Tuesday, 25 January, 2005

Increasing site visitors

If you're writing a Web diary (blog), you're probably interested in how many people visit your site.  I've been writing my Random Notes for over four years, but had never tracked visitors on a regular basis.  I did have something that'd tell me how many hits I got, but hits don't tell the real story.  Every time the Googlebot reads a page, it counts as a hit.  The important numbers are unique visitors and visits.  As part of my hosting package at Sectorlink, I get very detailed reports on the number of visitors, visits, pages served, and hits.  The reports differentiate between hits by automated crawlers and visits by client programs like Web browsers.  This gives me a very good idea of how many people are visiting the site.

I started keeping close watch on the number of visitors when I added my RSS feed last summer.  At that time, I also started submitting my site to search engines and aggregators such as Weblogs.com, syndic8, and Technorati.  Since then, I've doubled the number of visitors to my site.

A colleague recently sent me a link to a feed submitter that will submit your RSS feed to 15 RSS aggregators as well as Google search and Yahoo search.  You simply enter your feed URL and your email address, and the program automatically submits it for you.  I did that last week, and two days later I noticed an increase in activity to my site.  I can't guarantee that submitting was the cause, but it sure looks suspicious.