As you might mention, this blog is developed on WordPress.org engine and certain plugins, which help to promote it in Internet for all possible kinds.
I would like to tell a little about my experience of promoting this site.
First about some basic aspects of developing effective and attractive web site:
I am not going to speak about development tools and methods how to develop a web site. But what I would like to speak about is certain corner cases of your site to be considered during development.
1.1. think about your target group first.
And think about them again. Define your visitors major pool and only after that think about functionality of the site. I developed a site for an organization Shamir (http://shamir.lv). One of the requirements was to develop such structure and layout, so that old Jewish ladies were able to find whatever they want. And seems it worked pretty well. So, if your target group is youngsters of teen age, then ask their opinion and do in a different way, joking ;). The best way is to take a group of youngsters and to show them several examples of design, look on immediate reaction – it is the most truthful.
1.2. no flash please.
Don’t spend lot of money to make your site to look like Christmas tree. And even worse if your whole site is made on flash. Remember, there are some Operating Systems, which do not accept flash on web sites and cannot display it in proper manner. Anybody here has iPhone or iPad? You understand what I am talking about.
1.3. multiple language support
In European countries, where 1 language site is a nonsense, 2 languages is minimum requirement in most cases. During my work in web development, I worked out some best-practices:
- changing languages should lead to the same page, but not to home page. For example, you have English page and user wants to switch to Russian one. He clicks on language switcher and the whole page is translated to Russian. Even if you have no content translated to Russian, it is better to inform user with a message, like “Where is no translation to Russian, please return to English version”. Or just display English version of the content.
- Don’t use automatic translation scripts. There are number of plug-ins, which allow to translate the content of your site to huge number of languages, using Google translate API. Here is an example how not to do it http://www.justlovecookin.com/2011/10/tort-de-ciocolata-cu-swiss-meringue.html
Here are some technical advantages, which might bring you multilingual website:
Google search will populate your post in that language version that user is using. For example, User is coming from Russia and uses Google search on domain google.ru. Your web site has two languages: Russian and English. All the articles are translated to both languages. Google.ru will show only posts in Russian.
You can be sure, that Facebook like button or any other social buttons will post proper message to the wall.
Talking from WordPress perspective, I tried a lot of plugins for multilingual support. I stopped on Polylang. Here is a good article by WordPress team about multilingual support, advantages and disadvantages of various approaches.
I found the way, when two internally linked pages are created for two languages, the best solution for me.
Another important plugin for making your site multilingual is CodeStyling Localization. It allows to translate not translated plugins and themes to your languages.
Search engine optimization is a set of tools and activities to make sure, that search engines place your site in the first 5 search results.
There are certain methods of so called black and gray SEO. I am not going to talk about them, because they are illegitimate and immoral. There are lot of honest methods, which will allow you to attract users to your site from search engines.
2.1. Some technical stuff to say to your webmaster or even do it yourself.
2.1.1. Fancy URLs.
The first thing search engine site crawler is looking at is the address bar. It is looks like “http://yoursite.com/index.php?lang=en§ion=123&page=23423&comments=true”, it says nothing about the content of your page. But if it says “http://yoursite.com/very-important-news-from-our-organization” crawler will take this in consideration for sure.
In you WordPress administration console, go to Settings -> Permalinks and set proper view of your fancy URLs.
Note: try to place name of your post closer to the domain name. It is one of aspects, how search engines get the name of the post. If you have lot of similar posts per short period of time, then place year/month/date after the post name.
2.1.2. HTML markup.
HTML is how exactly your page looks like without interpretation of your browser. And it is how site crawler sees it. Webmasters should user proper HTML markup to make sure that crawler is understanding everything clearly. For example, tag H1 should be used only once on the page, because in most cases it contains the name of the article.
Good WordPress themes already take care of this aspect, but if you develop theme by your own, take this aspect in consideration.
2.1.4. populate your site-map to the search engine.
Most of search engines have special sites for webmasters. Google has Webmaster tools. Your site should generate sitemap.xml file and populate it to Google Webmaster tools. This can be done automatically, like does a plug-in for WordPress XML-sitemap. It regenerates sitemap.xml after each new post adding and populates to Google, Yahoo and some other search engines. As a result, your post is listed in search results just after some minutes.
If your target group is using Yandex.ru search engine, then use also Yandex webmaster tools.
2.2. What you could do by yourself?
Write more articles on related themes. One of the important points for search engines is activity on the site. Create blog or news stream and write more posts. Make a consultation blog and write posts how to deal with some juridical or educational problems. Any related to your activity post will attract interested people to your site.
Additionally, google recently integrated new methodology on site rating. And it foresees number of clicks on the article from search results.
3. Social networks promotion
During last 2 years I was experimenting with various social networks to promote my site. I tried Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LiveJournal.
You want to get more social network attraction. In this case, make sure, that your site pages have Like-buttons for each one. Like-button is a very good way to make your visitors to attract even more from their networks.
Use WordPress plugin Simple Facebook Connect. It is just the best FB connection plugin. It is flexible and allows not only to place Like button on each of your pages, but also to login to the site, using Facebook credentials and integrate Facebook comments plugin.
Otto did another wonderful plugin Simple Twitter Connect. It allows to twit, login and comment, using Twitter account.
Plus One Button allows you to plus the page by your Google account.
Ultimate Google Analytics is a very good plugin to enable Google analytics on your site. Several months ago, I started using Google real-time analytic as a beta-tester and this is a wonderful tool for tracking immediate activities after you post your page to any of social networks.
Hope this article helped you a little to understand how to improve your site attendance.
As a small illustration to the article analytic of this site visits for the period 01.10.2011 – 29.02.2012, 4 last months.