Globe


How to Bring More
Hits to Your Site



Many new companies on the Web make one of two errors:

1) They think they will get lots of hits just by putting up a site and registering with a few search engines

2) They think that only by spending a lot of money can they get lots of hits.

They are wrong! Don't make these mistakes! Excellence has the experience to show you how to bring many more hits to your site, for little effort and money.


We know why some sites get lots of hits and some get very few. We can move your site from the latter category to the former.

Want proof? Take a look at our successes:

  • Baby Place: We built this site on our own time starting in 1995. It now receives thousands of visitors every day.
     
  • CTSPlace: The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Home Page: Once upon a time this was a very simple, basic site which we only updated once or twice a year. At that time it received over 1500 visitors a month. We have prettied it up added some pages and it now receives about 30,000 visitors per month.
     
  • Our new sites tend to have hundreds of visitors per day after only a few months online. Recent examples include Pregnancy Place and The Computers Place.

    And almost all the traffic comes for free!

    There is nothing magic about how we bring traffic to our sites, nor do we use any dangerous tricks to fool the search engines or our visitors. We have over 7 years of experience on the Web and we have learned what works. And we can use our knowledge to help you too!

    Free Tips on How to Bring More Hits To Your Site

    We hope update this list of tips every so often so come back from time to time to learn more. Don't kid yourself though. We are keeping the best ideas for our paying clients, so contact us when you are ready to learn the easy techniques that bring lots of visitors.

    Tip for May, 2002: Getting Links to Your Site

    The most straightforward way to get traffic to your site is to get other sites to link to yours. Not only does this bring you more traffic but it can help your ranking at most of the top search engines as well.

    How much is a link to your site worth? Depends on the link. Let's say a link from a given site would bring one extra visitor to your site per day. If you could get one such link per day for 2 months you would be getting an extra 60 visitors to your site per day, plus possibly some extra search engine traffic as well.

    How can you get more links to your site? Try going to your favorite search engine and do a search on "Add URL" or "Request a link". The results will probably contain lots of sites which allow you to request a link from them, usually for free. Be prepared to give a reciprocal link back to the sites if they request it. And try to focus on sites related to yours, as they will be more likely to link to you and a link to your site will be more likely to bring you traffic since it will be related to the interest of the other site's visitors.

    To get you started, here are the URLs for the Request-a-link pages on some of our sites:

    Happy linking!

    Tip for July, 1998: Making the Most of Your Ad Banners

    You have probably heard about the Gif Wizard, a site which helps reduce the byte size of your graphics. There are also a number of inexpensive programs that you can buy to do the same thing from your personal computer. The process of reducing the byte size of your graphics is very important for two reasons:

    1) Less bytes means your site will load faster, which is critical for not turning away surfers (who have very short attention spans) from your site.

    2) The process usually fixes your graphics to use only "browser-safe" colors. The Netscape pallette of colors is only 216 colors, not 16 million or even 256. So the beautiful 24-bit graphics you design in your graphics programs will get dithered or otherwise adjusted down to a mere 216 colors in Netscape. This can make your graphics look terrible, depending on how the browser reduces the colors. By reducing your graphics using "browser-safe" colors from the start you can avoid this problem.

    The above points are even more important for your advertising banners. You are either paying for these banners or using credits accumulated via a link exchange, and you can't afford to lose potential visitors because of problems with your banner. If your banner loads slowly or if it looks bad to some surfers, you have a problem.

    So we recommend the following:

    1) Design your graphic or banner using 16 million colors (24-bits) and get them to look exactly the way you want them

    2) Load the Netscape Pallette in the graphics editor and play with the color-replacement options until you find one that leaves the graphic looking good. Doing this now from the graphics editor will save you time if you have to do any post-processing of the image.

    Different graphics editors may use different pallette files, but to download one that works for Paint Shop pro, right-click on the following link and save the file. It is only 2.7 KB.

    Netscape Pallette for Paint Shop Pro

    3) Run the graphic through a byte-reducing program.

    With one of our own ad banners running on the Link Exchange (and getting about 200 exposures per day), we found that using browser safe colors our click-through ratio (CTR) increased substantially. We then reduced the banner to about 35% of its original byte size, and the CTR increased again. Together we saw an increase in our CTR of about 50%.

    Tip for January, 1998: The only way to make Link Exchanges Work for you.

    In our tip from July, 1997 we explained why Link Exchanges and Web rings may not be worth your time. In a nutshell, Web rings normally don't bring very many visitors since many of the sites on the ring do not get many visitors to feed into it.

    Link exchanges can only help you if you already get lots of visitors because of simple math: Assuming that 4% of the people that see your banner click on it, 100 exposures of their banners gets you 50 exposures of your banner on their system, which in turn gets you (100 X 0.50 X 0.04 =) 2 visitors to your site. So a link exchange banner on your home page will increase your traffic by 2%. This is pretty poor for any site, but for a small site that does not get many hits it is just not worth the effort.

    There is only one way to get a link exchange program to work for you. You have to combine 1) a large number of exposures of their banners with 2) a great banner of your own that causes lots of people to click on it. We will deal with these issues separately.

