you mean that they feel like they are so close they just HAVE to have it? Or perhaps that they're making a difference? I'm confused.

cscgal, you are absolutely right! ;) Touching your product means they should feel they are so close to it and to have it without making delay. Perhaps daniweb is like that :cheesy:

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Oh goodie! I was right about something today :)

Every person is complete, perfect and whole, just few things are missing with us. :)

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To those of you who founded large websites, what stirred the most amount of growth in your site's history?

My site is smaller than yours. I run a forum site with only about 2000 members. I also have a couple technology sites. Here are the things that caused a rise in traffic:

  • PR Web press release -- steady upturn in traffic
  • Posting comments to blogs -- small to huge spike in traffic (I was surprised to see OS News give me a big spike, I didn't really think that site had big traffic)
  • Posting comments in forums like this one -- steady influx of new visitors (I get maybe 1 to 5 visitors/day from each site I post to, and I post to maybe 10 sites... and they keep coming even after a two-week lull in posting)
  • Doing bloggy stuff (RSS, posting in Blogger Forums) -- small spikes in traffic
  • Google Adwords -- BANG! Steady, reliable traffic, in high volume if I want it.
  • SEO -- I wish this would result in as much traffic as Adwords does. It's clearly cheaper.

Regarding SEO, I found that I got much better rankings and more prevasive listings after I put my "magazine dossier" online. That is, one of my sites has a page of info for each magazine in its database, and there are over 1000 magazines listed. Those listings were private. I made them visible to Google, and Google liked that.

I imagine it's equivalent to making many articles available for Google to index.

However, to be honest, it hasn't resulted in a huge spike in traffic. In fact, if I were to stop my Adwords ads, I'd probably have a fifth of the traffic I do now. But I still don't do SEO very well. I'm learning.

Also, link exchanges haven't done squat for me. I'm probably going to try a custom one soon.

-Tony

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Those are good points, but most of people are already doing that, I am in need of some tips that make a site clickable and to increase overall the conversion rate.

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My website has no content, no forum and no product...
but that is part of the challenge.
BTW most of the traffic comes from fora and a bit from blogs. I should also mention top lists and a bit of advertising. I could jump to 500 UV if I was willing to spend more than $5 a day.

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Those are good points, but most of people are already doing that, I am in need of some tips that make a site clickable and to increase overall the conversion rate.

I wrote a few posts a while ago that outlined things I was doing to keep members & get better conversions. Here's a recap:

  1. Remove barriers to entry. When I put my site up for review on a few Webmaster forums, one thing I heard was that my registration form was too long. I found a mod called Simple Registration, which shortened my phpBB registration form down to only 3 or 4 required fields.
  2. Provide services. Forums alone usually don't draw in a lot of people. But if you target a niche and provide relevant tools, some of the people using the tools will spill over into the forums. And some tools will draw back people who left the forums. Daniweb obviously does a good job of this.
  3. Replace fees and subscriptions with Adsense and Paypal donations. Of course, you need to be sure that your revenue is covered by the switch. For me, it was a financially positive result. No one was subscribing, so the community was stagnating, so no one was subscribing, and so on. Free access not only increased participation, but subscriptions too (subscription fees are now just voluntary Paypal donations, but about 1% of my membership does this, which is better than the 0% I had before).
  4. Remove confusing areas. Some traffic reporting tools can help by showing you the top exit pages. I did more. I installed Email on Errors (for phpBB) and I tweaked it so that I would get email whenever ANY message was displayed to the user, not just errors. What I found was that certain messages were displaying over and over for some users. I started to step through the process, and realized that phpBB has some unhelpful status messages, and/or refreshes the page before you can read them! So potential members were getting stuck. I then created a Usability Tweaks mod to improve the situation.
  5. Provide a clear overview of benefits. People are hesitant to sign up even for free stuff. They worry that you'll spam them or that the service isn't everything they hoped. On Publisher Database I created 3 colored boxes that link visitors to overviews of the 3 major features. I keep the text short, and provide big thumbnails that link to big screenshots. I also created a privacy policy. Now that it's there, I'm not sure how much that helps, but people did mention it when I asked why they weren't signing up.
  6. More targetted ads. If you want better conversions, get better visitors. When I started doing Adwords on Google, I created one all-encompassing ad, and about 40 general keywords. It worked, but my clickthroughs were low, and visitors were only partially interested. Now I have about 20 ad groups, each with very specific ads, and incredibly specific keyphrases. Most ads only get 20 to 100 views a week, but they have 50% clickthroughs. And when people get to the site, they are there because it's very, very close to what they were looking for.

Before I did those things, my membership was increasing at a snail's pace -- maybe 2% of visitors converted to members. Now it's 15% to 40%, depending upon the day. Here are a couple other ideas for getting members/participation up (although they don't really improve conversions, they're sorta outside of that box).

  1. Refresh the call. In Sales, that means you don't leave the customer hanging on the phone. Every few minutes, you give them a status update. How do you do this on the Web? Use email. At a basic level, get the forum option, "notify me of replies" enabled by default. For phpBB, I wrote the Change Subscription Default mod to do exactly that. But you can do more. Create a newsletter or come up with something that you can send to members 3 or 4 times a year, to keep them connected to the community.
  2. Viral marketing. Do you have the "email a friend" feature enabled on forum topics? Let word of mouth work in your favor.

OK. I'm out of ideas.

-T

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Well, In fact my point is about the motivational factors that intend a visitor to click.

This is just statistics. The website receive many visitors every day, some won't be interested to click (from the stats, it seems 40% quit the site immediately), some will quickly look at the icons and select one or two, and some visitors will also explore the other pages.
With an icon and a text, visitors have a good idea about the website they're going to visit. If you're a webmaster, you may be interested by website templates or hosting, if you like music, you may visit the music websites, etc. According to the stats, those who don't quit immediately will click once or twice.
On << url snipped >> you can see all the clicks (I track them). With an appropriate icon and text, you can get new visitors, regulary.
The website has been running for two months and I have enough feedback to warranty 10,000 visitors for each icon (so a CPC of $0.01).

Regards, S.

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I contacted two relatively large sites that were shutting down their forums and asked if they would refer their members to my site. And they did. :)

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This is just statistics. The website receive many visitors every day, some won't be interested to click (from the stats, it seems 40% quit the site immediately), some will quickly look at the icons and select one or two, and some visitors will also explore the other pages.
With an icon and a text, visitors have a good idea about the website they're going to visit. If you're a webmaster, you may be interested by website templates or hosting, if you like music, you may visit the music websites, etc. According to the stats, those who don't quit immediately will click once or twice.
On << url snipped >> you can see all the clicks (I track them). With an appropriate icon and text, you can get new visitors, regulary.
The website has been running for two months and I have enough feedback to warranty 10,000 visitors for each icon (so a CPC of $0.01).

Regards, S.

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Well, I think high ranking in search engines is not only important for getting new visitors but also important for retaining visitors as most of the them are using bookmarks your site as well. ;)

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Well, I think high ranking in search engines is not only important for getting new visitors but also important for retaining visitors as most of the them are using bookmarks your site as well. ;)

I don't understand. High ranking is important because it will display your website in the first results of a search. So people will tend to click on it. But once it is bookmarked, the rank has no influence (AFAIK - and strangely, no bookmark, being local or networked, is using ranks to order).
PS: I'm trying to developp a social online bookmark site, I will probably introduce some kind of ranking in the future. Right now, the rank is based on rating done by the users.
No, I can not give you a link to this site, it would be snipped ;)

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