Traffic Tips

Keep Visitors on Your Website

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When I’m researching a topic to either write about or implement a technique on one of my own sites, I usually end up visiting a couple dozen different blogs at a minimum. During this time I get to experience each site as a reader, except that I have this heightened sense of awareness about what the author is trying to accomplish. I suspect its similar to how a screenwriter watches a movie and how he can detect certain subtleties that most regular movie-goers completely miss.

During each blog visit I get to see and read about what these webmasters are doing to obtain traffic and keep readers on their site or coming back for more. I find a lot of great information, but there’s also certain tactics that bother me as a reader, so I could never implement them on my own even if they worked.

Even though there is probably evidence that some/most/all of these tactics work, does it make sense to use these techniques if as a reader you find them repelling? Is the definition of being a successful blog owner mean doing whatever it takes to get people on your site to make more money? Believe me, I would love to make enough blog money to hang up the nine to five, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of what I consider ethical either.

Here’s a list of things I find rather bothersome when I’m visiting other sites.

  • In-text Advertising – In-text advertisements are those double underlined words you see in text that pop up an image ad when you hover over the link. If you’re like me and always have your hand on the mouse while you’re reading, you’ve probably hovered over these annoyances countless times. If I see this kind of advertisement on a site, I immediately hit the back button. You might have the most interesting and helpful information in the world, but I’m never going to read it. All I will be to you is a bounce rate statistic.
  • Interstitial Advertising – Interstitial ads are usually those big full screen pages that some websites will have you visit before you get to the actual content you requested. When pop ups became the equivalent of spam (find me a browser that does not include a pop up blocker), interstitial ads took its place to bypass the pop up blocker. Surprisingly this invasive ad type is still used by some of the bigger companies. In my search for ethical website traffic generation, I came across a Forbes article that uses this approach. Luckily in most forms, there is a “Continue to Site” or “Skip Ad” button that allows you to bypass it immediately.
  • Forced Sharing for Content – I’m starting to see this talked about and implemented more and more, but I find it a bit offensive. Here’s how it works. You click a link in your search engine results expecting to view specific content, but when you arrive at the site it says you have to like us on Facebook or tweet us on Twitter to get to the content. I’m sorry, but that’s just shady. You wouldn’t put up with that in the real world, and you shouldn’t online either. Can you imagine your local library saying you have to send out a tweet before you can take that book out?
  • No Control Video Ads – I’m finding more and more news story headlines end up linking to videos when I’m expecting (hoping for) text. Videos are fine sometimes, but I still prefer to read new articles once in awhile. The problem with video is the forced ads at the beginning. If there is not a skip option within a few seconds, I hit the back button. Some sites also have smaller videos that will start to play automatically after a certain amount of time that drive me crazy. (Are you listening Weather Channel?)
  • Pop up Newsletter Subscription Box – This is one I’m sure people will disagree with because I’ve read how subscription rates can rise when using this method. This is probably the only one on the list I could be persuaded to try at some point, but for now I’m just not too fond of it because from a readers point of view, I find it’s a minor annoyance. I don’t think I’ve ever signed up for someones newsletter from that initial site popup. It wouldn’t dissuade me from signing up if I was interested in what this person had to say, but I think it’s just second nature for me to close pop ups without paying close attention to them.

Remember, this list is only my opinion based on how I feel as a reader. There’s plenty of extremely profitable sites out there using these techniques with great success, so it’s simply a matter of being comfortable (or not) using these methods. I’d just rather keep my site as user friendly as possible, and there’s no better judge of that than using your own moral compass for guidance.

While I’m on the topic of what users find intrusive or annoying, there’s something I noticed about the Bidvertiser ads on my site that I’m really not happy about. They run a number of image ads that make it appear that you’re missing a plugin. I think these types of ads are cheesy and deceptive and if there’s a way I can block them from displaying, I think I will. Not only is it misleading to visitors, but it also gives the appearance that there might be something wrong with my website with those animated constantly spinning wheels looking like they’re trying to load.

Bidvertiser Ads

Since the point of this article was to express my feelings about invasive actions I don’t want to participate in, I guess these ads might not apply, but the “false illusion of broken” still bothers me. It reminds me of those links you click that looks like its scanning your computer and its found malicious programs, and when you close it, you are redirected to a site selling malware or antivirus protection.

So, do you think it’s more important to use the techniques that work regardless of how they might be perceived, or do you think it’s important to consider what adverse effects they could possibly have? Even spam and pop up advertising can work, but is it worth it long term? Probably not. Do you remember the X10 pop up blitz years ago? That worked incredibly well from a branding perspective, but there was also the negative backlash it caused by the intrusive nature of the ads delivery method.

Maybe successful websites are like successful politicians. You don’t get that close to the top without pissing off a lot of people or making a boat load of enemies along the way. You think?

