A popular website with a lot of traffic (visitors) is the goal of any serious website. There is no silver bullet or one simple solution unless you wish to fork out a lot of money for advertising. The way to a popular website is quality content, time and most importantly writing for the visitors and not for the search engines. It has to be an optimised website.

There are two ways to gain a lot of visitors. The first is by search engine referrals where Google, Bing, Yahoo and the others send traffic your way. The second is the return visitor who is a person who probably found your site via a search engine, liked what he saw, bookmarked it and is now returning to see what is new.

Search Engines like Google are interested in providing quality content to those using them. For this reason they are on the look out for websites that provide just this. They are not interested in sites that cater to computers. They love sites that cater to humans with good content, clean navigation and clear design. An optimised website is optimised for humans, not computers.

Do yourself a favour and forget search engines and think all about the visitor!

Domain Name

If you do not already have a domain name, you should get one. The domain name should be short, descriptive and to the point. If possible it should be a .com but it is better to get a descriptive domain name with another TLD than a random or very long name with a .com TLD.

Visitors use the domain name as a clue as to the site’s content. For this reason, search engines also like descriptive domain names. The best domain name for a big web FAQ site would be www.bigwebfaq.com. It tells the visitor (and search engine) that it is big, it is about the web and it is an FAQ. An optimised website starts with the domain name.

Content

Content is King. That is the saying on the web and it is true, but not just any old content. It has to be quality content. It has to be relevant to your site. It also has to be original and by that is meant that you must not copy other’s content. Not only is content copyright protected, but search engines such as Google frown upon duplicate content. You want to keep Google happy! An optimised website has good content.

Keep it Simple

The design of a website needs to be clean and simple. You need to keep your visitors in mind more than search engines. Your visitors need to see a layout that tells them where they are and where to go next.

Try to structure the site with a homepage and then category pages with each page assigned to a category. Using Bread Crumbs is a good idea and Google even recommend them. Make it easy to navigate through the categories.

Simple also means a website where the backend code does not dwarf the content. Some say that this can harm a page’s ranking with search engines, but I have not found this. However it does not hurt to make the code as simple as possible for the search engine to read. An optimised website has simple navigation.

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