Sometimes, you’ll spending time away from your website content is a good thing. Whilst I’ve still an advocate for the content is king mantra, sometimes concentrating on the things you can do that aren’t content related is important. lIt allows you to come back with fresh ideas, and lets you concentrate on building up resources to help you promote your existing site. So in the time that you have spent away from posting new content what things can you do to help build traffic offpage?
Build a seed list
Knowing where to promote your existing and new material is important. You can’t simply publish material online and expect instant results, especially if you are starting a new website. For one, you’ll be locked in the Google Sandbox and as a result, you’ll be unlikely to hit any major traffic from the search engines (initially anyway – as you won’t rank that highly for any term).
A seed list is simply a list of websites that allow you to submit new and fresh content to them, and they will take snippets of it, and display it as community news or user links. I try to concentrate on the ones with the most traffic when I’m collating them – initially doing some traffic research so I hit the major sites within a niche. You should be a magpie for this sort of stuff – keeping an eye out for other potential resources as you browse around the web.
One other way to find candidates for content seeding is Delicious search. I tag the stuff I’ve found so its easy to find when I’ve created a large piece of linkbait, and I’ve found that the tags I use are pretty similar to other webmasters with the same idea as me. Within Delicious I can easily add them to my network, and keep an eye out for the stuff they are saving with that tag, if they consistently provide great sites that are tagged, I’ll add them to a folder within my Google reader – you can subscribe to an RSS search for a particular tag within Delicious pretty easily.
Improve your site speed
It might seem obvious, but Google loves speed, and so will your users. In this age of widespread broadband usage, we’ve all started to forget about optimising our JPEG’s and compressing our HTML. Don’t abuse the priviledge of faster connections. Whilst everyone else is busying themselves with creating graphically richer and richer sites; strip back and be ruthless with what you display.
I’ve recently began the process of doing just that. I’ve removed some plugins that were installed, but not used. I’ve ripped out Google Analytics in my header, and moved it to the bottom of the page. And I’m in the process of optimising graphics to make for a nippier experience site wide. If you haven’t already done so, you can download the fantastic Firebug and Yslow from Yahoo, to get a feel for bottlenecks on your site. I guarantee your traffic and pageviews will thank you for it. I’ve another blog post in the works on other ways you can improve your speed as it deserves a post on its own.
Improve your Authority
Authority is extremely important online. A perception of your value influences how visitors react to your content. This is why guest posts are important, because you are not only piggy backing of the recipients traffic; but you are piggy back off their authority. It’s almost like speaking through their lips, gets your message listened to easier. So how do you become an authority online? There are a number of ways to do this:
1) Get your name out into traditional media as often as you can.
Trade publications within a niche are often looking for content writers. Their may be an opportunity to rehash something that you’ve already put on your blog and use it within a magazine.
2) Start giving the Answers.
Sites such as Yahoo Answers and Linked In Answers are easy pickings. I could easily answer twenty questions within about 15 minutes, which both gets me noticed for providing great answers, and gets me backlinks from my profile. Be warned though – spam in any way shape or form, and your authority goes down the drain. A good rule of thumb is that if you can deep link to a blog post on your site, and it supports the answer further its probably ok. Posting “visit my site to find out more” and then just your domain – not so cool.
If nothing else these sorts of sites provide the perfect water cooler for you to try out new ideas on people, and further improve your networking connections. I’ve also had many a lightbulb turned on from reading the sorts of questions other people ask, which has directly resulted in a blog post.
3) Improve your comment quality and quantity
I’ve posted before about comments, and the right and wrong way to do it. So I won’t go into too much indepth on the matter. Bottom line, improve the quality and quantity of the things you say on other peoples blogs, and the quality and quantity of your traffic will improve. Simple.
4) Guest post
Identify good blogs by using tools such as Technorati, and the traffic tools I’ve mentioned earlier. Offering them guest posts has the benefit of reaching an audience which may cross over to your own site, and also gets your name out further online.