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How to be a big needle in a small haystack

28 June 2010 No Comment

Did you here the internet is a big place? In fact it is a really, really big place, way bigger than Texas. My friend Kevin is going to go through every single page to make sure there is no naughty stuff for kids to see. He estimates it will take a few weeks but according to Bing, reading every page on the internet is estimated to take 6 million years with over one trillion web pages in existence. So while Kevin prays for some serious advances in medical technologies and the fact that the internet will not have a single change for the next 6 million years, I can’t help but think how easy it would be for internet users to not see my website (despite how awesome it obviously is). It is literally (well figuratively, but literally everyone misuses the word literally) like finding a needle in a haystack that towers over the Eiffel tower and yao ming, combined.

So I should be upfront, this post is more about the way of thinking for your sites advertisements as opposed to straight up tips and advice to get more visitors. Two reasons for this, obviously every website is different, with different content and different target markets and all advice should be tailored to the individual needs of that website. The second and more important reason this article is more philosophy, over facts is that finding and checking facts is really hard and takes a lot of work and like most webmasters I have an adverse reaction to hard work. So I could write another whole article on efficiency (although that would be more effort again) but given a choice between a philosophical diatribe that will change your (the reader) life, or another bland list of tips requiring vast amounts of effort and time and I think you will see the decision is clear.

So having aired my dirty laundry and given you the mistaken impression that I am lazy and don’t really care I am actually going to start and try to provide some insight for you. I was thinking of going into political speech and writing a 2000 word donut. It looks good on face value, leaves you mildly satisfied but after further thought you realise its hollow inside. Despite the fact I have been doing exactly that for close to three paragraphs now I am going to stop and discuss your website, well not exactly YOUR website but personal websites for webmasters.

Back on topic (“finally” I hear you all say) but the number trillion is an amazingly huge number. I know this is obvious but if you really consider that a trillion $1 bills stacked upon each other would stretch one quarter of the distance to the moon or 67,866 miles. Now consider each one of these as a website and its obvious why pages on your site would be so easily missed by the majority of the internet world and it becomes clear why search engines and social bookmarking have been so successful.

Usually the advice here is to make your site “stand out” from the crowd yada, yada, yada. But if your site does not “stand out” or offer a point of difference than your site is obsolete and adding to the garbage pile that is unused websites online. So assuming your site stands out, or at least competes on some level as to have a purpose, you need to attract visitors. But instead of broad, sweeping methods to attracting visitors, many of whom have no interest and will provide no value to your website, you need to be specific (a good analogy to use is the dating scene which I am an expert at). Now when looking for a partner (long term not this one night stand crap, think visitors to your site) your personal traits (website) play an important role. A devout christian would obviously be well advised to look for partners in their congregation or other christian groups. Someone who loves to party and go out would be well advised to look for a partner at a night club. And someone who hates going out, hates crowds, hates most people like me, can look for partners on the internet. On a side note my casual search has resulted in many offers of marriage (because I am such a catch obviously) from women all across the world. Currently Oksana and Tatiana are vying for my love but I have to organise immigration details and pay some sort of fee, I assume its a Russian family thing.

Obviously I am not discounting the effectiveness of targeted paid advertising and the rewards of great search engine rankings. But these are not the only ways to get some quality visitors to your site. From experience the ones who comment on my post, buy my products and share my material are the visitors that I have personally gone out and found. This may not be the best approach for many types of websites but when in my case you are looking to build a community, not those communities in the deserts where the patriarch has several partners (although if there are 10-20 beautiful women looking for this type of community please contact me because I will see what we can do), but a community of core contributors through discussion makes good information, great.

So what kind of visitors do you want, and what type does your website need? Spending some time on related forums and blogs and building proper relationships like the one I have with Oksana, and the rewards can be great. It can be another issue of quality over quantity where a strong relationship with one visitor may result in them buying several of your products and become more profitable than 100 random visitors to your site. Also not to be underestimated is the security such visitors provide to you as a webmaster. Often all your work can seemingly go unnoticed and unappreciated and a few comments from your regulars can really boost your self-esteem and confidence although personally I have never had such issues, especially with Tatiana by my side, oops I mean Oksana.

So if your website is lost amongst the other trillion web pages online, consider refocusing your goals from making your site stand out to millions of internet users and apply some time and effort to headhunting quality visitors to your site. The rewards are small to begin with but there is a snowball effect with this type of marketing, particularly if you do it correctly because your initial visitors will become long term contributors (in the right environment) and may also be able to successfully promote your site depending on your individual circumstances. So the question now becomes…will you be my friend? You can have dinner one night with me and Oksana. Pleasssseeee?????

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