How can I get more visitors to my site?
Here are a bunch of ideas, based on my experience with my site, which as of Feb. 20, 2008 is about six weeks old. See it at http://scratchinpost.synthasite.com/ to get the best understanding of my ideas.
1. Most important: Get Google Analytics so you can track your site's traffic development. I check my results first thing every day, and alter emphasis on my promotion strategies based on what I see.
2. Like goes with like. My site is built around a comic strip that features the rare Russian Blue cat among the characters. I wrote to some Russian Blue fancier sites and mentioned the strip. One wrote back immediately and requested a banner ad linking to my strip that he could put on the home page of his site.
3. Like goes with like, part II. I tracked down blogs based on comics and themes raised in my comic. For example, comics featuring all animals are called "furry" comics. Obviously, I want to locate blogs on Russian blue cats, furry comics, cartoon animals, etc. Now, the ultimate would be to get written up by these blogs, but I have to pace myself because we only have two and a half stories posted so far. I start by finding things to comment on in the blogs. I only comment sincerely. If I cannot think of something meaningful to say, I come back another day. When I comment, I always sign my name and include the link to my site.
4. My site is tightly wired to my blog. I can't say to start a blog if you are not eager to blog, but I achieve a lot of cross traffic from blog to site and back. I write about comics and art in my blog, and when I write about someone else's site or blog, a share of them make the gesture of adding me to their blog links list, or even writing about my site. When I write about someone, I always take care to check my facts and keep know-it-all comments to a minimum. Then I invite them to view my post and mention I will adjust any errors.
5. There are over fifty mega-sites dedicated to hosting comics, referring people to comics or discussing comics on the web. I sought out to find them all. No one had a list with more than eight. Eventually I realized I have the most complete list on the web, so I incorporated it into my site and I promote it. I generally avoid hype, but to capture the likeliest search engine entries I call it "The Web's Biggest Web Comics Link, Host and Portal List." Now anyone seeking comics mega-sites to promote their comic is possibly going to find my list and bump into my comic. If they like my comic, they may link to me. I can't say that many sites will come up with a search target they can fold in to draw traffic, but you should be alert to any possibility.
6. I want to know who is on top. I do searches of top ten, top fifty and top 100 lists to see what comics are popular. My finding is that there is only one furry comic on the usual top ten, and it is not "cute" -- the characters look and act like cynical people with bear heads. I find I don't really like most of the top comics, though I find things to respect about most. I also find comics with sexy girls are popular -- something my strip doesn't have. I can interpret these findings a meaning my comic doesn't fit in and won't rise to the top, or that there is ample room for my comic at the top since it doesn't compete in style with other top comics. As it happens, I have fairly deep credentials as a comic critic and historian, and I believe the weaknesses I perceive among most of the top titles are evidence that I can break in -- IF my comic is good. But it won't break in by itself, it has to join the club. As with blogs, I write to authors of comics I admire and encourage their work. The top authors are buried with email and tend not to answer, so I home in on the comics I truly like regardless of their stature. Some of those comics authors are going to be hooked in with the top authors. You can see where I am going: it is called networking. When you do it, I recommend you focus on speaking to colleagues whose work you admire, offer comments that show you have studied and read their work, and don't shove the idea of trading links down their throats on first contact. Remember: it's no good to fake enthusiasm. You'll get a poor reputation.
7. The first thing you see when you visit my comic site http://scratchinpost.synthasite.com/ is the comic. If you scroll down, you will see I am building a high quality links library that will make my site a resource destination. Resource visitors will come away with some comic awareness.
8. Jazzing Google Analytics can help. After you are familiar with it, consider the "goals" section. This is especially important if you have an e-commerce site. An example of a goal might be someone who has a three page catalog of items for sale, a checkout page and a payment page. The goal would be defined as visiting all these pages in order, and leaving with a purchase. For me, the goal is to produce comics that people will read from beginning to end. I want to develop an internet following towards the day when my comics becomes a book or TV show. A goal I set on Google Analytics (GA) is to have visitors read one of my stories from beginning to end. Each time a visitor doe this, GA reports another goal completion. A goal can be a simple as reading what you regard as the three most important pages on the site. My goal is to see that people don't skip around and ignore the comic. If they do, either my other features are out-competing the comic, the comic is not of interest to the visitors I am drawing, or the comic is poor.
9. Earlier I mentioned comics mega-sites. I approached a small one as an experiment and was accepted. Right away I saw on my GA that they were a top referring site to me. I got another story posted on my site and approached several of the bigger sites, which all accepted me. I expected them to boost traffic even more. It turns out the little site is the most productive, probably because of less competition. But, I do need more time to see how the big ones develop.
10. I mentioned my blog. I didn't link it earlier because I didn't want to send you racing to multiple sites only to have the phone ring and you lose the thread. But you should look it over to see how it relates to my site and understand how it works to build traffic. My wife is the artist on our strip, and she has a blog too. She has less times to make entries, but it also drives traffic to us. The fact that there is a pretty picture of her may make up for our lack of sexy girl characters! Here are the links to both:
Feel free to practice commenting by saying something about a post on my blog. You can say you read this or not. I'll enjoy hearing from you regardless.
11. A more philosophical point. The internet has a large population of people who are suffering from loneliness. If you can develop a sense of community around your site, and always be welcoming without being insipid, that will draw people. Just be careful not to draw people who are lonely because they are flaming jerks.
12. Banner ad trades. This is another form of link trades, except the links are illustrated banners. I just made my very first banner yesterday (see it here, bottom center of screen: http://www.russianblue.org/ ) and it's not very good. It practically disappears into the background colors, and it lacks animation. Plus, I rushed it, so the artistic quality is inferior. I tried using the "make your own banner" sites but didn't like the formulaic results and site's name on my banner. So I went to Yahoo answers and did Googling until I understood how to do it. (Knowing Photoshop was a key part of it.)
13. Looking ahead, I see myself doing outreach to Labrador dog fanciers, since we have one of them prominent in the strip, and French Poodle folks. I'll get on more comics mega-sites and promote my blog so people will develop an interest in me and by extension the comic. I may explore the world of forums. Meanwhile, I will make sure I do at least one traffic-building thing every day because I know this is a long-term project and the more I do now, the more it will pay off in the future.
I'll be back to post new ideas as I learn. Good luck with your site, and you couldn't ask for a better support staff than Synthasite offers.
Taken from: http://getsatisfaction.com/