Friday, February 25, 2011

Woorank! Smart Website Analysis Tool

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Friday, February 18, 2011

International Conference on Digital Libraries and Knowledge Organization (ICDK 2011)

My Paper title “Developing National Repository of Child Health Information for India” published in the International Conference on Digital Libraries and Knowledge Organization (ICDK 2011) organized jointly by Management Development Institute (MDI), Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centers (IASLIC) and INDEST-  AICTE Consortium, IIT Delhi during 14 to 16 February 2011 at MDI Gurgaon.

For more pics -  ICDK - 2011 and ICDK at MDI

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

INTERNET V/s LIBRARIES - 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important

Many predict that the digital age will wipe public bookshelves clean, and permanently end the centuries-old era of libraries. Technology's baffling prowess and progress even has one librarian predicting the institution's demise. He could be right. But if he is, then the loss will be irreplaceable. As libraries' relevance comes into question, they face an existential crisis at a time they are perhaps needed the most. Despite their perceived obsoleteness in the digital age both libraries – and librarians – are irreplaceable for many reasons. 33, in fact. We've listed them here:

1.    Not everything is available on the internet

The amazing amount of useful information on the web has, for some, engendered the false assumption everything can be found online. It's simply not true. Google Book Search recognizes this. That's why they're taking on the monolith task of digitizing millions of books from the World's largest libraries. But even if Google does successfully digitize the sum of human knowledge, it is unlikely that the sum of contemporary authors and publishers will not allow their works to be freely accessible over the internet. It is already prohibited by law to make copyrighted books fully accessible through Google Book Search; only snippets. And it'll be a long time before that must-read New York Times bestseller gets put up for free on the internet: current copyright law protects works for 70 years beyond the death of the author.

Even some public domain works are off limits. If an out-of-copyright copy includes prefaces, introductions, or appendices that are still in copyright, the whole work falls under copyrighted status.

2.    Digital libraries are not the internet

A fundamental understanding of what the internet is – and what it isn't – can help more clearly define what a library is, and why libraries are still extremely important.
The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks clearly spells out the difference between "Online Collections" and the "Internet or Web Sources". The internet, this site explains, is a mass of largely unpublished materials produced by organizations, businesses, individuals, experimental projects, entrepreneurial webmasters, etc. "Online Collections", however, are different. They are typically provided by libraries and include materials that have been published via rigorous editorial processes. Works selected for inclusion in a library catalogue undergo vetting from qualified staff. Types of materials include books, journals, documents, newspapers, magazines and reports which are digitized, stored and indexed through a limited-access database. While one might use the internet or a search engine to find these databases, deeper access to them requires registration. You are still online, but you are no longer on the internet. You are in a library.

3.    The internet isn't free

While Project Gutenberg boasts 20,000 free, downloadable eBooks on its homepage, we are promptly reminded that these books are only accessible because they are no longer in copyright. And books are just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous academic research papers, journals and other important materials are virtually inaccessible to someone seeking to pull them off the web for free. Rather, access is restricted to expensive subscription accounts, which are typically paid for by libraries. Visiting the library in person, or logging in to the library through your member account, is therefore the only way to affordably access necessary archived resources.

4.    The internet complements libraries, but it doesn't replace them

To guide people in finding information, the Long Island University provides a helpful explanation of what types of resources can be accessed through the library. These include news, journals, books and other resources. Interestingly, the World Wide web is among these resources as yet another approach to finding information.

But it's not a replacement. The page goes on to differentiate and explain the advantages of libraries over the internet for research. It does cite the benefits of the internet, including "sampling public opinion", gathering "quick facts" and "a wide range of ideas". Overall, the point is well made: libraries are completely different institutions from the web. In this light, to talk about one replacing the other begins to seem absurd.

5.    School Libraries and Librarians Improve Student Test Scores

A 2005 study of the Illinois School Libraries shows that students who frequently visit well-stocked and well-staffed school libraries end up with higher ACT scores and perform better on reading and writing exams. Interestingly, the study points out that access digital technology plays a strong role in test results, noting that "high schools with computers that connect to library catalogs and databases average 6.2% improvement on ACT scores".

6.    Digitization Doesn't Mean Destruction

The eagerness with which libraries have jumped into partnership with Google Book Search is not the work of a lemming mentality. Libraries including Oxford University, University of Michigan, Harvard, the Complutense University in Madrid, the New York Public Library, the University of Texas, the University of California and many others have teamed up with the Google's project, not eschewed it. In return for opening up their stacks, these libraries will have all their books electronically available for their own members.

