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Four ingredients for website traffic

Everyone who has a website wants more traffic coming into it. Unfortunately, webpages are a dime a dozen and most will languish in obscurity. There are a million articles about how to drive traffic to your web site, but here's my take.
There are four main ingredients for increased web traffic: participation, originality, time, and a good dose of luck.

1. Participate. Being active in the community will not only give you more backlinks, but it gives you a chance to show people your opinion and information is valuable. It helps if you're already a member of communities that are related to your site topic, but if you're not, there's no time to start like the present. If you can help people out with your knowledge or participate in debates with your opinion, and people get to know you or even respect you, they will want to see more of what you write.

2. Be original. They say there's nothing new under the sun. But, there is always a way to put a new twist on an old concept. If you have original content, people will find you. If you have something that people can't get anywhere else, then well, they will get it from you! When you've got something that is actually unique to say, other people will pick your story up and link to you. Try to find something that is truly yours, and run with it.

3. Be patient. The traffic might not come rushing in, but in time, it will grow. An older website not only has a better pagerank, but the author has had more time to write more articles and develop their style. The more articles you have, especially if they are original, the more people will find you by searching.

4. Get lucky. Sometimes, there isn't anything you can do; the dice just decide your fate for you. That's OK. Work hard at the other three steps, and maybe you will get a new wave of traffic, or maybe nothing will happen -- until, one day someone catches your story - you get Digg'd, or Slashdotted, or Stumbled Upon, or whatever. It happens to some people and it doesn't happen to others.

I get a fair, but not huge, amount of traffic on one of my other blogs, so here is my real-life example of putting these ingredients into action:
1. I'm very active on a forum targeted to my readers, not in order to increase my web traffic, but because I earnestly love my hobby (knitting). I read and learn things from others, and I contribute when I can.
2. I write informational articles garnered from my own experience, not cribbed from other sources, and I also design patterns, both for sale and free. Both drive traffic to my site. Patterns are original content, that people cannot get anywhere else, so I am providing them a service -- and if they like it, they will return and I've gained a new reader.
3. I've been blogging for more than three years, averaging at about 2-3 posts per week. That's a lot of posts - not all my content is gold, but sometimes the search engines pick up the things you'd least expect. I'm one of the only people to have written about a certain technique, so I get a good amount of traffic from that (which ties back in to original content).
4. Every once in a while I get a surge of traffic from a big site - which is great. I get a few new followers, my advertising prices shoot up, and while most of those new visitors don't stick around, at least a few will. So, ignoring the spikes, my traffic rises steadily, if slowly. And the more that these spikes happen, the more exposure you get, so it builds exponentially. Nowadays, whenever I release something new, I will get a big spike.

Hopefully you can put some of these things into action, and it will do you some good.

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