It will take time for your new website to build a visitor (traffic) base. No website gets instant recognition and numbers, even if you submit the site to the Search Engines (see below) and post (add stuff) daily. Expect to take 6 months before you see any substantial visitor numbers coming in (see below).
Why? Because websites are found by visitors organically at the beginning. That means, visitors come across your site in a keyword search or a link from another site. There are ways to increase traffic fairly quickly, but be prepared to do the work.
Here’s how sites and blogs work:
Links – these are so important. They tell the SE’s (search engines) that you are ‘connected’, and that other sites want to join in. But the amount of links on your site are not as important as the quality of the links. Again, the SE’s look for WHO you are linked to. If other quality (content) sites link to you, and you to them, the SE’s will rank you higher. If you have links to useless junk sites, you can actually drop in rank, or be cast aside indefinitely.
Google does not judge a site by technology alone. All those employees Google has – well, they actually visit your site, personally, and take a good look around. They decide if the site is a good one or not. They decide if the links are valuable. Their critique of your site is part of the process of getting ranked higher.
Posts – this is the term for the number of articles you add or changes you do to your site. If you have the time to post every day, your site may get ranked higher as activity is important. Many sites are born and neglected, leaving stagnant information out there. What happens when you do this, is that your visitors will quit coming back. SE’s don’t like this.
Content – the most crucial part of a site. Depending on what type of site you have, content IS everything. If you are a general information site, you had better have great articles that are unique and new. Stealing content and calling it your own will get you taken off the world wide web. Asking permission to use content and linking it back will win Brownie points.
If you are a food processor, you don’t have to have articles (but it helps) but you should have good navigation (how to move through the site) and a tidy, clean appearance. Having articles does have advantages: when visitors use specific keywords, they may have a better chance of coming across your site. If you are not a writer, find articles that are relevant and enhance your site. Contact the article owner and ask permission to add their article and link back to their site (We help clients with these services).
Search Engines – Google, Yahoo, MSN, Explorer – these are all search engines. When you type in your keywords, such as “paint stallion Texas” you come across pages of sites and blogs with those words. Which sites show up depends on several things:
- How well ranked the site is
- How easy it was for the SE to find those keywords – if they show up on the page about 3 times, it may get ranked higher.
- How often that site changes and adds new material
- If you didn’t use the word ‘Texas’ you may get sites that are in your area. SE’s can seek out only those sites that they believe may be of interest to you, and that usually means those sites in your region.
- How long ago the site has been submitted. Once you build your site, you need to let the SE’s know you are out there. You can go to each SE and submit your site to them. Once they have a look around your site, they will rank it and keep an eye on it by ‘spidering’ it once or twice a week (they send out searches to your site, look at all the pages within three layers deep, and bring back the results to use when some other visitor wants to find you). If a site was submitted properly at the start, and it’s a good site, you should be able to find it within 3-5 pages of a search within one month. If you do not submit a site, you will eventually be found but it may take a year or more. Blogs do not get submitted. They are found organically in outside searches.
The difference between Sites and Blogs
There are two major differences between sites and blogs:
- Sites stand alone, meaning they have to attract visitors on their own merits. Blogs however, have a built-in visitor base already established. When you build a blog, you can set it to give back ‘pings’: little reminders to other blog owners that you just added a new post. Let’s say you just created a WordPress.com blog, and you added your first post. Whatever ‘genre’ and words are in that post, those relevant blogs will get a little ‘ping’ notice in their email alerting them to your post, so they will go visit right away. Voila, instant visitors! If you have an interest in horse training blogs, you will get pings back from any post about horse training. If your ‘genre’ is organic food, you will receive pings about organic related articles.
- Blogs are free – for the most part. You can pay a very small fee to create a really great blog – one where you can use your own URL (aprilreeves.com as opposed to aprilreeves.wordpress.com). These paid blogs also give you more room to do cool things, but leave it alone until you are familiar with a basic free blog. Once your knowledge grows, you can move over and learn new tricks. The free blogs give you tons of space (megabytes) to use, so if you can keep your photos small (no more than 100kb each) you can post for years. Once you reach the maximum MB allowed, you have a very small premium to pay. If you go to my Q&A blog, aprilreeveshorsetraining.wordpress.com, you will find several hundred posts with lots of photos (and I have barely scratched the surface), so you will get a good idea of just how much posting and photos you can do.
Other Advantages to Blogs
Free is great, and having a built-in visitor base helps too, but blogs have an added advantage with SE’s. They are ranked high in searches if their content is posted on a steady basis (1-2 a week) and is of reasonable quality. It’s generally easier to add content to a blog than a site for the simple reason that sites can be created by any number of software (takes time to learn), but blogs are just a matter of ‘type and post’. You don’t have to know html (code) at all to get a great looking blog.
You can add all sorts of ‘widgets’ and useful tools to your blog. They are coming out daily with new gadgets and cool stuff to add. Just remember that the more stuff you put on a blog, the cheaper and tackier it gets. Make sure your widgets are relevant and functional.
Blogs are usually for people to post their thoughts and daily activities to, and see if they create a following. Blogs can also be used for selling items and can become a business tool (services).
Blogs also have built-in statistics. You can view your visitor counts daily (blogs don’t count your personal visits) and see where they came from (referrers), what posts they read (today’s posts), what keywords they used to find you (search engine terms) and what links visitors clicked on to leave your blog (clicks). You can get statistics for up to one full year. It’s exciting at first to watch the visitor counts grow. It can grow into an addiction, so be careful.