SMALL WEBSITE BIG DREAMS: BREAKING ONE MILLION VISITORS – It’s a known fact that most small to medium websites are lucky if they get two or three thousand visitors a day.
According to Netcraft there are approximately 700 million websites online and by the end of 2013 this figure could reach 1 billion. That’s a lot of website and their traffic comes from the billions of users worldwide.
I’ve look at the figures for online users and it appears sketchy; there are some websites that report over 4 billion online users whilst some put the figure at a conservative 3 billion.
There are of course approximately 7 billion people on the planet and the numbers of people accessing the internet continues to grow; along the number of websites being created and of course abandoned.
There are of course certain websites that receive vast amounts of traffic per day; the likes of Facebook and Twitter spring to mind and this is generally down to the fact that they have a well placed system of being able to call their registered users back to action through emails and messaging – there is also the ‘addiction’ factor to consider where many feel compelled to log in so that they don’t miss out on the conversations between family and friends.
So what about the small fry, those little guys sitting in their bedrooms or kitchens hammering away at the keyboard for 10 hours or more a day – is there really hope of making it to the big time?
If I didn’t believe in the dream then I wouldn’t do what I do. Yes, I’m one of the small fry; in fact I think it’s fair to say that if we are talking about pond-life and that a Koi Carp was the likes of Twitter or Facebook then meebal.com would be considered a micro-organism – you know bacteria.
I’ve been asked on a number of occasions who my competitors are but I don’t like to see it in terms of who I have to beat to climb up the ladder.
I think we’ve all viewed websites that we’re not overly keen on but each and everyone does have a place in the cyber eco-system and this is because we are all individuals – one man’s loaf of bread is another man’s banquet so as to speak.
As you can tell, we deliver the news or rather we deliver an opinion on the news – I say “we” because I managed to rope someone else in to write and hopefully over time I’ll attract a few more writers and together we can share in the success; if such a thing occurs.
For those of you outside the ‘Internet Bubble’ that is you don’t own a website, you might be thinking that running a website is a walk in the park. After all how hard can it be to write an article or two a day and watch the money roll into your bank account?
The reality is, and this will be backed up by my fellow bacterial website owners, that attracting sufficient visitors on a daily basis is extremely tough.
There used to be a time when you could create a website, submit it to Yahoo and Google and then watch visitors roll in. Going back 15 years or so and marketing an online business was really a simple affair; a few banners, search engine optimization and bingo you could create something fairly lucrative.
Today it’s a totally different kettle of fish and the pond is massive and those pretty Koi Carp are carnivorous – yes, it’s become extremely hard work and for a site like meebal.com to succeed will take years of hard work; that’s 14 hours plus a day with little, if any, revenue to support growth let alone make a living.
The web has certainly developed and the social networks in particular play a huge roll in acquiring new visitors – there are some who feel that the rise of the social networks have allowed websites to grow faster in terms of visitors, due to the ability to place content in front of masses of people.
You can still submit your website to Bing/Yahoo and Google but getting any decent traffic out of them takes time and a vast amount of effort. This is fine if you can afford to hire dedicated Search Engine Optimization, either internally or externally but for the majority of small fry this is really not an option – it’s simply way too expensive.
On average meebal.com attracts approximately 400 to 500 people a day and it’s taken nearly a year to get that far. As we approach our 1st Birthday we are now looking to step things up and as we produce more diverse content, this in turn should appeal to a wider audience.
Considering what I said about it being difficult to get volume traffic, there are ways to do it, but these can have its pitfalls.
Last month we wrote an article and then targeted a very specific forum. We didn’t just sign up and paste a link but rather contacted the owners and asked permission. This contact paid off for the administrator not only included the link themselves but also placed it on their newsletter (thank you ThaiVisa.com).
The result was that we received over 9,000 visitors that day and over 4,500 the next day – it then petered off but it clearly demonstrates a way to get a lot more traffic.
The downside was that the article was very specific and so our page views went from an average of 4 plus to less than 2 and time on site tumbled along with it.
This would have sent a signal to Google that may have been interpreted that people didn’t like meebal.com – site on time and pages views are often seen as a way that Google determines overall rankings.
I have to say it was a thrill to see so many people visiting and certainly interacting as the page received a huge number of comments, shares and likes.
So what is the key to growing your online visitors? One thing we’ve discovered is that it is not just one thing; simply submitting your website to Google or Bing won’t cut the mustard.
Running a website is a balancing act in that you have to divide up your time by creating great content, and by that we mean content that your visitors will share, and promoting that content.
Remember that not everyone will appreciate what you write and some will openly give you a damn good thrashing in the comment section, if you have one.
Just remember that we are all different and that you will certainly get a goodly mixture of people who literally love or hate what you produce.
The key aspects to growing your visitors are:
Use your friends and family to help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. There are also many other social sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Tumblr etc, so open up accounts with these and post content that you’ve created.
The obvious is Google and Bing and submitting your website to either is very easy and takes but a few minutes.
You can learn how to optimize the content you create for search but the likes of Google run very sophisticated algorithms that are capable of determining what your content is about.
Personally I like a hands-off approach in that I don’t try to manipulate how a page is ranked. You will find that if you can get enough people sharing your content then that content will naturally rise through the rankings.
A natural rise in ranking is what you want for this will prevent you from being seen as a spammer by Google or Bing that will inevitably lead to either a manual or algorithmic penalty.
Yes, these are the stuff that Google rankings are made of and the more people that link to your content the better- for this sends a ‘social’ signal to Google that people love what you create – again this leads to a natural progression up the rankings.
Don’t ever consider buying back-links as this will almost certainly get you into trouble as most are of low quality and look unnatural to Google – it’s a sure fire way of getting penalized.
There are some who are suggesting that Google is now so smart at detecting the quality of content that all the manipulating in the world won’t help – in fact it could just do more damage to your rankings.
If you are just about to venture into the world of having an online presence then be aware that your website won’t be online long before you start getting hit by the SEO brigade.
Yes, you will be subjected to vast amounts of emails that can promise you higher rankings in Google.
From our own experience 99% of these offers are coming out of India – it appears that India is No.1 in the world for SEO; well at least in the aspect of spamming your inbox.
DO NOT ever respond to these emails. Simply mark them as spam so future ones go straight into the junk folder and then delete them.
There are many websites such as AddThis.com that allow you to create a bank of share buttons to put on your website.
These are essential as it will allow your dedicated users to share the content that you have produced and again the level of sharing will have a direct impact on your natural search engine rankings.
Forums and Other Websites
Sign up for key forums and contact similar content websites and see if you can work together in some way.
I have to admit we’ve contacted a number of high profile corporations, such as CNN, BBC, FoxNews etc and our requests have been ignored.
Don’t lose heart if this happens, as you must consider that these folks are just trying to protect their own interests and will not want to link to a website that is unknown – this could in fact damage their rankings in the likes of Google; it’s called ‘linking to a bad neighborhood’.
The title of this article is about breaking One Million visitors and I think it’s fair to say that meebal.com is a way off that goal but it’s not impossible.
A number of our ‘competitors’, for the want of a better term, attract well over 15 million visitors per month – some over 50 million.
This doesn’t make me envious but rather confirms that there is a vast amount of web visitors out there that could transform meebal.com from pond bacteria to a Koi Carp; not over night but over time and we will continue to write in the hope that there are those out there who will like our content enough to share it and help us grow.
Just remember the web is made up of people just like you – we all have dreams and aspirations and to succeed takes hard work.
Remember what I said earlier… true failure is never trying.
Right, I’m off to create more content in the hope a few folks will like it enough to share – who knows that million visitor a month mark could come sooner than expected.