WebRef Update: Featured Article: Traffic Boosters | 2 | WebReference

WebRef Update: Featured Article: Traffic Boosters | 2


Traffic Boosters

The Google/DMOZ/Yahoo Triad

But wait, there's more! The benefits of ranking high on Google don't stop there. You can leverage yourself into Yahoo by getting listed on AOL/Nescape's Open Directory (DMOZ). Yahoo has dropped Inktomi in favor of Google for their default search, and Google has Pageranked DMOZ for their directory:

http://www.dmoz.org http://directory.google.com

so when you search for something in Yahoo, the Pageranked DMOZ results come up! By virtue of WebRef's age, many of our experts are listed in the tip five in google for their particular keywords (try searching on "dhtml" or "3d" or "javascript" for example.)

http://www.google.com

Once Yahoo! switched to Google in August, we saw an immediate increase in traffic, site-wide. Our work with DMOZ and Google has paid off, now Yahoo and Google are driving more traffic our way. This kind of relevance ranking will surely increase and improve in the future (licensing google's directory, search engine etc.), improving relevance, and raising traffic at the busiest sites even further.

Tell a Friend - Viral

Anything you can do to make your site spread virally, do it (within reason and the law of course). We use a tell a friend script to let our users do some of our PR, available at:

http://www.webreference.com/scripts/

Stickiness

OK, you've done everything you can to boost your viewers, now let's give them a reason to stay awhile. Sites like EBay, Amazon and photo.net are sticky, with upwards of hours per unique visit. How? By offering such compelling in-context content that the user is hooked the minute he enters your site. You've made your site so darned useful that going anywhere else is out of the question. This is *the* site on this subject. Add in multiple voices (vs. one voice) all talking about that subject, and you've got an addictive combination.

Being a photographer, I find sites like Phil Greenspun's photo.net and photographyreview.com addicting as they're always changing with new user reviews and comments on whatever camera/lens etc. I'm interested in. Each time I return there's something new. If you're lucky, users will reach what's psychologists call a "flow" state, and forget about the time they are spending on your site. Great, they are grooving to your song, now let's keep them there.

http://www.photo.net http://www.photographyreview.com

Fast Pages

Your site (especially your home page) should load as fast as possible, in less than 8-10 seconds. The idea is to get out of the way, and let the user get to the content they want.

Dynamic Toolbars

Adding our new SSI dynamic nav bars to every page on WebRef definitely increasing traffic (not unique visitors, they just bounce around more now). We dynamically create an include with the most popular areas of WebRef plus the three latest articles and include this footer on every page. For example see:

http://www.webreference.com/index2.html

The top nav bar is now a table with links, avoiding the delays users experienced with our old ISMAP.

Ubiquitous Consistent Intuitive Navigation

Along with our new toolbars, strategic linking to other relevant stories, (similar stories often found on database-driven sites) and previous and subsequent articles helps keep users interested. See our 3D Expert's technique at:

http://webreference.com/3d/lesson102/3.html

Adding a "you are here" breadcrumb trail, with a logical hierarchical structure, helps orient users, wherever they arrive at your site. Add in "printable version," similar stories, and other niceties are some thoughtful touches that can increase your user satisfaction.

News

We pump in fresh news using News Harvester to the front page every 10 minutes, and use an unobtrusive DHTML news flipper to rotate through the stories. For details on doing this yourself see:

http://www.webreference.com/headlines/nh/ http://www.webreference.com/dev/evolution/

These are some of the techniques that I've found that have actually worked to increase WebRef's traffic. Let me know if you've got some tips that have worked for you.

About the author:

Andrew King has been creating Web sites since 1993 and is the founder and Managing Editor of WebReference.com and JavaScript.com, two internet.com properties. Trained as an engineer, Andrew morphed himself into a self-taught webmaster first on a local freenet, and then a Web design firm.

Andrew has written for MacWeek and Web Techniques, and contributed to Jim Heid's "HTML and Web Publishing Secrets." He has an MSME from the University of Michigan and can be reached at update@webreference.com.

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This article originally appeared in the October 12, 2000 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.

http://www.internet.com

Comments are welcome
Written by Andrew King and

Revised: Oct 13, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/new/traffic2.html