|March 24, 2002
After looking around this
website, I noticed that most of the information here is geared towards
running a webserver and there is not much info (if any) on how to run a
website. What good is a webserver if you have no content right?
So in this article, Iím going to give some tips and tricks on how to make
a successful website. Iím not sure what you would consider a successful
website, but in general, success on the web is measured by how many visitors
you get on a regular basis. By no means do I consider this website
successful, but I have learned a few things that might make for some interesting
reading. Or not. Mind you, I am guilty for not following all
of my own advice, but in an ideal world, this is what I would follow.
As the saying goes: do as I say, not as I do!
Here we go:
Well, these are all the tips
that I have so far. Iím sure there are millions more that could be
listed here, but I feel these are the big ones. Each tip I list above
requires a lot of work. How you tackle the problems is up to you.
You can try serially by doing one at a time, or you can attack in parallel
and try all the tips at the same time. Youíll probably end up with
a bit of both methods. Remember this stuff is supposed to be fun
and when it isnít fun anymore, find something else fun to do.
Keep your content fresh.
If you have a cool website, thatís great. However, after your visitors
look at all your material once, you need to give them a reason to come
back. Nobody is going to come back and read your material again if
it hasnít changed at all. I read somewhere that 97% of the websites
out there donít get updated more than once every 6 months. Thatís
a lot of stagnant material laying out there. This is why youíll visit
random webpages that were last updated in 1997. Actually, my personal
web page hasnít been updated since 1996. Hehe.
Get your site listed in the
search engines. You have no idea how important this is. If
you can get your site top listed on Google or Yahoo, youíll see thousands
of visitors to your website every day. How do you get your site listed
on the big search engines? In my experience there are two ways.
The first way is to go to the search engineís website and submit the URL
of your webpage. I donít know how effective this is, but itís worth
a shot. The second more effective way (in my opinion) is to somehow
get your website listed on a webpage that is already listed by the search
engines. For example, if your website and URL are listed on a website
that is hit by the major search engines, the search engines will pick up
your website when it spiders their site. Many search engines also
gauge the popularity of your website by measuring how many different
websites link to your website. The more people that link to your
website, the more likely youíll get picked up by a search engine.
This website (DSL/Cable Webserver) is indexed by Google and Yahoo.
That is where a lot of our visitors come from. This is also part
of the reason why we have a ďMember SitesĒ section. By having
your website listed on our Member Sites page, each time the search engines
spiders our site, your site will be looked at as well. No guarantees
though. I donít want hate mail coming to me about not getting picked
up by Google. You people! No matter which way your website gets hit
by a search engine, you must have META tags on each page of your website
that tell the search engine what the page is about and what are the keywords.
Get other websites of similar
interests to link to your website. This tip is directly related to
the previous tip. You can do this by emailing other websites with
similar content and ask them if they would consider a link exchange.
Most people are glad to do this. Donít bother exchanging links with
websites that are completely unrelated because itíll do you little good.
You want to exchange links for several reasons. First, if you can
get your link on a website that is already fairly popular, then people
will come to your site through the link. Second, the more places
that link to you, the more likely youíll get picked up by the search engines.
Third, itís good to start talking to other webmasters who have similar
interests. I guess this is how webrings start. I donít know
much about webrings, but itís simply a more organized way of linking together
sites of common interest. Webrings are common for fan sites like
those for Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. Donít ask me how
Make your site easy to look
at. Donít have funky eye-shocking colors and bizarre fonts unless
itís in line with your website. Make your site look clean and professional.
No need for big graphics and fancy doodads. Keep the layout simple
and clean. Nice and elegant.
Make your site fast loading.
Again, this relates to the previous tip. One of the biggest turn
offs (in cyber space =) is a slow loading website. As people who
run their webservers from home on broadband, we are already limited in
the amount of bandwidth we have. This means we must design the site
to work within the limitations of our connection speed. Instead of
making graphic links, try using regular text links. Try different
compression levels with JPG. Donít put too many pictures on a single
page. Instead, try scattering the pictures across several pages.
Donít have huge Flash introductions that must be loaded and viewed every
time somebody comes to your site. Come to think of it, those are
annoying on sites with a lot of bandwidth as well.
Make your site easy to navigate.
There should be a clear logic of how your site is laid out. Popular
links go up high, less popular links go lower down. Nobody wants
to spend time searching for the control buttons. Make it intuitive.
Keep your subject matter focused.
This is important for several reasons. First of all, if your content
is focused, the search engines will know how to place you. Second,
people tend to visit websites based upon subject. People rarely go
to a website that has a little bit of everything. There are very few successful
ďjack-of-all-tradesĒ websites out there, if any. Third, if you plan
on soliciting advertisers for your website, youíll have a much easier time
if you can prove to your advertiser that you have a targeted audience for
their ads. A computer maker will want to show their ads on a computer
site. A dog washing company will want to advertise on a dirty dog
site. You get the picture.
Work hard. As long as
working on your website is fun, keep doing it. You may not be successful
right away, but if youíre determined to keep working on it, the fruits
of your labor will eventually come. This could take a long time.
Maybe this should be tip 1.