    1) How to expose their banner many times: The number of visitors to your site is limited, so you need to maximize the number of times each visitor sees a link exchange banner. If you can get each visitor to visit 10 different pages on your site and you put a banner on each one, then you increase the benefit of the link exchange by 10 times. Of course this is easier said than done. Consider designing your site in such a way that visitors are drawn from one page to the next. This will get them to view more link exchange banners, but more importantly it will get more of your information to the visitor, which is the whole point of your Web site!

    2) Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your banner that actually click on it and come to your site. The industry standard CTR seems to be a mere 2%. Keep this in mind when doing a link exchange, and especially when paying for banner advertising! It is theoretically possible to get a 10% click-through rate, but it is very difficult. A great banner is lucky to get 1%.

    Here are some keys to a higher CTR:

  • Obviously, a simple, catchy message which drags the viewer to click on it is a must. Easier said that done? Absolutely. But think of what you have to offer that someone else really wants, and put it on the banner.
     
  • Keep it small, byte-wise. You need a banner that loads fast, before the user leaves the page. If the number of bytes is low, it will load faster. To do this, keep the design simple where possible, and use a gif-reducer like that at <http://www.gifwizard.com>. Keep in mind your banner will probably be displayed at the bottom of the other site's page, and therefore may load last.
     
  • Animation. This is a great way to catch someone's eye. But it is also a great way to add bytes to the banner, so be careful. Consider animating only one part of the gif while leaving the rest static. This will achieve the same affect but may save lots of bytes.
     
  • Pick a relevant link exchange. Only join an exchange that has sites with visitors that will be highly interested in your site. This will have a major impact on your CTR.
     
  • Try different banners. Try out your banners for 500 exposures or so and check your statistics page to see if they are doing well. If not, change them. Many link exchanges let you do more than one banner at a time -- try two and see which works better. Then get rid of the bad one and try another until you can get a real winner.


    If you can put #1 and #2 together, you may be able to increase your site's traffic by 15-20%. If this is still not worth it to you, put your efforts elsewhere!

    Tip for July, 1997: Paid advertising works, "Link Exchanges" may not.

    If your site is not getting enough hits, the way to fix this is NOT by joining one of the many popular Link Exchanges, Hyperbanner programs or Web Rings. Why not?

    A Link Exchange or Hyperbanner program is basically a rotating banner put on your site. For each time you display someone else's ad, you get about a half a credit. For each credit you get, you get your banner displayed on someone else's site. The obvious problem with this is that if you do not get a lot of visitors, you will not get displayed much either.

    Do the math:

    If you get 100 hits to the page with the rotating banner, you will get about 50 credits. The normal click-through rate (CTR) of a good banner is about 4%. This means that for every 100 times it is seen, the viewer will click on it 4 times. So for your 100 hits you will get about 50 credits which will result in 2 new visitors to your site. If you are getting hundreds of hits a day, this is a great way to spread the word about your site over time. If you are not, it may not be worth your effort.

    Web Rings are usually best only for small sites, since they do not necessarily give you more credits if you get more visitors to your site. Therefore a big site might feed lots of people into the ring to benefit other sites, but may not benefit in return. For a small site however, an extra few visitors a day from the ring could mean a lot, and in this case a suitable Web ring should be considered.


    Paid Advertising

    With a new site, it is important to get known fast. If handled incorrectly, it can take months or years for a trickle of visitors to your site to grow to a reasonable stream. It is better to skip this stage entirely. If you can get to a level of lots of hits early on, you will have saved time and money and your site will have done its job.

    Consider setting aside a certain amount of money that you would have put into your site and redirect it into advertising. Find a site closely related to yours that gets a few hundred hits a day. A site closely related to yours will advertise your banner to a "targetted" audience - one that is likely to be interested in your site. This kind of site also gets enough visitors for you to benefit from, but will probably charge a very low fee for advertising.

    Make sure you pay according to the number of times your banner is exposed or "impressed." The standard ratio used on the Web is the Cost Per 1000 exposures, or CPM. Some examples of what different sites charge can be found on Baby Place's ad information page.

    Again, make sure you do your math. If you can purchase 10,000 hits for $30 like at Baby Web, and your banner gets a click-through rate of 4%, this means you get 400 visitors for $30. We have created sites for clients who spent hundreds of dollars to create the site, but who would need almost a year to get 400 hits because they did not want to spend any extra money on advertising and other ways to bring visitors. Don't make the same mistake!

    Please note that Baby Web's Ad rates are very inexpensive, and other sites may have a substantially higher CPM.


    Your Banner

    Needless to say, spending a little extra effort on your banner can make a big difference. Try to have a simple, catchy message with a banner that catches the eye. Use a nice color that will not make your text difficult to read. An animated banner is a very good way to catch the eye. And keep the banner's byte size small so it loads fast -- before the viewer moves to a new page.

    (Note: Tips on making good banners can be found at the end of our tip for January, 1998)

    Come back again soon for more tips.

    Or, if you don't want to wait to start bringing more hits to your site, contact us now.

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    Bring More Hits to Your Site