Why do websites lack for visitors?

November 12, 2004 by Diane Vigil in

If you build it, won't they come? It used to be said, with regard to websites, that "If you build it, they will come". This may once have been true but, in any case, it isn't true today.

Many — and perhaps most — websites today are not successful, and one of the main causes is that they are not easy to find. For, whether you have an off-line "bricks and mortar" shop or an online store, getting customers to visit is part of the formula for sales. Today, the bulk of new website visitors arrive via search engines; if your website cannot be found in the first few pages of search results, it will get few, if any, visitors.

Why is this? Simply:

  1. There are far more websites — and pages within websites — on the Web today than there were when the "if you build it, they will come" statement was made.
  2. This results in far more competition, and savvy competition, at that.

The Invisible Web

The term "the Invisible Web" refers mainly to websites that are built such that search engines never find them and/or can't pick up their pages. The usual cause is:

  • incomprehensible (to search engines) web addresses generated by databases
  • incorrectly built (for search engines) Flash websites
  • poorly coded websites that search engines just don't follow

Getting Visitors

Of the methods of obtaining website visitors available to website owners, the two foremost routes are: paying for visitors, and ensuring that their websites rank well in search engines. Both are valid, and utilizing both methods can ensure covering a broad base of potential customers.

(1) Paying other websites for each visitor who clicks through to yours (called "Pay Per Click") is a quick method of getting instant traffic to your website. It can also be costly, particularly for certain types of terms (i.e., for certain industries) and especially over the long haul, so it pays to ensure that your profit margin can more than make up the fees. High PPC costs are also an indicator of a need to prepare your PPC marketing campaign more carefully — which can be done skillfully and successfully.

(2) Obtaining high search engine rankings for your chosen search terms (called "search engine optimization") requires special skills not normally included within the "web design" set of skills. Search engine optimization is best — and most cost-effectively — done during the planning and building stages of website design. Considering that a website is not a quickly-designed flyer but a full-blown marketing vehicle, it pays to ensure that it will be able to attract visitors over the long haul. Search engine optimization is an added value that can enhance your website's ability, in and of itself, to attract visitors to your website.

Again, both methods of ensuring that your website is not invisible to visitors are valid and can be highly beneficial. The only difference between "then" and "now" is that there are far more websites on the Internet, and the competition is fierce. Thus, it is up to you — and your web design team — to ensure the viability and competitiveness of your website.

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