3.1. Content That Draws Traffic
There's a great deal of variation in goodsuccessfulcontent web sites. The purpose of these sites varies from humor to practical to editorial opinions and beyond. It's hard to generalize. But successful content sites typically do tend to fall into at least one (maybe more than one) of the following categories:
The site is humorous, and makes visitors laugh. While humor is a matter of personal taste, and varies tremendously depending on demographics of the target, humorous features can draw a great deal of traffic to a site. One downside is that humor tends to get stale quickly. An example of a humorous site that is popular is Googlefight, http://www.googlefight.com, a site that compares the Google rankings of two terms such as "God" and "Satan."
The site provides a useful free service. Web services that are free (and desirable) can draw astounding levels of traffic. A good example is TinyURL, http://tinyurl.com, which provides a practical and very useful (but simple) service: it allows you to convert long, unwieldy URLsfor example, those you often see from Amazon.com when you select an inventory itemto short, convenient URLs that are easy to use in HTML code (and easy to enter in a browser). TinyURL gets hundreds of millions of hits per month, and is able to convert some of this traffic for other purposes (such as making money from advertising).
The site is an online magazine, newspaper, or blog. Newsworthy content or interesting opinion pieces can draw considerable traffic. But the fact that anyone can put up a blog means that you'll have to go to considerable lengths to distinguish your content.
Tip: From an SEO viewpoint, adding a blog to a site provides one very desirable featureit helps make sure the site has fresh content. Freshness of contentpreferably on a daily basisis one of the factors that search engines use when evaluating how to rank sites.
You might not want to program an application that enables community functionality from the ground up, but your web host may provide this software for free, versions may be available from the open source community that are also free, or you may be able to inexpensively outsource applications that facilitate community.
You can build community on a site include by providing:
Calendars with information about events in a specific field
Instant messaging applications
Blog comments, pings, and trackbacks
The site provides practical information. Many people turn to the Web as their first line of approach for finding information: about technology, relationships, travel destinations, health, and much more. Adding useful articles is often one of the first steps taken by SEO consultancies to beef up traffic to a destination site. Obviously, the more closely related the articles are to the kinds of traffic you want to target, the better this will work from an SEO perspective.
The site services a community, and provides communication tools for that community. The Web is largely about community, and involving community in your site serves several SEO purposes. Not only will your community help keep your content fresh, it's also self-selecting: if you enable your community with care it can help to tell you which topics are of interest, and what content areas will draw traffic.