Alexa Rank and Blog Money

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Your Alexa rank isn’t really an ideal traffic metric to use if you’re looking for pinpoint accuracy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a useful motivator. I log into most of my sites daily so I’m always checking my browsers Alexa ranking plugin for each of my websites. Sure, my recorded visits probably skew the results slightly, but not too much. I have sites with Alexa rankings in the millions that I visit daily and others with much better/lower numbers too, so it’s all relative if you ask me.

I use it as an incentive to keep myself posting regularly. Something about watching that number creep down over and over makes me want to keep at it. While it might not be the best ranking method, I believe it does have some worth. Have you ever noticed the popular make money bloggers claiming to be making a living usually rank somewhere between (roughly) 5,000 and 20,000 in Alexa? I’m sure that range doesn’t guarantee you a dime, especially if you’re banking on the randomness of ad clicks or affiliate sales, but there must be a very broad correlation between attaining a certain Alexa score and earning some decent revenue.

I started searching for blog sites (regardless of site topic) that share income data or publish monthly revenue reports to see if there was any link to an Alexa range and making decent revenue. I realize there are so many different variables that could warp such a fun study, but I wanted to find that coveted Alexa range linked to ample income. Is there an Alexa number that more often than not equals a decent chunk of change each month? Sure, this is all contemplative speculation based on rather flimsy traffic data to begin with, but I’m still interested to see the results.

I realize that some of these folks have their hands in a bit of everything including membership only sections, training programs, their own products (such as books, e-books, and phone apps, etc.), affiliate sales, ppc and cpm ads, direct ad sales, multiple sites, ebay or domain sales, paid reviews, and more. These income results will include everything, even if in some cases the revenue totals are for multiple sites. It’s also worth noting that on some sites I could only find older monthly revenue details, but the Alexa rank I recorded was for the date of this post.

So there you have it. Twenty random blogs with a recent monthly income report. I didn’t realize how vast the Alexa range would be in this list, but it really shows that it’s less about attaining a certain amount of traffic (or Alexa traffic if you will) and more about what you do with it. As I write this, I’m realizing I’ve been obsessing over the wrong number. Sure, an Alexa rank is fun to watch, but it means next to nothing. I should be watching my income by experimenting with new revenue streams while continually testing what I use currently.

Most of these sites break down their revenue so you can see where it’s coming from and what is strongest for each individual niche. It’s also important to realize you have to take a pro-active approach to attaining higher revenue instead of just waiting for it. If all you use is Adsense, you’ll likely never experience the kind of income a lot of these sites earn, but a more balanced attack with a combination of streams appears to work wonders for these people.

For example, take a look at Pat Flynn’s last income report over at his Smart Passive Income site. He has over two dozen affiliate products he earns from alone. Now go check out that list and search his site for where and how he uses/mentions these products. I just did the same thing and left his site realizing I haven’t been working nearly as smart as I could have been. Did you catch that each one is linked in his monthly revenue reports too?

Ok, so there’s no real magic Alexa number, but I will say once you get your score down into these familiar ranges (similar to these sites), then it’s up to you what you do with that traffic. Study the people on this list closest to your number or niche and figure out what they’re doing right (or what you’re doing wrong). There’s really no reason you can’t be achieving similar results if you’re in the same traffic ballpark as these other sites.

I know I have my work cut out for me. Seriously. It’s a good thing I enjoy writing because I am an extremely underachieving blogger if we’re talking dollars and cents. From just a quick comparison, other sites in the general neighborhood of my Alexa rank are making hundreds of dollars each month, so I am clearly doing just about everything wrong thus far. And then there’s the couple running the website which isn’t far off from my Alexa rank, yet they earn so much that they have to carry their monthly gains to the bank in a wheelbarrow. Good for them, although I’m not sure if the amount they’re earning is motivating or discouraging at this point. 😉

Oh, and I almost forgot one last website to include.

Building a High Traffic Web Site

I’m starting to realize that there’s not a lot of tricks to building a sticky website. I’m constantly scouring the internet for the best tips on attracting more visitors to my website, yet time and time again I find the same advice that can be summed up in three words. Create quality content.

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It’s not the most glamorous thing to talk about, but I have to tell you that in my limited experience, it’s the one that works. I’m not saying you should stop adding your site to search engines and directories, or to stop building backlinks, or cease submitting press releases and articles. What I’m saying is if you add quality content often enough, people will end up finding you anyway.

Even the word “quality” is debatable and I’m a perfect example. I know I’m primarily writing for myself on this site because I love finding new website software. I’m not weaving magic with my words here. I’ll leave that to the poets. However, I do hope there are others like me out there who might somehow benefit when they find a new (to them) script on this site.

