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5 Ways to Get Content and Bring Traffic to Your Website

Friday, August 27th, 2010

You know the old adage that applies to real estate: location, location, location? Well, when it comes to websites the money-making rule is: content, content, content.

Content is, in this context, simply information presented on a website. Blog posts, static articles, graphics, photo galleries, usable forms and so on all fall under the umbrella of “content.” You want a lot of it, you want it to be good, and you want it to be unique to your site.

The reason you need original content, when it comes to search engine traffic, is because Google’s robots ding and down-rank sites with “duplicate content” – articles or other material that is the same as something else already on the web. It’s a penalty that will set you back in the ranking algorithm. The good news is, it’s easy to avoid. You wouldn’t want to offer your site’s visitors redundant, useless content anyway. Additionally, be sure to avoid placing the same content (even your own) on more than one page or location on your site. Even though your intent is not malicious, your site will still be penalized, unless you devise a Google-approved workaround such as specifying canonical links or setting a preferred domain.

So, where are you going to get this great content? It won’t write itself. But with a little investment of time or money, you can create or commission content that will both add to your site’s usability and increase traffic.

1. Look at what you have. You may already have content available without even realizing its potential value in terms of web development. Check your personal or company “archives.” Maybe you wrote a how-to book back in the early ’90s. Or you might find some brochures, worksheets or guidebooks that you never got around to putting online. Just because you’ve found content that can be recycled doesn’t mean it’s outdated. As long as it’s relevant, you’re being resourceful – and attracting site visitors — by putting it online.

2. Hire a writer. If you don’t have the time, confidence or desire to write your own content, or “copy,” seek out a professional writer to do it for you. Sites such as Elance let you post a description of the project you need done and then freelance or moonlighting copywriters, journalists and other experienced wordsmiths “bid” on the job. (This is also a great way to find graphic designers.) Most writers are willing to “ghostwrite” under your name, write blog posts on an ongoing basis and so on. Be sure to communicate your needs well for the best results right out of the gate. If you need photos, videos or graphics, also check out iStock or another stock photo agency. Your web design company or programmer could also recommend someone. Keep in mind that hiring a local writer or photographer can be more affordable than you’d expect.

3. Crowdsourcing. With the advent of social media and the interactive nature of the Internet, there are plenty of people who are willing and eager to contribute to online projects in exchange for products, as part of a contest or just for fun. Testimonials, reader-submitted photos and guest blog posts by someone in a field that complements yours are all potential sources of free content. In the case of a guest writer, it’s a win-win because they’re getting exposure and a link just by appearing on your blog. You could also, with attribution to the author, post articles you find offered for free or by paying a syndication fee to services such as Associated Content and Ezine Articles, but of course they won’t be unique to your site.

4. Public domain. There are many thousands of books and other materials that have fallen into the public domain and can be republished online for free by virtually anyone. The trouble is, the online offerings are pretty picked over and you don’t want to put up the same old stuff everyone else has. You might want to try doing a little legwork at a library, used bookstore or even an antique store. In many cases, if the copyright is old enough, it’s fair game. Otherwise, see if you can track down the author or publisher and buy the right to license the material – or even work out a revenue-sharing deal.

5. Write it yourself. I know; you don’t have time. Who does? But, especially if you’re just starting out with a blog or online presence, it’s an affordable way to get started while shaping the tone and feel of your site or blog. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of writing experience. Just picture your target audience and write how you speak. Be conversational, descriptive and helpful. Keep your keywords in mind, but you’ll usually find that they flow naturally as you write. If you’re worried about grammar or readability, you can always hire an editor or proofreader, or ask a friend or colleague, to give your copy a once-over.

Presenting quality content is well worth the investment of your time and money. It should pay off exponentially as more content means more keywords, more pages for search engines to point to, more happy visitors and, ultimately, more revenue for your business!

Posted by: Sitehatchery.com – a Chico web development company providing web design and development services nationwide.

2 Responses to “5 Ways to Get Content and Bring Traffic to Your Website”

  1. Tamera Leighton Says:

    I’d like more guidance on how social media such as Facebook can enhance website traffic and business. In relation to THE campground, how should a Facebook page interact with the website and how much time can one justify on social media for business purposes. I’d like some guidance.

  2. admin Says:

    Many business rave about the positive impact Facebook has had on their business, while others haven’t notice a huge effect. Honestly, sometimes it depends on your audience and how inclined they are toward social media. Facebook is free, but your time is not. You might want to start by “dipping your toe in the water” for 10 or 15 minutes a day and see if it pays off in comments and traffic. It will take awhile to get Friends, but if it takes off, it does so exponentially as Friends see their Friends Liking your page, and so on. Posting three or four times a week to start is just fine. I’d suggest alternating “fun” posts (i.e.: “gorgeous sunset this morning”) with more overtly promotional posts (“Only two campsites left for Labor Day weekend. Better book now!”)

    You could eventually decide to install a Facebook button on your Website so people can easily click to see your page and Friend (or Like) you. And on your Facebook profile, be sure to include your business URL in the Info section as well as the main sidebar on the left. (Bonus: This forms a high-quality backlink to your site, which is great for SEO.)

    Here are some ways a Facebook presence can lead to traffic and dollars:

    — People can “endorse” you by Sharing (a FB function) something you have posted. For example, if you post a “just for fun” picture of a campfire singalong, or the sun setting over the campground, and someone “Shares” it on their FB Wall, you’ve just gotten free advertising to all that person’s Friends — possibly hundreds of potential guests.

    — You can use Facebook as a “research and development” tool, essentially crowdsourcing new business or expansion ideas. It’s like a free focus group! For example, ask if you think people would like some new amenity or activity, such as free hot cocoa, or a nightly group singalong, or a premium service for an added fee. You can gauge interest before investing much time or money in a new idea.

    — FB is a great place to start a conversation. If your campground is on a body of water, ask Friends for their best tips on catching fish, or boating, and so on. People may disagree, which can make for a fun, lively conversation right there on your Facebook Wall. All the while, they are picturing themselves at your campground.

    — Use compelling FB posts to draw people to your blog or website. Mention a feature of your campground or its environs, add a link to your blog post or main site, and they may click through for more info.

    People can tell if a business’ Facebook presence seems “forced” as opposed to enjoyable and interactive. Be authentic, have fun, and test the waters to see if this form of social media is something that will pay off for your business.

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