I've been working on this site for about 2 years now. In this two years the site has grown somewhat popular, as evidenced by my statistics and by my placement in search engines. I'm frequently asked by others how to make their sites more popular. There are several ways to make a popular site. I'm not an expert in this field. I can only tell you how I did it.
First, I'm very comfortable telling you that there are no "secrets" or "tricks" that will get you great placements with Google. These Google guys are really quite good, and know far more about these tricks than I do. I've heard from a few people that you can do some tricky things, like buy a lot of web pages and have them all point at each other, and for just a little while this will dramatically improve your Google placement. However, within a couple of months the Google spiders figure out that you're doing this and you get blacklisted. Anyway, I'm not into tricks. I don't have any. Sorry.
There are two keys to attracting new readers to your web site. 1) When people type something into a search engine, your site comes up in the first 10 sites or so. 2) People post a lot of links to your site on forums, on their own web pages, and in emails to friends. Notice that you can't directly control either of these. The most popular search engines according to my statistics on my web page as of 3/05 are in order are Google (76%), Yahoo (13%), MSN (5%), AOL (2%), Netscape (1%), and 16 other engines that total 4% of my search engine visitors a month. So, your job, as I see it, is get the attention of Google, Yahoo and MSN, and the rest will take care of themselves.
There's a vicious / virtuous cycle about web pages. If a lot of people come to your site, then you get a high ranking with Google, Yahoo, and MSN. If almost nobody comes to your site, then you almost can't get a decent ranking no matter what you do. However, without a decent search engine ranking, it's difficult for people to find your site. It's up to you to "prime the pump."
I believe that in order to get a lot of traffic, you have to have valuable information on your site that people want to know about. Valuable information means valuable to them, not to you. If your information is that you're a great guy, your business is the best in the county, and your products are the best in the country, well, good luck. The information on my web page that's more popular is my articles on oil, my oil filter cross reference, and the lists of accessories for various motorcycles. Notice that essentially none of this information is about my products directly.
Once you have interesting information on your web page, it's up to you to attract your first 10,000 visitors or so. When you get up to about 10,000 visitors, then Google will start to notice you and you're in business. To attract people to my web pages, I spent about a year posting at various motorcycle rider's forums, answering people's technical questions, and offering a link to my web page. After several months of this, I developed a personal reputation for giving out solid technical information, and my web page developed a reputation for giving unbiased information about various interesting products.
Google has automated programs that wander around the Internet (the web) looking at what's out there. These programs are called "spiders." The spiders report back to Google about what they found. The Google computers then decide which of these pages are actually interesting. You can help the spiders classify your pages. You do this with a few techniques. Each of your HTML pages has a portion called the "head." In your <head> section, you should have the following four HTML statements: (copied from one of my pages)
The "keywords" statement tells the spider what search terms you think are most important for this page.
The "description" statement tells the spider what you think your page is about.
The "robots" statement encourages the spider to report your page back to its master, and to follow the links on your page to find your other pages. Most spiders ignore this, but we do what we can.
The "title" statement tells your visitor's browsers what to display about your page on the title bar, and what to use to describe your page if the visitor saves a bookmark to your page. Google pays very close attention to page titles, so you should too. Make them very short and very descriptive.
When you've got your web site in decent shape - there's information on the web site that you think is interesting to visitors, and you have at least a couple hundred visitors a day coming to your page, then you should specifically request that the search engines send their spiders to look over your pages. You do this by going to the search pages and submitting a request. Here's the most important places to make your request:
You'll get a lot of emails from people promising you better search engine placement. Interestingly, every time I look at one of these, my site has better placement than their site. So, I'm not impressed. There are also companies that will "submit" your site to "hundreds" of search engines. I find that Google, Yahoo, and MSN are 94% of everything. Many other sites, including AOL and Netscape, use the Google engine to do their searching. So, submitting to Google actually gets you a lot more than just Google.
Google has a secret proprietary algorithm that produces what is called a "page rank." Your page rank is determined by what other pages link to yours, and the page rank of those pages. Lots of links are good. Links from very highly ranked pages are very good. A page rank of 10 is superb and unreachable by mere mortals. A page rank of 0 means you are blacklisted. A page rank of 1 or 2 is pretty poor. A page rank of 5 or 6 is pretty good. You can find out your page rank with this code: <img src="http://www.prchecker.info/PR1_img.gif">
When talking about page statistics, one often hears about "hits." Hits is the number of times there was a request to your page to transmit a file. If a visitor goes to a page that has 23 pictures on it, you get 24 hits - one for the page, and 23 for the pictures. If he asked to download a large file, you can get many dozens of hits just downloading one file from your server. Anyway, real people never talk about hits. Hits are not at all relevant. What's interesting is "visitors," the number of unique people who visited your site that day, "Bytes," the number of bytes that went from your server to the visitor's computers, and "pages," the number of pages on your site that were viewed. If a particular person returns to your site several times in a given day, that only counts as one "visitor" for the day, although it may count as several pages and a lot of kbytes.
I maintain four web sites:
I started out making this site for myself - I wanted to get back in touch with Japanese motorcycles after 8 years on Harleys, and I wanted a place to keep track of things I wanted to buy or make. When I decided it was time to really understand this oil / oil filter issue, things sort of got out of hand.