I think the handful of traffic building tip examples I mentioned (directories, articles, press releases, etc.) all work, but they’re more like the branches of the tree while your new content is the trunk of the tree. You need the content (base) first before you can announce it elsewhere (branches). Am I deep with these analogies or what? 😉

In my many searches for creating a higher trafficked web site, I’ve come across a particular website time and time again. You can tell that the individual running the site takes the time to create compelling content for his readers and he’s truly reaping the benefits. The site is also a testament to the fact that you don’t need a flashy website to be super successful. The site is

I’m posting a link back to his site for two reasons. The first is that there are some incredibly helpful articles and interesting reads. I highly suggest you click on over and spend some time over there. Make sure you give yourself ample time if you’re going to visit because Steve often writes lengthy articles. The second is in relation to the title of this post. In his article on building a high traffic website, he speaks of creating valuable content and a number of other priorities for reaching this goal. I don’t think I could put it any better than Steve, so go read it, learn it, and live it.

Article Marketing with Free Directories

Update – 7/28/2012: It appears that having a global Alexa rank under 200,000 does not guarantee success as a few of the top ranked article directories have vanished over the past couple of years.

One of the most popular tips you’ll find out there for growing your website traffic is to write articles with your website link in the author byline. Not only will this grow your backlinks and get you some decent targeted traffic, but there’s the possibility of other webmasters republishing your content as well.

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Chances are you’ve read this all before so I’ll cut right to the chase and give you what you need to make this happen. Here’s a list of free article directories. All you need to do is provide the content with the link bait. (Alexa rank as of 3/17/2010 included)

  1. Ezine Articles – 131
  2. ArticlesBase – 409
  3. Buzzle – 1,153
  4. GoArticles – 1,717
  5. ArticleSnatch – 2,245
  6. ArticleDashboard – 2,838
  7. ArticleAlley – 3,088
  8. Amazines – 4,272 (Down)
  9. SearchWarp – 5,784
  10. SooperArticles – 6,199
  11. ArticleCity – 7,102
  12. ArticleRich– 7,106
  13. iSnare – 7,800
  14. ArticleTrader – 8,283
  15. ArticleCube – 9,029
  16. ArticleBiz – 10,256
  17. ABCArticleDirectory – 12,165
  18. ArticleBuzz – 13,428
  19. ArticlesFactory – 14,337
  20. WebWorld – 15,832
  21. UPublish – 16,261
  22. ArticleSphere – 18,511
  23. ArticlePros – 19,574
  24. ArticleCircle – 22,069 (Down for maintenance for days)
  25. ArticleDirectory – 22,517
  26. 212Articles – 23,963 (Down, page shows missing wp-config.php page)
  27. ArticleMonkeys – 25,823
  28. ArticleGallery – 29,167
  29. ArticlesAlley – 29,910
  30. Free Article Directory – 33,283
  31. ArticleBlotter – 40,205
  32. ArticlesHeaven – 40,628 (Gone)
  33. Articopia – 42,567
  34. Article99 – 50,115
  35. – 52,685 (Gone)
  36. ArticleGold – 57,824 (Gone)
  37. ArticleFame – 62,030
  38. MyFreeArticleDirectory – 68,976
  39. AuthorPalace – 71,724
  40. WebsiteArticles – 75,280
  41. WonderDirectory – 92,019
  42. – 93,646 (Gone)
  43. Dzine Articles – 96,833
  44. ContentDesk – 103,838
  45. Free Article For You – 106,823 (Gone)
  46. ArticleNode – 114,965
  47. ArticleZap – 144,345
  48. – 156,145 (404)
  49. BesttoRead – 167,362
  50. Articlicious – 184,501

Blog Marketing with Press Releases

A press release is an announcement of something considered newsworthy by the submitter in hopes if it getting picked up by the media. If you’ve ever come across all those lists out there for best website traffic building ideas, I’m sure you’ve seen press releases mentioned in most of them. I was always under the impression press releases were for celebrities and fortune 500 companies, but I was so wrong.

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The key is to have such compelling news that people want to talk about it and share it. You’re probably wondering how a press release can help you if you’re not breaking big news or don’t have anything interesting enough to go viral. I was thinking the very same thing until I pulled up a half dozen articles in my Firefox tabs and began reading.

I think the most important part is to spend the time to write a very concise and persuasive release on the best information you have to offer over the course of a month or two. Not everything is worthy of a press release, but if you have interesting news in your niche or can take the finer points of many posts to create a strong release, you’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need to plant some website traffic seeds.

When you submit your press release to a free distribution site, you will naturally attract visitors who are interested in the topic of your release. The visitor numbers you generate from your press release will depend greatly on your headline and your copy. Let’s say that over the course of a couple weeks you only saw a trickle of about three or four visitors a day come in from your release. You might think of this as a complete failure, but you shouldn’t. Instead, think of it as a numbers game.

There’s a saying, and I forget where I heard it, who said it, or how it was said exactly, but it’s something along the lines of this: If you can find a way to earn a dollar, whether it’s from a product, service, system, or whatever, you already have the capability to become a millionaire. All you have to do is duplicate your efforts.

Same goes with traffic sources. Life would be so grand if I could simply generate a whole bunch of hits from my one press release, but the four a day you got in that hypothetical release still added up to over fifty hits in two weeks. Now all you have to do is find a whole bunch of free press release sites to submit to and you suddenly have a whole lot more visitor trickling going on.