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Driving Web-based Traffic: Linking intelligently

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With the explosion of web logs and personal web sites, there's often the question posed by the owners of these sites, "Is anyone really reading my stuff?" Since Time magazine's announcement "Person of the Year: You" (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html?aid=434&from=o&to=http%3A//www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0%2C9171%2C1569514%2C00.html), undoubtedly many of us who publish content to the world wide web wonder how we may indeed impact the social, cultural, political and economic structure of the modern world. Free web-based traffic counters such as www.sitemeter.com, among others, offer a very simple and cost-effective means of keeping track of the number of visitors to our web pages. Increasingly, however, there remains the question of just how we can generate more traffic flow to our sites without paying a bundle for web services that promise listing in their search engine. I myself have attempted to engage several of these search engine providers, subscribing to their "free" service, only to discover that unless I am willing to shell out money, they reserve the option of deciding whether indeed my site will even be listed in their service.

Yet alternate means do exist that can help in some small way to drive more "hits" to your site without waiting for web surfers to accidentally stumble upon your pages in some web search that lists you as result number 2,595,201 among a possible three million sites. Although I am sure there are many ways of getting the results you desire without paying money, I will share with readers one particular way that has increased my traffic in a very modest way: online discussions and chat room postings.

For example, in responding to an ongoing discussion on MSNBC.com's Cosmic Log (
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/01/02/25212.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage), I chose to blog the topic on my own site, then link to the discussion. In a subsequent posting on Cosmic Log, I included my web log site which was published along with my message. Shortly after my comment appeared on their site, I noticed my site counter had actually increased a few, likely due to MSNBC surfers reading my post.

Additionally, during another posting in a discussion on faith (
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/2007/01/formative_religious_experience/comments.php?page=2), I added a link to my blog and indeed noticed a brief influx of viewers of my site. Although the results have been modest at best, it indicates a possible means of driving ever more viewers to my site in the hope that I main gain a few loyal viewers and maybe even regular traffic. The magic of cross-linking, for me, may turn out to be a good way of increasing traffic without all of the expense and hastle of search engines asking for money.

It's an ongoing experiment, however, one that will not likely yield readily definable results until I have had some time to evaluate its effectiveness by adding other links across the "webisphere."

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