My primary goal is to maximize the amount of organic traffic I can generate (and also attract visitors from social media).
Recently I have been working on my first website that covers my hometown of Chester in the UK - http://www.everythingchester.co.uk
I thank you in advance for your expert thoughts, tips, advice and reviews.
I guess I am still at the point of throwing loads at the wall and seeing what sticks. I understand the importance of honing in on a niche, but I am trying to cater to both Chester locals (News, Weather, Jobs, What's On etc) as well as tourists (Attractions, Hotels etc). Once I analyse what is working I will do more of that (and cull what is failing).
I am thoroughly enjoying the learning experience. I used to go fishing, and I see this as throwing out the ground bait. Once I have attracted enough hungry fish I will start seriously looking into monitising. There is no rush, I'm not looking for a get rich quick scheme, cash from this venture is not the main objective. It is more of an exercise in creating as much buzz and traffic from nothing.
With that said I am doing this on a shoe string, other than the domain name already purchased I am not looking to really spend much more money. I am happy to sink plenty of time into it, but not paid for traffic or adverts.
In April I started a Twitter account and have just over 3,000 followers. For this I follow various RSS feeds on Chester, then for 30 min on a Sunday evening I re-write the best content into short posts with an image and links, and schedule 2 - 4 tweets a day for the next week. I hash tag and use the follow un-follow strategy.
I bought the domain name and made my homepage live at the beginning of June. I have submitted xml sitemaps to both Google and Bing.
I have Google Analytics integrated so I can monitor traffic.
For SEO I have made sure my URL's contain keywords identified from my research using Google's keyword planner. I have internal links and have started to network offline with others in the Chester community, and so have just got my first back link's from another Chester site.
Feel free to view the sites source code. You will see I have added meta data for Google, open graph meta data for Facebook and meta data for Twitter cards.
I have embedded social media sharing buttons on every page, tried to minimise image file sizes as much as possible and included alt tags with keywords.
I have also integrated Tynt on every page, so I can capture email addresses and start building a list (but haven't had much success with sign ups).
The Twitter account seems to have taken off. The Facebook page isn't really doing much. My friends in Chester liked the page in the first week, and since then it has only gained a hand full of likes (tbf I don't really post specifically to Facebook, it is just reposting the tweets - I read that you should focus on one thing at a time, but I figured if I am spending the time with Twitter, I'd kill two birds with one stone by automatically reposting to Facebook).
Pinterest is generating some traffic, but not really gaining any followers. I recently started Instagram and so I am just experimenting with that at the moment.
The website has a lot of widgets and iframes embedded for fresh new content (News, Jobs, Weather etc) for repeat visitors and I am aware that this does nothing to help with SEO.
My next step is to add a lot more unique text content on things like attractions. I have plenty of word files of information that needs re-writing and posting.
Thanks for reading . . . I apologize for the length of the post, but I noticed a trend of Warriors hating vague posts and questions.
Any and all tips and suggestions for helping me rank in search engines, generating more traffic or optimizing the site and marketing strategy will be greatly appreciated.
Chris - http://www.everythingchester.co.uk