Web traffic through quality links

I’ve recently started a new web development blog and have been pleasantly surprised at the high levels of traffic (relative to anything I’ve done before) it’s receiving after such a short space of time. I’ll share with you how I’ve achieved this.

My traffic building strategy was to target a few carefully chosen high quality links. My plan was to try to create a small number of links to my site, quality not quatity, coming from web pages highly ranked by Google and with a subject matching the page on my site. I also decided to use deep linking rather than just point everything at my home page.

The subject of my blog is web development resources and, in particular, ASP.NET web development. (Two links in that last sentence, sorry, can’t help myself.)

When I blogged about a particular solution I then went in search (Google) of people with technical issues looking for my solution. All I then did was create a forum account and post a reply linking out to my blog post. Highly relevant. I’d respond to forum posts that had been dead for 2 years. Doesn’t matter. I’m still getting a link to my site which is good for me and the solution is posted on that forum for anyone who searches in the future.

The key point is that in this scenario is that the inbound links I have created are actually useful to the linking site’s audience. Everybody wins. It’s in no way trying to cheat the system. This is the right way to generate your inbound links.

My website is 5 today!

Happy 5th Birthday!My website, www.chris-smith-web.com, is 5 years old today.

I registered the domain name and started building the site on 15th June 2004. This has made me all nostalgic so I thought I’d take a quick look back over the last 5 years and how the site and business has changed in that time.

I registered the domain with a company called 123-reg whom I still use to this day. They provide good value domain registration with a nice simple control panel. I also hosted my first site with them though now I have moved on, mainly due to the more advanced technologies I now use.

website in 20042004

My first design was fairly basic but, looking back on it now, I still like its simplicity and clarity.

Although it was a new site it managed to bring in some good enquiries and before long I was off and running.

I can still remember my first enquiry and the first website I built for a client very clearly.

website in 20062006

As the “cheap web design” market got more and more competitive I needed to redesign the site to try to improve its search engine rankings. I tried using an individual web page for each individual service I could offer.

With hindsight, I think what I gained in web traffic I lost in conversions as this design failed to impress web development seekers.

website in 20072007

Another year on the web was changing and Web 2.0 technologies were becoming more common. I decided I needed a different design with a fresher, more vibrant feel. This design change saw a marked improvement in my enquiry levels.

I also started using server side technology to create more interactivity.

Today

My site now uses a blogging model and has articles as its centre rather than just the static pages about my services. This model is strong on the search engine side and my visitor numbers are higher than ever. It also means I get to write about the things that I’m passionate about – web development and online marketing.

The Future

I’m just in the process of launching a new site focused on Online Marketing. Please take a look at Chris Smith Marketing, www.chrissmithmarketing.com.

Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket

GoogleWorking on your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) is all well and good but it’s a dangerous strategy to use this one source of web traffic in isolation. I’ve found this out the hard way.

Yes, there’s no disputing that appearing at the top of the Google search results for the right phrases will bring in visitors but using this as your sole strategy could be very risky. You shouldn’t be too dependent on Google as things can change very quickly.

I’ve experienced it myself a number of times. I’ve had my site sitting pretty in the top 5 results only for it to suddenty plummet down to the fourth page or lower or vanish from the search results altogether.

Google ranks web pages and other documents by following an algorithm, a complex formula. As they continually try to improve their search technology they tweak this algorithm from time to time. Depending on the change this can have quite dramatic effects on ranking. Through no fault of your own you can suddenly lose your foothold on a particular phrase or market.

Google indexes websites by periodically visiting them with it’s search robot, Googlebot. The frequency of these visits depends on the frequency of your site updates. If you’re unlucky enough for your website to be down at the time when Googlebot visits you’ll drop out of the index and have to wait until it drops by again before reappearing.

The other big factor is competition. In competitive markets your competitors will be working tirelessly to try to grab the top spot. Changes they make to their sites or search engine marketing activity can easily leave you playing catch up.

I’m not suggesting for a second that you should stop pushing for a high ranking on Google but you should be doing other things too so that should anything change your site doesn’t grind to a halt.