While it can be expected that fully out-of-copyright books will, on many occasions, be made fully accessible to the public, copyrighted materials – including subscription journals – will still be kept under restricted access. The reason for this is in part because Google Book Search's indemnity clauses don't reach that far; Google Book Search won't shield libraries from any liability that they might incur for overstepping the bounds of copyright. And there's a real cause for caution – Google Book Search is currently facing two major lawsuits from authors and publishers.

7.    In fact, digitization means survival

Daniel Greenstein of the University of California cites a very practical reason for digitizing books: in electronic form, books aren't vulnerable to natural disasters or pulverization that comes with age. He even cites the libraries destroyed by Hurricane Katrina as an important reminder of the vulnerability of "cultural memory".

8.    Digitization is going to take a while. A long while.

While book search has developed the air of an unstoppable movement rapidly breaking down library walls and exposing untouched treasure troves, it is breathtakingly far from reaching its goal. With an estimated 100 million books in print since the invention of movable type , the process has hardly made headway. Digitizing is expensive and complicated, and so far Google's million books digitized is just a drop in the bucket. "The majority of Information", said Jens Redmer, Google Book Search's European director, "lies outside the internet". But how long will it take to index the world's knowledge?

In 2002, Larry Page boasted that Google could digitize approximately seven million books in six years. Since 2004 Google Book Search has been plugging along through a series of fits and starts. By 2007, they have managed to index a million books. So, at the rate of approximately half a million books per year, digitizing 100 million books would take about"¦200 years. Assuming Google could shake off the legal and logistical challenges and crank out 7 million books every 6 years, the earliest possible completion date would still be 2092.  In the meantime, a larger user base will rely on local libraries, or online collections of what have been digitized. Dumping physical libraries before digitization is complete would leave library patrons in the lurch.

9.    Libraries aren't just books

Technology is integrating itself into the library system, not bulldozing it. Pushing this trend to its logical extreme (although it's likely not to happen), we could eventually see libraries' entire stacks relegated to databases, and have books only accessible digitally. So where does that leave librarians? Are they being overtaken by technology, the timeless enemy of labor? Technology is integrating itself into the library system, not bulldozing it. Pushing this trend to its logical extreme (although it's likely not go this far), we could eventually see libraries' entire stacks relegated to databases, and only be able to access books digitally. So where does that leave librarians?

Are they being overtaken by technology, the timeless enemy of labor? Not this time. In fact, technology is revealing that the real work of librarians is not just placing books on bookshelves. Rather, their work involves guiding and educating visitors on how to find information, regardless of whether it is in book or digital form. Technology provides better access to information, but it is a more complex tool, often requiring specialized know-how. This is a librarian's specialty, as they dedicate themselves to learning the most advanced techniques to help visitors access information effectively. It's in their job description.

10. Mobile devices aren't the end of books, or libraries

Predictions of the End of the Book are a predictable response to digitization and other technologies, and the crystal ball of some in the pro-paper crowd seems to also reveal a concomitant crumbling of civilization. One of the latest dark threats to paper (and society) seems to be Google's plan to make e-books downloadable to mobile devices. The iPod version of the novel is here. Google has already scanned a million books. Japanese train commuters are reading entire bestsellers on their cell phones. The end is near.

But if the mobile e-book is a hit and a lasting phenomenon, it's unlikely that they will be an all-consuming transition for readers. Radio lives on despite TV, film is still in high demand despite video, people still talk on the telephone despite email. People who like paper books will continue to read paper books"¦even if mobile downloads prompt the majority of publishers to release e-books instead of paper. After all, an immense backlog of printed books will still be accessible to readers. Where do libraries fit in supposing that mobile e-books actually do completely overtake printed books, the presence of the digital library will continue to be extremely important, whether it's paper or electronically based.

  1. The hype might really just be hype

Paper books aren't exactly doomed, even years after the invention of the e-book. In fact, by contrasting the merits of the e-book to those of the paper book, one could argue that paper books are actually a better product. It would be premature to write off libraries and their freely accessible books amidst predictions of e-books' impending prominence. Society could lose valuable access to a trusted medium – even if e-books do take off.

  1. Library attendance isn't falling – it's just more virtual now

With approximately 50,000 visitors a year, attendance at the American History Archives at Wisconsin Historical Society has dropped 40% since 1987. This statistic, when set alone, may prove sufficient for anybody casually predicting the Collapse of the Library. But it is only half the story. The archives have also been digitized and placed online. Every year the library receives 85,000 unique online visitors. The number of online schools offering online degrees is constantly on the rise as well. Many of these schools are improving their virtual libraries by the day.

