By Shelly MacDonald
How do you measure the success of your work at home website? The number of unique hits you get a day? The number of comments regular visitors leave on your website? Even if you try to maintain the high ground and stay out of the work at home popularity contests your website still needs visitors. So, how do you get those eyeballs?
Real life is rarely like Field of Dreams; just because you built it doesn't mean anyone will come. Your website may be fantastic; your text smart, witty and informative; your blog's design may be perfectly elegant and intuitive to navigate and yet, just because you put it live on the web, that doesn't mean that anyone will see your work. Getting traffic to your website can be a very slow process. In an ideal world the quality of your work would itself generate visitors. You would tell a couple of friends about your site, who would tell a few more friends about your visionary work, who would tell more friends, and on and on like ripples in a pond around the virtual world until you are discovered by a curator at MoMA who wants to pick you up for a solo show. Unfortunately the real world is nothing like this fantasy. In the real world getting quality traffic to see your website can be a time consuming, discouraging and frustrating process but here are a few ideas to help you get started and noticed:
Visit other work at home websites and contact their owners by leaving comments or sending e-mails with a link to your own website. If someone leaves a comment and a URL on your site you're likely to follow it if only to check that it's not spam. Most webmasters will do the same and will visit your site and, hopefully, look around a little at what you're doing. Just be aware that there is a thin line between social networking and being a comment whore. Give something more than a "Nice shot!" if you want to make real contacts with your peers. Commenting on one of the top 10 work at home websites just to get traffic is a little parasitic so it's wise only to leave a comment if you really have something to say. Say it well in a thoughtful way and you will stand out from 9 out of 10 of the other commenters and are more likely to get traffic as a result.
Become a part of the community; some large cities now have groups who meet up in the real world and may have a website of, and for, members. After meeting a fellow webmaster in person it is difficult to resist visiting their site when you get home. As well as a little traffic you will develop community and peer relationships far faster face to face than you ever will via comments or email messages.
Add links from your blog to sites that you like. This is a little under-handed but if the target of your links looks at their referrers in their server logs they may come to visit your blog to see what you are saying about them.
Post a series on a local event and then let a local newspaper know about it. More than one blog has got more traffic than they could cope with after having their work highlighted outside the blogging world, sometimes in the mainstream media.
Submit your blog to search engines and try to improve your google rank for chosen searches. This can be a good or bad thing, for example one author of this article shares his name with a lesser celebrity. This blogger learnt how to improve his google rank for people searching on that name so that his blog is now in the top 5 search results. The good thing is that his site now gets a lot more daily hits. The downside is that most of these visitors are confused jazz fans who leave as quickly as they surf in. Be careful when you target these campaigns; you want quality visitors not confused drive-bys. Don't forget about the directories and user groups as well. Getting your site listed in the larger human-maintained directories can mean a big boost in traffic, especially in directories like DMOZ.
Create an RSS feed for your blog - see: Roll Your Own RSS. Many people now track blogs exclusively through RSS readers; if you don't have a feed your missing a huge 'market'.
Syndicate your blog . It allows people to subscribe to your blog and play it on their desktop. Create a signature for you emails that includes a link to your site. You'll be surprised how many of your family, friends and acquaintances will follow the link to see what you are up to.
Likewise, create a signature with a link to your blog for any relevant communities (forums, mail groups, wiki's, communal blogs, IM profiles) that you take part in. Then, when you participate in these communities, other members may follow the link to find out more about you.
Carry business cards that include your name and your site's domain. Getting business cards printed online is very cheap. Whenever some asks what your URL is you can hand them a card instead of scrawling something illegible on the back of a piece of paper.
Encourage Participation For example, start a tip of the day/week and take submissions from visitors. Participants will often show your website to their friends.
Shelly MacDonald is dedicated to helping people find work in the home and learn all aspects of the home business industry. Please sign up for your FREE newsletter and you will receive the best opportunities for making money on the Internet. These are companies that are members of the BBB. Visit this site now: http://www.topwahsource.com