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web site hits

Started by Seamus, December 03, 2009, 06:11:51 PM

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So we have a website and some product out. On a good day we get about 17-20 unique hits (usually when I make an announcment on a forum or run banners). What do you think are reasonable numbers to expect, and does anyone have suggestions (preferably cost effective ones) to increase hits to our website?
Bedrock Games

Ben Lehman

I don't run numbers on my site.

Have a blog or a forum. That's a good way to get your numbers up. Mostly repeat visitors, natch, but those are good for sales.

Ron Edwards

Hi Seamus,

I think you'll find the Guerilla and Viral Advertising Tactics thread interesting, especially once it gets past a couple of introductory points, about halfway through.

Best, Ron


Well, first I would understand what a "hit" means in your tracking program. Traditionally a "hit" meant any visit to any of your web pages, so one person visiting 4 pages on your site would constitute 4 hits. "Unique hits" is what will tell you how many unique people you had visit. But these terms are not universally used the same, so its good to understand what your server stats are telling you.

At the end of the day, the number of unique visitors you get is only a small part of the equation. 10 highly interested visitors can often be worth more than 500 random visitors. We get several thousand unique hits to our sites, collectively, per day, but as the number of folks you get through the door increases, that broadening of interest groups brings about a lower sales conversion rate overall.

If your site is new, the best two to three things you can do to bring it more exposure is:

1) Industry specific announcements whenever you have something new and interesting to announce about your company and/or its products. Generating those "interesting" events on an ongoing basis is the challenge.

2) Get your site listed in any and every possibly relevant search engine and directory out there. That your game is included in every directory of said game types.

3) Participate in forums and groups relevent to your game and/or the genre/themes present in your game. Don't spam advertise, but rather partake of the discussions there when you have something interesting or useful to contribute. But make sure your signature promotes the name of your company and the product/brand you are trying to promote and include a link to your site. The more useful your contributions are to the community, the more people will read your posts and hence the more who will get curious about the things you are involved in and follow the link back to your site.

There is, of course, the who newfangle social networking range of sites. They have something of their own networking approaches, but really, its just a different angle to tackle point #3. I advise to only bother with a social networking site if you can join or attract relevent communities through said sites, otherwise, its a case of you have to go where you potential consumers are, whatever sites, forums, etc they might be at.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group -
Guild of Blades Publishing Group -
1483 Online -
Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group


Bedrock Games


Ryan points out three strong ideas for driving traffic to your site. #3 is by far the most important because very few people read those announcements and if people don't know about your game, they're not going to search for it.

Ben touches on another side to this process. Driving traffic is nice, but in order for the effort to pay off, you have to give people a reason to stay and a desire to return. Right now your site is poorly laid out and, as far as I can tell, has no forum or blog or any other type of interaction.

And if I may give some unsolicited advice: Get rid of the ads. Clean up the layout so that it clearly advertises your product, not a lonely masif. Place your logo in a visible, but discreet place on the front page. No one cares about your company. They want your product.


Quote from: Luke on December 12, 2009, 06:04:30 AM
Ben touches on another side to this process. Driving traffic is nice, but in order for the effort to pay off, you have to give people a reason to stay and a desire to return. Right now your site is poorly laid out and, as far as I can tell, has no forum or blog or any other type of interaction.

We are putting together a forum we hope to have operational soon. The most we have right now is our Yahoo Group.

I do agree with the layout, but I must admit, I am not the most tech savy person. We built our site using the Intuit service because it was affordable and usefriendly (HTML and I do not get along well). I have been thinking of turning our product page into our first page, but still the layout issue remains. I looked into Intuit's web design services but they are nearly 600 dollars for minimal projects. Way out of our budget for that sort of thing.

Thanks for the advice. I will see if I can work out a better layout.
Bedrock Games


Fancy and expensive is bad. You have the capabilities to design a simple, clean web page: logo, product, blurb, links. You also have the ability to clean out all of the dross from your current template. Just strip it bare and put your product up front.

Look at other people's websites. Most of them are off-the-shelf software slightly customized. Most you should be able to download right from your host and install directly on your server.


Eero Tuovinen

As a contrast to Luke's advice on driving people to your site, a thread from a couple of months back comes to mind: Blog, Forum, or Website? deals with the issue of when and why you should use interactive content features on your website. I'm myself a firm believer in small press websites that are static and underdeveloped, as the other option so often is overdevelopment. Having a forum works for Luke, as he has several hundred fans all over the world willing to interact with each other on the forums. Unless your success is already on that scale, it's still too soon to start your own forum. It's an empty, superficial web-creature gesture. What's worse, developing the website is often work that is not being done on the real content - although this is not the case with you, as the webside design is effectively being outsourced by using ready-make solutions. An overall better solution for the humble small press publisher is to concentrate on making his presence known in pre-existing web communities by participating in them; this will drive traffic to his static website and inspire on-going discussion of his work on those community sites.