  1. Like businesses, digital libraries still need human staffing

Even online businesses rely on quality support for better sales and customer satisfaction. The availability of email, phone and live chat services improve the experience of people seeking goods and services. The same goes for people seeking information. In return for paying taxes or library fees packaged with University tuition, library members should expect reliable "customer support" in exchange for their dues. Librarians are indeed very important in servicing their visitors. And still today there is no equivalent replacement to the library, which provides access to mountains of content that is not available through search engines or even Google Books Search, which only provides snippets and links to retailers where books can be bought.

  1. We just can't count on physical libraries disappearing

Physical libraries won't ever go away. Even as Google Book Search picks up the pace and libraries finance their own digitization projects, the future of physical library space continues to be necessary. This is because many libraries aren't digitizing yet and many may never digitize. There's a good reason: it's expensive. At a low estimate of $10 per book (and probably much more for older, more delicate works), digitizing an entire library of, say, more than 10,000 books – well, it adds up. And for many library users, they still depend on this traditional, effective approach to pinpointing information with onsite computers or librarians available to assist them.

  1. Google Book Search "don't work"

If a Google-style indexing of all the world's books were to mirror the company's well-known search service, one might have that much more fodder for the argument against keeping libraries around. After all, Google has great technology for searching the web, right? Couldn't we just bypass libraries? But experts point out that Google Book Search is far off from such user-friendliness as experienced with the company's internet search service. The lofty ideals of information-for-everybody are hindered not only by copyright lawsuits, but by the Google's own desire to be top dog.

 They're not about to hand over their index to other competitors, like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon and other non-partnered digitizing projects. The user loses out by not being able to access everything through his or her preferred book search service. By not giving up digital archives to their competitors, companies that take this competitive, corporate approach to digitization risk veering off the map, away from the philosophy of the public library. In the meantime, libraries should remain in tact and available to the general public.

  1. Physical libraries can adapt to cultural change

The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) is just one among countless groups that study and debate the evolving role of the physical library in the digital age. In a 2006 symposium the NCLIS created a report that calls for a refining of what physical library space is. Less like "warehouses", was one of the conclusions, and more like "intellectual crossroads for working, learning, teaching, and new types of programs."

  1. Physical libraries are adapting to cultural change

Anyone subscribing to the theories of 20th century thinker Marshal McLuhan might say that along with changed life patterns brought on by electronic technology, knowledge that was once encased in books and compartmentalized by subject area is now being liberally disseminated in an explosion of democracy, rendering obsolete the austerity of the lonely, echoing corridors of the Library. Interestingly McLuhan, who died in 1980, once even said: "the future of the book is the blurb". Indeed, this cultural change predates widespread use of the internet, as well as Google Book Search. For decades society has been seeking a more holistic understanding of the world, and increased access to information.

The search for new methods of organizing educational structures (including libraries) has long been active. And while libraries might not be on many peoples' "Top Ten Cutting Edge List", they have been adapting. Washington State University director of libraries Virginia Steel, for example, is a proponent of maximizing the social and interactive nature of physical library space. Group study, art exhibits, food and coffee – talking, not whispering; this is the new library. It's not obsolete, it's just changing.

  1. Eliminating libraries would cut short an important process of cultural evolution

The library that we are most familiar with today – a public or academic institution that lends out books for free – is a product of the democratization of knowledge. In the old days, books weren't always so affordable, and private libraries, or book clubs, were a privilege of the rich. This started changing during the 1800's, with more public libraries popping up and the invention of the Dewey Decimal Classification system to standardize the catalogues and indexes.

Libraries began blossoming under the watch of President Franklin Roosevelt, in part as a tool to differentiate the United States from book-burning Nazis. This increased interest in building a more perfect, liberal society culminated in 1956 with the Library Services Act, which introduced federal funding for the first time. Today there are tens of thousands public libraries in the United States. (More info on the history of libraries here).

  1. The internet isn't DIY

It could be said that the internet has endowed society with a giddy sense of independence. Access to all the world's information – and free search engines to browse it with – calls into question the need for a librarians, moderators or other such middlemen; the web, it might seem, is a do-it-yourself medium. But a quick look at the driving forces of today's internet shows us something different. The internet is intensely social and interactive, and has created communities of users that are often remarkably as tight-knit as they are large. The internet is serving as a tool for humans to fulfill their natural community building instincts – sharing, interacting and doing business.

The online economy is driven in large part by the web 2.0 philosophy of human interaction, peer review and the democratization of knowledge and analysis. Search engines rank web pages based on their popularity, social networking platforms pull in millions of visitors daily and the internet's most popular encyclopedia is written by the same people who read it.

