If you build it, it does not mean that they will come!
For everybody who has a website, the goal is to get visitors coming into that website. Those visitors are known as traffic. This is the first of a series of posts all about fundamentals of how to increase website traffic. Methods and tactics that can be used to get that traffic started, and once started, how to increase traffic to your website as time goes on.
Today we will be looking at the foundation of the website. When you built your website, you either took your time and poured your heart and soul into it, or else threw it up in a hurry. Of course its also possible that you purchased the website from somebody else, or hired an outside body to build it for you based on your instructions.
Whichever way it happened, you are left with a website that you think is ready, just like a new store about to open its doors for the first time. At this point many website owners are already thinking of how to increase website traffic, but have you examined the website properly? There are a number of things that you must check, so lets get started.
The overall appearance: Your website might look beautiful in your eyes, but how about from the eyes of other people? Have you asked any? You should. Always try to get some extra opinions from other people. They will tell you what they think of the style, the use of colours, the placement of objects, the overall appearance. Maybe that purple colour that you love so much is considered an eyesore to others. Be careful though, try not to ask just everyone, it is better if you can get opinions from other professionals in the internet world, as they will have more valid observations based on personal experience. A nice appearance always helps to increase website traffic.
The purpose of your website: From the point of view of a visitor to your site, is it clear what your website is trying to achieve? Is it consistent? For example, a visitor to this website might see an article about YouTube videos, and next an article about a plug-in called Akismet. Its very possible that the visitor could get confused and wonder what the website is all about. So we must ensure that the purpose of the website is made clear from several locations, such as the title of the website, the content of the homepage, the content of the About page, and any other relevant places. All these need to be consistent, so that the visitor has a clear idea of what is going on. If you have not checked all this already, the time to do it is now.
Navigation: Your visitors must have an easy way of looking around your website, without getting lost. A clear menu or navigation system must be in place, and must be easy to reach. Some websites are designed in a very clumsy manner where sometimes its not easy to find the way back to the homepage. This will drive away your visitors very fast. Remember that our goal is always to increase website traffic, not drive them away. Also ensure that there are no broken links in your website, i.e. if you have links that lead away to other different websites, makes sure that all these links are checked, and checked regularly. This is something that both visitors and Google hate.
Loading time: If your website is slow to load, that can be another cause of driving away your visitors. If this is the case, try to pinpoint the reason, and rectify it. Sometimes this can be caused by faulty plug-ins, sometimes by having too many images that are far too large, and various other reasons. If you cannot isolate the reason yourself, look for some help from a web designer or other professional. Most people just will not wait around for a slow site any more.
Multiple browsers: Make sure that you view your website from as many of the different internet browsers as possible. Each browser handles the display of web-pages slightly differently, and your website might look great in one browser, but completely garbled in another. Do your best to check against all the main browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, and any others that you can. Just because you yourself are in love with Opera does not mean that everyone else is, so you can often increase website traffic very efficiently with this single step.
Every one of the points mentioned above are tasks that must be checked before your website goes live to the public.
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