What makes a website popular? This is a question I ask myself every time I come up with a new idea for a website. This article is to serve as sort of a list of things I find help to make a site popular and increase traffic. After all that's why we make websites right? To be popular, make money, or maybe its just to have a hobby. I've been creating websites for several years now, reading books on php, mysql, graphic design, usability and still I have not found a “be all" answer to having a successful website. Fortunately, I am a natural born problem solver with heightened troubleshooting skills, and I have an unwaivering will. . . most of the time.
So back to the main question. . . what makes a website popular?
* Everyone else likes it, there is visible activity of other people on the website.
In my mind there is nothing that makes me want to leave a website more then to find out it has little or no visitors. You've all seen them, they have forums loaded with categories, but no posts, or they show link click counters reading in the high single digit range. Unfortunately you do have to start somewhere, and most of the time its at the bottom where users don't generally congregate. If your site has little or no visitors try to hide that as well as you can. Example: If you have a forum start out with only a few categories and concentrate all your posts in those categories. . . you can always add more later on when you get more posts happening.
* Personality, the main content poster has a winner attitude.
Personality sells, just turn on your television and surf to your favorite show. . . why do you watch that show? I bet it's because you like the main character. Ask yourself, what is so special about me? There's got to be something interesting you can convey about yourself. If not, make something up.
* Pushing against the tide, being an underdog, fighting “the man. "
Remember that kid in your class that just wouldn't follow the rules. . . I bet you do. Everybody likes to see a person fighting the system, its in our blood as humans to fight against authority.
* Consistency, posting on a regular basis, being predictably unpredictable.
This is probably the hardest thing to do, to be consistent. You have to stick to some sort of a schedule, whether it be daily, once a week, once a month. . . just be consistent and your readers won't feel like they've been let down. I know from personal experience, that if a website I frequented slacked off at most two consecutive times, I was gone.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make a website popular. Treat your readers well, and they will return the favor.
Mark is an author on http://www.sharkfoo.com SharkFOO strives to help webmasters and bloggers increase their website traffic, popularity, and usability with different proven techniques