Thursday, April 9, 2009

Driving Traffic to Your Site(s)

By now you should start to see data from your blog or website captured by Google Analytics. If you don't, you'll have to reinstall the javascript code again. Check out Google's Installation Troubleshooting if you are having problems.

So you want to know what all this data means and what you can do with it to drive traffic to your site(s) right?

Let's take each area and look at it in depth and what the numbers mean. The first one is Visitors. (Just click Visitors in the frame on the left.)

First you will see the overview with a nice graph showing your traffic and then a summary of various types of visitors and their behavior on your site(s). If you click on any of the categories, a horizontal bar graph appears showing that metric for each day. This is good to show trends for the month. Is your traffic increasing? decreasing? variable or static? You can also click on the date section on the top right and check the "Compare to past" box to compare last month's traffic. Google also is nice enough to put percentages in green or red showing whether your site increased or decreased traffic.

Ok. I'm going to stop here for now and give your brain a rest. You will also notice under Visitors there are additional metrics and some have a list of subcategories. We will get into those in subsequent articles.

More importantly is whether YOU are generating traffic to your site(s). Just because you have a website or blog doesn't mean the world will flock to your URL. The old adage, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat down your door" does not necessarily apply here because there are too many mousetraps and people are already caught in lots of others. The adage does work IF you tell enough people about your site(s) and you have content that will interest, inspire, entertain, inform, evoke emotion or make people laugh. I know your brain is not hurting so pay attention.

Here are some ways to get traffic to your site that I have used successfully.

Search Technorati or Google Blog Search for blogs similar to your website or blog. Read them and leave comments. Don't leave short comments like, "I liked your article" or "Cool, man!" You have to leave a comment with substance that will interest readers. And make sure you leave the link to your blog or website in your comment. Then you can check your analytics dashboard in a day or two and see if your traffic increased. You can even see which blog generated the most visits by clicking on the Traffic Sources section on the left and then on Referring Sites. When you see which sites generate the most traffic check them often and leave additional comments.

Other traffic generating methods include creating a Facebook or MySpace site, joining Twitter and Linkedin and other social networking sites. Most have applications that link your site to theirs so that when you add content to your site it shows up on the other sites. But we can get into that another time.

For now put your feet up, relax, and start searching for sites similar to yours. Happy searching.

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