You had the best of intentions when you started your website, but it is not getting many visitors and you haven’t touched it in months–or even years. It’s not hopeless! Here is what you can do to bring your website back to life and start generating traffic (and ultimately revenue) from your site.
Fix what’s broken. Check the navigation on your site. Do all of the links lead visitors to active pages? Run a link checker (such as the one at http://www.addme.com/link-checker.htm) to see if there are dead links on your site and fix any you find. Is your contact information correct? Is the copyright date current? Are you still promoting your “upcoming” October, 2008 event? Are there features on your site (e.g., audio or video, widgets, tools, etc.) that no longer work? Does your site have a Flash intro? (Lose it. Now. Really.) How long does it take your site to load? Visitors will not stick around waiting for a slow site. Before you do anything else, get your site up to date and working well.
Add content. When is the last time you added articles, news, event listings, press releases and other content? Uh, huh. I thought so. That is too long ago. Get a few things on the site immediately, and make a plan to continue adding new content at least every couple of weeks.
Get social. Attract visitors to your site by participating in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Social media is about creating relationships, not selling. However, when you engage with people who share your interests, many of them will visit your site to read your new articles and learn more about you. Bookmark your new (and best) stuff on sites such as Delicious.com, Digg.com and others.
Participate in forums where your target market hangs out. Network with people there. Remember, it’s not about selling, it is about creating relationships. Create a profile. Participate in discussions and be helpful to other members. Create a signature file that you use in your forum posts so that people who are impressed with your knowledge and sharing can visit your site.
Start an email list. When people come to your site, ask for an email address so that you can keep in touch with them. Offer tips, news and other information they want to receive. Let them know they will be the first to learn when you have new content on your site. Bribe them to sign up by offering a free ebook, audio program or other downloadable bonus. I use Aweber to manage my email lists.
Start a blog. One reason many people do not update their websites is that they can’t. A web designer set it up for them, and when they want to add or change anything, they have to get the designer to do it. With a blog, you can easily add content whenever you wish. Add a blog to your existing site, set up a blog on a separate site, or (in extreme cases) consider tossing out your current site and starting over with a blog. If you are truly intimidated by technology, you may want to hire someone to set up the blog. Once it is up and running, though, you can take over.
Keep the conversation going. Once you are actively participating in social networks, adding content to your site and/or blogging, keep doing it. Respond to comments on your blog. Send out news and information to your email list. (You can use the RSS feed from your website or blog to automatically generate a newsletter with Aweber.) Guest post on other blogs and invite other bloggers to post on yours. (Use http://BloggerLinkUp.com to find compatible bloggers.)
It won’t happen overnight, but you will see your site come back to life with more traffic than ever before.