I hand-coded most of this site. I tried using wysiwyg tools on HTML, but I've never been satisfied with what they do. I do occasionally use Seamonkey Composer to lay out a particularly complicated table, but then I edit the HTML in TextPad and put it into what I consider decent shape. If I'm just typing paragraphs of text, I also like to do that in Seamonkey Composer.
A big problem is making your pages look consistent without a ton of useless HTML to slow it up, and without buying into someone else's idea of the ideal page. There's no easy solution. If you have a large site, your real work will go into navigation. This is not so easy. I now use a barrage of tools - Textpad, PhotoScape, Filezilla, and Seamonkey Composer.
I recommend FireFox or
for browsing the Internet. It's free, much faster and more powerful than Internet Explorer, and
immune to most of the tricks used by web pages to attack your computer.
"Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Firefox browser." - USA Today
"Better than Internet Explorer by leaps and bounds." - FORBES
Filezilla - Free FTP file transfer utility. You'll need this to download / upload your web pages and images.
Seamonkey Composer - Free, passable wysiwyg web page editor. Comes with Seamonkey browser / email. In my opinion, you'll also need at least Textpad or Arachnophilia to edit your HTML directly. Composer doesn't quite do enough stuff.
TextPad - just a text editor. You know, as in "just a turbo carrera." Costs $27. I use it all day every day. The block select mode and regular expression search and replace are invaluable.
PhotoScape - Free image editing and management.
colorblender - Free color blender.
sitepro - Free color palettes.
colormatch - Free color schemes.
I was born in Green Bay, which makes picking a football team really easy for me: root for the Packers, or face my Mama. My sons are 4th generation Packer shareholders. On Sunday, we're rooting for our team. I also lived for a time in South Bend (Notre Dame) and Memphis, where I learned "Yes Sir" and "Yes Ma'am" will get you out of a lot of trouble. I live in California now, a beautiful but politically corrupt state.
I started riding motorcycles at age 13. I got the first of my many traffic tickets that year - for driving without a drivers license (You need a license?! Who knew???) I bought my first car at age 31 - cages really don't hold a lot of interest for me.
I've owned 28 motorcycles to date - 12 Suzukis, 8 Hondas, 3 Yamahas, and 4 Harleys. I've been about 545,000 miles on motorcycles. I've been in every one of the 48 lower states, on a motorcycle, wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. For some strange reason, a lot of people seem to like to tell me I'm stupid for riding in shorts, t-shirt and sandals. I find this very confusing: this is not at all how I'm stupid. If you want to know in detail how I'm stupid, my ex will be happy to fill you in. I used to race dirt bikes in the Mojave desert, but under those conditions I wore somewhat more clothing.
My favorite rides: Highways 49 - 4 - 108 - 120 in California. Henness Pass Road. Hwy 12 in Idaho (God made Idaho just so we could drive Harleys through it.) Hwy 20 in Washington. Sea-to-sky highway in B.C. Hwy 12 in Utah. Hwys 17 & 11 in Ontario. Anywhere in Vermont or New Hampshire. Hwys 7 & 3 in Nova Scotia. St. Lawrence Seaway. Blue Ridge Parkway (why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? East coast people are strange. . .) Mississippi / Alabama / Florida Panhandle coast. And the place of my birth, Green Bay.
I currently ride a Harley FLHRC Road King Classic and a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom.
I own California Scientific, the world leader in Neural Network based artificial intelligence. I also make and sell aerodynamic accessories for motorcycles. I have a degree in engineering, and am currently doing post-graduate work in theoretical physics. dτ = √( Uμ gμνUν ) dt. You heard it here first.
I publish these pages as a public service. I have no association with any of the other manufacturers or retailers listed. I don't make any money when you buy something from someone else. I don't get paid for listings, nor for referring customers. I have abused about 300 copyrights. If anyone wants to complain about getting some free advertising, just let me know and I'll be happy to remove your products and/or services from this list. I do get a few pennies every time you click on one of the google ads on my pages, so do feel free to click away.
The opinions on these pages are mine. Any mistakes on these pages are mine, too. If you happen to agree with me, by all means let me know: I just love people like you. If you have a bad experience with a vendor listed on my site, let me know: I remove listings for egregious bad business practices. If I list the company, I'm willing to do business with them.
Favorite quote: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - G.B.Shaw. I'd like my tombstone to say "Here lies an unreasonable man."
|2||71||Honda 90||10,000||17||90||Suzuki GSXR1100||12,000|
|3||72||Honda XL250||15,000||18||90||Suzuki DR350||5,000|
|4||73||Honda CB350||15,000||19||91||Suzuki Katana 1100||22,000|
|5||74||Honda CL450||12,000||20||94||Harley XL 880||15,000|
|6||74||Honda CB750||5,000||21||95||Harley FLHR 80||44,000|
|7||74||Honda CB750||65,000||22||97||Suzuki Bandit 1200||11,000|
|8||75||Yamaha 90||1,000||23||98||Honda VTR 1000||22,000|
|9||78||Suzuki GS1000||22,000||24||99||Harley FLHRC 88||57,000|
|10||80||Suzuki GS1100||20,000||25||80||Yamaha XS1100||1,000|
|11||81||Suzuki GS1100||22,000||26||03||Honda ST1300||59,000|
|12||82||Suzuki Katana 1100||12,000||27||04||Suzuki DL650||39,000|
|13||82||Suzuki GS1100||25,000||28||08||Harley FLHRC 96||26,000|
|14||83||Yamaha YZ465||1,000||29||11||Kawasaki Ninja 1000||2,000|