Thousands joined the Internet Gold Rush with the "build it and they will come" attitude. After a few months however, reality kicks in. The counter reads 112 and the bustling web city that was to be has become nothing more than a poster page lost in cyberspace. Is this your story? Well, at one time it was mine. I've been there before, and I know that... the silence is DEAFENING!
In the good ol' days, men with zeal could move mountains with their rhetoric. "Friends, Romans, countrymen... check out my website." Too bad getting attention on the net isn't that easy. On the net, webmasters of great talent can go for months before achieving any degree of success. But there is hope, and plenty of it. Here are some high yield tips for getting noticed on the net. By the way, if you are one of the lucky ones who get Googled five thousand times a day, this article isn't for you. You have my eternal respect and envy. For the rest of us, here goes:
1) Trade links. If your website is a world onto itself, your chances of success are minimal. Find sites like yours and send a polite link trade request. Sites that are not similar to yours may send you tons of visits, but those visits are unlikely to be productive. Be prepared to provide your traffic statistics, and of course, be prepared for rejection.
2) Post to message boards. Find about 3-5 message boards to visit and post to regularly. The best ones are those that allow you to post your link and web site images. I've been surprised when I analyze my server logs and find a great deal of visits from these boards. Also, the networking effect is invaluable. Word of advice: don't post blatant promotions.
3) Publish. I've said it before, and I'll say again: pixel-per-pixel, publishing is by far the most cost-effective promotion avenue out there. Make a list of editor's email addresses who accept guest articles and publish at least once a month. A free, easy way to 1000s of visits a month, and a great way to gain notoriety.
4) Banner and button exchange. Exchanging banner ads with like-minded sites has been somewhat effective at producing cross traffic. The banner alternative is here. Buttons take up less space (88x31), allow greater flexibility in placement, and are often more attractive. The biggest surprise: I've noticed an amazing 3% click-thru ratio with some buttons.
5) Develop an award program. Design a nice award, submit it to sites like Focus Associates Award Sites and watch the traffic roll in. Don't get trigger-happy, otherwise your award will lose respect fast. The magic in award-giving is not so much getting linked to excellent sites on the web (although that doesn't hurt either), but rather networking with the talented webmasters among your award applicants.
6) Contests. Give away something of value in return for a link or a subscription. A free promotion giveaway to 1500 sites has earned me dozens of links on front pages across the net and also keeps my subscription list growing.
Only one thing is certain about succeeding on the net: it takes time. These tips will help, but a good deal of patience and hard work are required. Now go out there swinging and make some noise. Get noticed on the net.
Fawad Ahmed was webmaster of Goldvisions Online Success Community.