You must have read several articles on search engine optimization and how to improve website traffic by now. I am sure you already know the basics and don’t want to hear that once again. Well, I am not going to tell you the same story, but want to share the real journey of driving 500% more traffic in just three months to my website. This is totally based on my own experience and whatever I am going to present here is proven with facts.
Well, if you are like me, you would probably like to know the changes in terms of number of visitors. You may think that my website might have started ranking well for a few keywords and that is why this sudden increase. But this is not a case. I will share with you the Google Analytics Report where you will find that the increase is continual in nature and not sudden. Let me admit here that my website is not a popular one with very high web traffic. Though I will not reveal the exact numbers, it used to be in hundreds for a day earlier. But after I made these changes, it has now increased to thousands. To make the things more visible; currently, the total number of page-views for this website is more than 100K in a month which three months back used to be about 20K.
Okay, now let’s move out of the number game and go through the journey and what really worked for me.
I started this website about a year ago with the aim to provide the tutorial on web design and development. It was purely a hand coded website made in asp.net and I used to update it on regular basis. Initially as I created the new contents, the traffic to my website grew slowly. But after sometime, I found that it is more or less static for months together. It was very clear that my website was not performing well. That time, I was sure that there is something wrong and I need to do some changes to get the traffic it deserved.
What was wrong?
The first thing I noticed that my site was slow and sometime it took quite longer time to download. Since, I was using the hand coded website with very little codes; I was not sure why it should take so long for page loading. I did some optimization to the codes but no luck. Sometimes it would load quite faster and other time dead slow. When I saw the crawl stats report in Google Webmaster Tools, I was really surprised to find that on an average, it was hefty 5 seconds for downloading a page. Stunned, I redid the whole website, but still the downloading time did not reduce. I contacted the web hosting company (which is by the way very famous for domain name registration), but did not get any support or clue.
The second problematic thing with my website was the time taken to update it with new contents. Every time I wanted to put some content, I had to create a new web page and manually do all the linking and styling. It was taking a lot of my time which could have been spent on creating more contents. Even when I wanted to make little changes, I had to keep doing research on the codes. It was a tedious and time consuming work!
Due to the above issue, I was not able to put fresh contents regularly. Every now and then, I would start working on the website design, navigation or coding. I had little time left for writing articles after that.
My website was not popular in social sites. I had hardly any followers on twitter, facebook and Google plus. It was extremely difficult for me to share my new content or article to the interested audience.
Most of the time, I wrote about something which people already had. I wrote tutorials on html, CSS, web design, SEO, etc. Similar tutorial and contents were already available on various other websites. I kept on creating contents and writing articles without caring for other websites. Sure I didn’t copy but the contents were not unique.
I read several SEO articles and learnt the basics. Then I kept myself involved on researching the keywords with Google Adwords tool, going through the websites in my niche to get the ideas, changing the contents to incorporate the keywords, altering the titles and description of web pages and what not! But in the process, I wasted a lot of time in SEO. The precious time that could have been spent on creating quality contents were all wasted in these activities.
The changes I made for driving traffic to my website
Changing my Web Host
I had already paid the rental of two years to my web host and there was no way to get it back. I had to take a decision to change the web host and shift all the files to a new server which was a difficult task. But to get rid of slow speed, I took this bold step. Well, that was really a good decision. My page loading time dropped drastically from 5-6 seconds to 1.5 seconds with no change in codes. The result – more page crawling by Google and better ranking in the search results. Not convinced? See the charts from Google Webmaster Tools. I am sure I don’t need to convince you any further.
Shifting to WordPress
Earlier I was quite hesitant to do this. After all, I had created so many pages already. Shifting to WordPress meant maintaining both asp.net files as well as WordPress. Two different platforms with a lot of headache to make the two look similar and linking contents together! I had never used WordPress earlier, so I had to learn everything from scratch. But I was really loosing the time in maintaining my asp.net site. Finally, I installed WordPress and let me tell you this was again a very good decision. It is really a time saver as I just have to concentrate on creating contents. Rest everything is taken care by WordPress. At the same time, it is a known fact that WordPress is search engine friendly. I found that as I shifted some of my contents to WordPress, they started to appear with better rankings in search result.
Started Blogging Regularly
Due to the time I saved and ease of blogging with WordPress, I started to write regularly. I never knew it is so easy and so much fun blogging with WordPress. Of course, it helped my website getting ranked with new keywords. See below the chart from Google Analytics, after I started blogging regularly, my traffic increased steadily. See below the weekly traffic chart from Google Analytics for my website. After November 2012, when I started using WordPress and started blogging regularly, it is increasing with a good rate.
Use of Google Plus Communities
As I mentioned earlier, my website was not at all popular in social sites. It was time for me to promote my website on social networking sites and start building the follower base. But unlike others, I wanted to focus on only one at the beginning. I had the option to go with facebook, twitter and Google plus. This was the time when Google Plus announced the communities. I found it was really interesting. Here, without having any follower base, you could actually share your contents with the people interested in your stuff. I started spending some time with Google Plus Communities and sharing my good contents there. It really helped to drive some of the targeted visitors to my website and at the same time people started adding me in their circles. Within three months, I am in the circles of 190 people. Well this may not be big, but for the starter like me it is not a little thing! As a proof, you too can check my Google Plus profile and add me in your circle.
Focus on core activity
There are both positives and negatives with search engine optimization. The biggest negative I know with SEO is that a lot of people just keep wasting their time here. While SEO is not a bad thing to do but too much focus will just take away the precious time from you. And if it does not work, it will bring more frustration also.
I decided to change my focus from SEO to core activity. Of course, I do take care of SEO while creating contents, but I know where to stop. I have learnt that if you have quality contents on your website, SEO will automatically follow. I have now started seeing my contents being shared by others. It really works as far as SEO goes and gives you a lot of satisfaction that people are finding your contents useful. You can see, every month I am posting about 12-15 fresh contents. This is only because of focus on the core activity which is content creation. See by blog archives for proof.
Started sharing my own experience
Earlier, I used to read a lot of articles and summarize it in my posts. But I found people are not interested in those. But if you provide your own experience, it is better taken with your audience. For example, see this post itself. If I would have written the usual stuff on how to improve traffic to your website, probably you may not have been reading it till now. Yes, I have started sharing my own experience and it really works. Well, I have no proof here; you need to explore my other posts for that!