#HHDar Optimising your website for more traffic
The Dar es Salaam March gathering covered methods to increase traffic to online platforms.
By Zahara Tunda
How do you promote your website to increase traffic and engagement on your online platform? The Hacks/Hackers Dar es Salaam meetup in March was a gathering of journalists, bloggers and people with an interest in improving the number of visits to their websites and other online platforms.
The facilitator for the meetup was Khadija Mahanga, a technologist with Code for Tanzania. Khadija shared some simple tricks one can use to promote a website, including the use of search engine optimisation (SEO) to place your site and ensure that people can easily find it.
More tools are the importance of using accurate and appropriate page titles, descriptions, keywords, and a structured mark-up to increase visibility and improve traffic to your site. She showed participants the correct way of organising a website, which is to use words for URLs that are relevant to your site’s content and structure, making your site friendlier to use and easier to navigate for visitors.
Khadija’s recommendations for your site:
- Split your site into multiple distinct sections, for example domain/section/article
- Use breadcrumb lists
- Use https:// where possible
- Show useful 404 pages
Things to avoid when organising your website hierarchy:
- Using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs
- Choosing generic page names like “page1.html”
- Using excessive keywords like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-, baseballcards.htm”
- Using CSS or text styling that make links look just like regular text
- Creating complex webs of navigation links, for example, linking every page on site
Khadija further explained why it is important to block unwanted crawling by using robotstxt.org. Web robots are programs that transverse the web automatically. Search engines such as Google use them to index the web content and spammers use them to scan for email addresses — they have many uses.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for our May meetup.
The worlds of hackers and journalists are coming together, as reporting goes digital and Internet companies become media empires.
Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code.
Hacker-journalists try and bridge the two worlds. Hacks/Hackers Africa aims to bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of our world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualise information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload and collapse of traditional business models for legacy media, their work has become even more crucial.
Code for Africa, the continent’s largest #OpenData and civic technology initiative, recognises this and is spearheading the establishment of a network of HacksHackers chapters across Africa to help bring together pioneers for collaborative projects and new ventures.