September 19, 2014

Preparing Your Website for Social Media Traffic: Don’t Be Caught Unprepared

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Social media marketers have several goals, including large amounts of traffic, link building, and branding. However, in order to benefit from the visitors that are sent from social media websites, you’ll need to be prepared. Unfortunately, reaching the front page of a popular social media site doesn’t mean that you will automatically benefit from the traffic. If you’re not prepared, the traffic will come and go and you’ll be left will little to show for your “success.”

Hosting

Some social media sites, such as Digg, will send thousands of visitors in a very short period of time. “The Digg Effect” has been known to crash servers, preventing visitors from being able to access the site. If you plan to use social media to promote your site, the first thing you should do is sign up for a quality web hosting plan. There are plenty of low-cost options when it comes to web hosting, but most of them will not be able to support this kind of traffic. Your best choice is to get a dedicated server or to use a grid service like Media Temple’s .

The added cost of a quality hosting plan may seem like an unnecessary expense, but if you’re site goes down right after hitting the front page of Digg, you’ll realize how priceless quality hosting can be.

Design

Social media success will bring thousands of first-time visitors to your site. Keep in mind that the first impressions of these visitors will heavily influence their opinions of your site and whether or not they return in the future. The appearance and design of your website will be one of the most significant factors in the first impression of new visitors . Be sure that your site is ready to be seen.

Subscription Options

Getting a huge amount of traffic from social media is nice, but one of the best ways to convert this traffic into long-term gains is to build subscribers. Getting social media visitors to subscribe can be difficult, but it can be done. With a large volume of traffic your conversion rate (conversion of traffic to subscribers) can have a big impact on the success of your social media campaign.

In order to gain subscribers, place your subscription links prominently where visitors will see them as soon as they enter the site. If you are currently only offering RSS subscriptions, consider using a service like FeedBurner to be able to offer email subscriptions as well.

Another thing to consider for building subscribers is that you will want to stay on-topic as much as possible. Frequently, content that is created specifically to target social media users will stray a bit off the topic of the website or blog in attempt to get more attention. While it may succeed at getting more attention, you’ll have more success at building subscribers if the content is a strong fit with the typical content of the site and if it reaches out to the same target audience.

Navigation

Most of the visitors that you receive through social media will view one page and leave your site. However, some will want to look around at more of your website or blog. Keep in mind that most of these people will not be familiar with your site, so it should be easy and logical to navigate. Many visitors will be looking for an “About” page.

Buttons for Voting

If you are targeting a specific social media site, you may want to consider adding buttons, links or widgets that allow visitors to easily submit a vote for you . Digg buttons are popular, but most social media sites provide the code for you to use if you want to target their site. Not only do these buttons make it easier for visitors to vote, but they also remind people to vote. Some of your visitors will be willing to vote, but they may not even think about it.

Internal Linking

If your page draws a large amount of traffic from social media, any link that is within the context of the page is also likely to receive a decent amount of traffic. Using internal links with the content has a few advantages. First, it will help you to keep more visitors on your own site rather than sending them to other websites. Second, if other people copy your popular content (which happens all the time) you’ll also get a few links from their site if they leave the links in tact. Third, the internal links can help to increase your search engine rankings.

Prepare Follow Up Content

If your social media campaign is successful, some of those new visitors will be subscribing or returning to your site in a few days. Because of this you will want to put real effort into creating effective follow up content that will also interest those visitors. If they’re new to your site and your follow up content doesn’t interest them, the chances of them continuing to read or visit your website will decrease.

Super Cache for WordPress Users

WordPress users will find that the combination of high amounts of traffic and a significant number of calls to the database can really slow down a website, and sometimes cause the server to crash. The Super Cache plugin will help this situation by caching pages and displaying them as if they were basic HTML pages. While this plugin does not reduce the need for quality hosting, it can help your WordPress site to more efficiently handle high volumes of traffic.

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

12 comments

  1. Fantastic article, you really covered everything in it.

  2. I’ve also heard good reviews of Media Temple’s hosting, but like you already mention, its ridiculously expensive!

    All valid points, you would know best considering the number of times you’ve hit the front page of Digg!

    I’d also only heard of WP Cache, reading through the overview, the Super Cache seems a better option, thanks for the heads up!

    Stumbled!

  3. Karthik,
    I wouldn’t say Media Temple is ridiculously expensive. $20 a month for the shared grid server is pretty good. Compare that to paying $10 and having a crappy service. I have found their product and service to be well worth the $20. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. I am sure that my blog is not ready for a Digg homepage traffic avalanche but if one thinks that the quality of contents on his/her blog deserves or aims at frequent social media front page featuring, they should be ready right from the start. Many new bloggers are not prepared for it because they sometimes don’t know how good they are.

  5. Steven,

    The most important piece here is preparing follow up content. If you are implementing a SMM campaign then this is really important.

  6. I had never heard of the super cache pluggin, may have to give that one a try. Do you prepare multiple articles at the same time, or create one large article and break it up into smaller chunks to guarantee follow up posts/

  7. Adam,
    Personally, I usually have several different articles ready or very close to being ready at the start of each week. I usually don’t break them up, but that’s just my method.

  8. Very well put together, clean article..have been reading few of your articles man You really punch it in the Nose..

    Looking forward to reading more in the Future.. Oh have a question.. I would like to use some of your stuff not on my site but on another site I will give links back to Your article..

    Oh and for Speeding up a website here is a simple trick.. Move Your:
    %3Cmeta%20http-equiv=%22Content-Type%22%20content=%22text/html;charset=utf-8%22%20/%3E%20

    letting it be the first thing proceeding the your tag.

    STRAIGHTALK
    Norman Flecha

  9. darn it here goes again, sorry!

    text=%253Cmeta%2520http-equiv%3D%2522Content-Type%2522%2520content%3D%2522text%2Fhtml%3Bcharset%3Dutf-8%2522%2520%2F%253E%2520

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