How to Drive Traffic with Web 2.0 AppsMay 6, 2007
I had a particularly good day of traffic yesterday.
With that coming a day after my blog all of the sudden was upgraded to PageRank 5 from the PR4 that it’s been for the past few months, I figured it would be a good day to take another good hit at rounding up a doc (known as a “hat write-up” in Scientology Administrative Tech lingo) on how to drive traffic to a site using commonplace Web 2.0 tools.
It once was the case that the only way to drive a few thousand people to a site was by use of some serious paid advertising. And, while paid advertising continues to be an easy (if expensive) way to drive a volume of traffic to a site, there are a ton of ways to do it for free.
If you’ve got a site you’re trying to promote, the first thing to do is apply some basic Scientology Study Tech and get some of the basic definitions out of the way:
Web 2.0: Definitions of this are varied, but the essential meaning of this is the utilization of new web technologies to allow for two-way communication on websites, and thus allow for user contribution, collaboration, and more interaction with the site and the company than a website that simply displays pages. Examples of Web 2.0 sites are Digg.com (a site where you vote on and comment on what sites and articles you like best), del.icio.us, a site that allows one to share his or her favourite sites with others, and Flickr.com, a site that allows you to post, share, print, and generally display your photos.
Blog: [from Answers]: (WeBLOG) A Web site that contains dated text entries in reverse chronological order (most recent first) about a particular topic. Blogs serve many purposes from online newsletters to personal journals to “ranting and raving.” They can be written by one person or a group of contributors. Entries contain commentary and links to other Web sites, and images as well as a search facility may be included. Blogs may also contain video (see vlog).
Social News: [from Answers] This is the process of allowing users to submit, vote on, and make the news that they choose what is shown to them. The movement was created by community sites like Slashdot and Fark.
The idea of social news catapulted into popularity with Kevin Rose’s Digg, which combined del.icio.us and Slashdot’s features. Digg and del.icio.us have inspired a number of other sites including Reddit and Netscape.
Social Bookmarking: [from Answers] Ranking a Web site by users who like the content rather than by the total number of links to the site. Social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us or Kaboodle let users tag their favorite sites with key words and post them for others to see. See folksonomy and page ranking.
The First Rule of Thumb: Have Good Content
The first thing about utilizing Web 2.0 tools, is that you are appealing to the people when posting things. People will go see things that are cool, read things that are cool, useful, etc. People will stay away in droves from useless content. Anyone can pay to put up a Google ad leading to a terrible, pointless website – but try posting a stupid link on Digg.com, and you won’t get anywhere.
However, post a good article or two, make it known, and people will go there in droves.
So, the key, cardinal, unbreakable rule is that you have to have content that people will want to see. Two data I’ve found can help with coming up with content come from two essays by L. Ron Hubbard. From one, an essay entitled “News Releases – Fundamentals”:
“Editors never print releases which are not hard news or just an expression of an opinion. Some newsworthy fact has to start the article and the remainder of the article simply expands that fact. The fact must be newsworthy and timely.” — LRH
As an example of this, the post which generated all of the traffic on the graph at the top of this article, was a post that I wrote literally 10 minutes after I got the controversial e-mail in question from Sun. Speed enabled that post to be the first one that got onto Digg, and then onto LinuxToday.com, the source which provided a thousand or so visitors in the first 10 hours.
Additionally, as you are publishing for Group Agreement (something taken up in Dianetics), stories that end up popular on such social media channels are unfortunately the ones that L. Ron Hubbard outlined in his Scientology essay on the Press, where he said, speaking of newspaper reporters:
“If you want to give him a story he will publish you have to know these rules, for they are the rules he follows.
“The rules of newspaper writing today are very exact.
“And this is probably a far better analysis of the rules than he has, so you could surely win.
“To be printed a story must contain one or more of these things:
“1. HARM (blood, violence, damage, death, scandal)
“4. BIG NAMES
“5. The story must be written to INVALIDATE something.
“6. The story must contain a CONTROVERSY.
“7. A story must contain TWO OPPOSING FORCES.”
“This is the formula on which modern newspapers operate. They don’t publish any other kind of “news story”‘.
“If you inherited a billion happily from an uncle who loved you and were all set up to help the millions with it, the news story would be “Foul Play Hinted in Uncle’s Death. Rights of Heir Challenged. Sex Life Probed.” — LRH
I’m not saying that you should write like a newspaperman, spreading further garbage and rancor throughout the Internet like they’re already competently doing – but the data above holds true in real life, which is why writing a blog post on the adorable children in the Solomon Islands being helped to find a new home may get next to no traffic, but an article with big names and controversy might get a ton more.
How to Get Started:
There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of social bookmarking, blogging, link sharing, and news posting sites you can use to start driving traffic to your site or blog. The first thing to do is to identify what sort of public uses your site or blog, and then go after that public. From an L. Ron Hubbard text on Public Relations, entitled “Wrong Publics“:
“In PRese (PR slang) use “public” along with another word always. There is no single word form for “public” in PR. A PR never says THE public.
“There is the “community public,” meaning people in the town not personally grouped into any other special public. There is the “employee public,” meaning the people who work for the firm. Ther’s the “shareholder public,” meaning the birds who own shares in the PR’s company. There’s the “teenage public,” meaning the under-twenty people. There’s the “doctor public,” meaning the MD audience the PR is trying to reach.” — LRH
So, identify first what content your site has, and who it’s meant to appeal to. It’ isn’t just “internet user” or “person” that your potential audience is. It’s nerdy Linux hackers, or it’s parents in search of help for their kids, or what-have-you.
This is important, as for example, Digg.com is mainly people with computer guys, progressive teenagers and hackers, designers, opinionated politically-oriented individuals, etc. So, don’t try to post your nice story about the cute kids in the Solomon islands there.
Best practice is to start browsing through the posts and articles and see what they’re talking about and decide if you have something that would be of interest to that public.
For a list of good places to start with, have a look at the other article I wrote on Web 2.0 sites to try out.