Speaking of ready-made, I agree with Luke's assessment - your site is chaotic and unnecessarily full of stuff. I understand that it's difficult to really control this stuff if you don't know the relevant web technologies, but perhaps you should go down even more steps in the tree of accessible sitemaking solutions. Like Luke says, there are plenty of off-the-shelf, free solutions that don't require anything more difficult than downloading and ftp-uploading the thing to your site. The trick is to choose a solution that's naturally good-looking, adaptable and well documented, so you can grow into a power-user with your content management system. My own favourite software that hits all of these points has lately been Wordpress, but there are many others as well.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Sebastian K. Hickey

Hi Seamus,

My website gets very few unique visits per day (30), but considering I've done very little to promote it, I'm happy with the figures.  To offer feedback on the subject, maybe as introduction to an ongoing failure/success story, I'll tell you what I've done to promote myself so far.  I've blogged the design process of my competition entry for the Two Games One Name competition, I've put up some artwork from one of the artists working on the release version of that product, and I've popped my name (like you'll see below), on the bottom of the posts I make about the project.

I've also dropped a couple of playtest reports on RPG Net, and that's where most of my visitors come from.  There are a few repeat visitors who must like keeping up with my design news.

I admit it may not have mass appeal, but I think it's a kind of simple, sexy little website in its own, spidery way. As long as those 30 people keep coming to the site, I'll be a happy chap.

In the past, particularly when the competition results were announced, the figures doubled.  At that time, there were several threads in Story Games with a referral link, as well as the main competition website's link. In short, assuming that none of the posts were brash and annoying, the more links that existed in webspace, the more people visited my site.

Cobweb Games - http://www,
Little tweets -


Last post was a while ago, but this is my area of expertice and I feel a few things should be mentioned here. Hopefully you'll find it useful.

First of all, go get Google Analytics and set that up on your website. It's free and it gives you all the statistics you need to analyze the useage of your website. Just counting hits will do you nothing, you have to see if the visitor was a search bot or a real person, if that visitor stayed and continued to other pages or went away at once and other such data. Getting some real statistics is key to knowing how you should work with the site.

For each page, write four or five keywords. Not more. Every keyword you add will "water down" the overall effectiveness of the keywords. You can think about it in terms of percent: All keywords have a 100% effectivity, but since most people will only search for one or two keywords at a time you can never expect that turnout. Each keyword is worth (100/[# of keywords])% and already at five keywords, that's 20% per word. Some people load up on lots of keywords to try and get many visitors, but if you add 50 keywords, each individual word will only be worth 2%. Also, and this is very important, the keywords are USELESS if they are NOT in the actual copy of the page! Google will look at the contents and the met-keywords and if they don't match, the site is not deemed interesting for Googles customers (the people using Google to search) and is given a low ranking.

Let's take "" as an example. The first page contains 50 keywords including variations, but the only visitor visible text is the menu, an ad for RPG-life and an ad for Intuit. This is actually worse than not having any keywords at all. I'd recommend cutting down the amount of keywords to about five and then writing some nice copy that explains what the site is about, making sure that the keywords are featured in the text. Also, "Bedrock Games" is not a keyword that needs to be added or optimized, it will do that automatically since few others will use the name anyway.

When deciding on keywords, use words relevant for the page that you believe people will actually use when searching. For example, the keyword "muslim" is probably not relevant because people searching for "muslim rpg" or similar are probably not looking for a terrorist game. Getting a lot of visitors is useless unless those visitors are interested in what you're offering.

Next, write some good copy. Each page should have a nice full text that let's the visitor get a good feel for where they are and what they're looking at. Sometimes that text needs to be short (one paragraph having only two or three sentences) but mostly you want to add a decent amount of text so that you use about 200-400 words. If you need to write more, try to break it up into more pages.

Use semantic HTML! Do it! No table based layouts, no wierd use of elements, NO MS WORD! To get the best results you need perfect control over your code, and that can only be achieved by knowing how HTML works. If you can't write good HTML (or get someone who can to write the code) your site will suffer for it. Here are a few starter points:

  • Use the h-elements for headings, not a p-element with a different style. Keywords in headings are given extra attention by Google and you will miss out on this if you only use p-tags.
  • Never use the font-tag, use an external CSS instead. The code/text ratio is important.
  • Google cannot read images - use plain text everywhere. If you must have an image with text for some reason, use an image replacement technique to get the text too.
  • When CSS is off, the page should look unstyled, but structured and readable. When images are off, the page should still be readable.
  • If it looks good - it might still be crap. The code is important, don't just fall back on "it looks good to me" because Google will not care about the looks.
  • Use a text editor when writing your code and avoid WYSIWYG editors. Clean code comes from clean tools.
  • Use ONLY semantic markup and let your CSS handle all styling.

What tag to use where is actually quite simple to figure out. Pretend your site is going to be printed on paper, how would any piece of text be described then? A navigation menu would be described as a list of menu items, so any meny should be a list. A paragraph is a paragraph, a heading a heading and a table should only be used in the code if what you're creating is readily evident to be a table in print as well. Do you need a text-box or something like that? Use div-tags to group together your content and style those divs. You can even get frame-like layouts using divs, but you have much more control than with framsets.

Last, I would recommend always using XHTML 1 strict when coding. It triggers stuff in IE to make it behave more like it should and will ease some pain when coding. Also, always validate your page and correct any mistakes. I've seen too many people complain about their layout not looking the way they want in all browsers and then finding out they have not validated their code. It's simple and very useful.

Now, I know a lot of people out there have some knowledge about HTML and want to use it, either because of the ego-boost or because they can't afford a professional solution. That's prefectly fine, I don't expect everyone to become HTML-pros over night. A part of this hobby is doing things yourself and you won't learn anything if you don't. Therefore, even though my above text might seem harsh to some, I'm not in any way against people writing their own websites, even though they have no skill in HTML or layout (and I could write SO much more on layout...).

Good luck, and have fun!