With so many people betting on a crash in the venture capital and tech sectors, the billion-dollar question is how to make sure your startup avoids the oncoming tsunami collapsing on the shores of Silicon Valley. The simplest answer is to make sure that you have traction. The longer answer is that if you are a website or app, you need to have millions of pageviews and users.
If pageviews are the way to have your site survive the apocalypse, then the second question is obvious; how do you get these pageviews?
After my co-founders and I have been working on our site, Everipedia, a Wikipedia competitor, for the past year and a half, we have tried almost all of the methods out there, and the following information is what you need in order to hit millions of pageviews a month.
1. Maximize Your SEO
Many people will throw around the term SEO without really knowing what it means or how to implement it. In short, Search Engine Optimization is the name for quick tricks you can use to boost your pages in Google’s results. Google chooses its page order based on a few key factors: domain authority, keywords, unique content, and “do-follow” links.
Domain Authority (DA) is a score on a scale of 0-100: some WordPress blog you just started probably has a DA of about 0-5 on Day 1 whereas Wikipedia has a DA of 99. As you grow, this number grows, and so this aspect of Google’s algorithm is out of your hands.
Keywords will become important since these are the words you want to try to win in search. Since Everipedia is a wiki site, obviously one of our keywords is wiki.
Unique content is one of the more niche points; just don’t copy other sites, and you will be fine.
Finally, links on sites are all either “do-follow” or “no-follow.” Each site has a certain amount of “juice” that counts as endorsements of sorts. If you give out too many “do-follow” links, each is worth less and can potentially penalize you. Furthermore, the more sites and bigger sites you can get to give you “do-follow” links, the more endorsement “juice” you have (aka, the better you will do in search.)
2. Maximize Your SMO
While Google is a main source of traffic for many, social media is gradually becoming more and more important for not just branding but also website traffic and pageviews. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. all have unique tips and tricks, but the overall rule is to keep the content and conversations flowing. If your pages and accounts are not continuously updated with solid content, then your numbers will go exponentially down.
Furthermore, most of them use what I am dubbing, Social Media Optimization (SMO), where a number of times a page/account or link/company name is shared and talked about, the more likely it is to pop up in people’s timelines. Just as Google checks for backlinks, Facebook, and other social media sites check for mentions. Ensuring you get the number of mentions up will ensure that more people see your page and links, which will help you get exponential traffic.
3. Create a Community of Early Adopters
As is often said, a happy customer is your best branding. Looking at the lifespan of a company: there are about 10% of your eventual consumers that are “early adopters.” These individuals are likely to use the platform or service with little convincing, just since they “get it.” In order to grow and make the jump to mainstream users, it is key to find these early-adopters quickly and keep them engaged.
Facebook groups such as Next Gen Summit, serve not only to become an added branch and service of the company but also to help keep people involved with the company and allow them to have easy maintenance of marketing and sales directed at these early-adopters. If you want to mimic this approach, keeping good contact with these users is pivotal. I suggest email and chat, in addition to a Facebook group of some kind. If users are starting to die off and leave the herd, try to talk to them one-on-one and wrangle them back.
4. Get Press
Press serves two important purposes. Number one, the press gives your business validation. As arbitrary of a metric as it is, if you have a tech company and are covered in TechCrunch, that helps prove you worth and show that you are less likely to be a Ponzi scheme. Most investors and users who are less forward thinking will often look towards press for who the up-and-coming stars are. Number two, an exposé about your company will likely include a link to your site which will drive clicks.
Now the hardest thing about getting press is finding your way through the inbox of reporters. Writers receive hundreds of article requests a week and simply do not have time to open, read, and respond to them all. Craft your email and subject line in a to-the-point fashion that shows them the story and why they should write about you. It is not good enough to just tell them about what you are doing; you need to have an angle, like raising a Series A, getting a celebrity investor, having some pivotal event happen, etc.
Also keep in mind that a good chunk of writers, such as myself, write for the love of it and do not get paid for our work. So try to respect our time and make our job as easy as possible. This might even include writing an article for us, so we can at least get the creative juices chugging!
5. Align Your Content with Demand
If you are a writer, social media star, musician, or entrepreneur, you have an audience, and your traffic is only as good as the love your audience has for what you produce. If you take some time to analyze your traffic and demographics, you can see what does well and what doesn’t, who clicks and who doesn’t, and you can alter your strategies around these approaches.
For example, on average women make up about 60-70 percent of Everipedia traffic, and while we haven’t completely changed our approaches around this fact, as a team of five males, we try always to get female opinions on what we are doing to make sure we are keeping in tune with our consumers.
Overall, there is no simple task to make sure you get traffic, but if you can keep your name, brand, and site in front of the right consumers eyes, then you are on the right track to hit millions of pageviews in a short amount of time.
George Beall is a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has a deep admiration for true innovation and has been involved in multiple technology startups. He is currently on the founding team of Everipedia and an angel investor in Waves Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys horseback riding, discovering upcoming music, and binge watching Netflix.