Like Wikipedia, the most popular online meeting grounds are often the best moderated. Since riff-raff and spammers are an inevitable part of any society (whether physical or virtual), quality control helps contribute to the best online experiences. Good citizenship among online communities (intelligently contributing to the discussion, not pamming) is a surefire way to bolster your reputation as a helpful member of the group. In order to be fostered, this type of environment must be moderated. Interestingly, the role of the moderator very much parallels the role of the librarian: to safeguard an environment in which knowledge can be accessed and ideas can be shared.

The notion that libraries are a thing of the past and that humankind has sprouted wings and flown into a new era of self-guided Truth is nothing short of farcical. Unfortunately, it's this same notion that could lead to the dismemberment of libraries as stuffy and out-of-date. In reality, the quality of the web depends on guidance from the academic, library model. While moderators do have brush to clear in the new and savage cyber-scape, librarians have trail blazed significant parts of the journey.

  1. Wisdom of crowds is untrustworthy, because of the tipping point

The high visibility of certain viewpoints, analysis and even facts found online through social networking sites and wikis is engineered – ideally – to be the result of objective group consensus. Google's algorithm also hinges on this collective principle: rather than an in-house "expert" arbitrarily deciding what resource is the most authoritative, let the web decide. Sites with higher link popularity tend to rank higher in the search engines. The algorithm is based on the principle that group consensus reveals a better, more accurate analysis of reality than a single expert ever could. Writer James Surowiecki calls this phenomenon "the wisdom of crowds."

In a vacuum, crowds probably are very wise. But all too often we see the caveat to James Surowiecki's crowd wisdom in Malcom Gladwell's "tipping point", which, in this context, explains that groups are easily influenced by their vanguard – those who are the first to do something and who automatically have extra influence, even if what they are doing is not necessarily the best idea.

The highly social nature of the web therefore makes it highly susceptible to, for example, sensationalized, low-quality information with the sole merit of being popular. Libraries, in contrast, provide quality control in the form of a stopgap. Only information that is carefully vetted is allowed in. Libraries are likely to stay separate from the internet, even if they can be found online. Therefore, it is extremely important that libraries remain alive and well, as a counterpoint to the fragile populism of the web.

  1. Librarians are the irreplaceable counterparts to web moderators

Individuals who voluntarily devote their time to moderating online forums and wikis are playing a similar role to librarians who oversee the stacks – and those who visit the stacks. The chief difference between librarians and moderators is that while the former guides users through a collection of highly authoritative, published works, the moderator is responsible for taking the helm as consensus is created. While the roles are distinct, each is evolving along with the fast paced growth of the internet and the evolving nature of libraries. Both moderators and librarians will have a lot to learn from each other, so it is important that they both stick around.

  1. Unlike moderators, librarians must straddle the line between libraries and the internet

Admittedly, libraries are no longer both the beginning and ending point of all scholarly research. The internet is effectively pulling students away from the stacks and revealing a wealth of information, especially to one who is equipped with the tools to find it. Indeed, the dream of cutting out the middleman is possible to attain. But at what price? Media literacy, although an extremely important asset for scholars and researchers, is far from universal. Who is going to teach media literacy? Many argue that librarians are the best fit to educate people about the web.

After all, web moderators are concerned primarily with the environment which they oversee and less so with teaching web skills to strangers. Teachers and professors are busy with their subjects and specializations. Librarians, therefore, must be the ones who cross over into the internet to make information more easily accessible. Instead of eliminating the need for librarians, technology is reinforcing their validity.

  1. The internet is a mess

As one pro-librarian website puts it, "The internet in very few ways resembles a library. A library provides a clear, standardized set of easily retrievable resources".
Despite the slightly combative nature of this one-liner, its premise is essentially correct. Despite improvements in search technology and the creation of amazingly comprehensive sites like Wikipedia, the internet is still, in many ways, a free-for-all. Flooded with sites from all sorts of sources that inexplicably languish about or jockey for top positions in the rankings, the web is like an overpopulated Wild West. Many have taken confronted this chaos with grass-roots social networking sites or large, complex and highly successful efforts to organized information (Google, Wikipedia, et al). But despite these efforts, a morass of questionable pages still tends to be served up in many search results, and the credibility of each source accessed must inherently come into question.

Not that that's a bad thing. The oceans of information, uncertainty and spontaneity on the web can provide an exciting, enriching experience. But if you need to limit your search to logically indexed resources that have been published and then vetted by a professional staff, then the library is still your best bet.

  1. The internet is subject to manipulation

As long as the bright minds behind Google are coming up with a better search algorithm, the bright minds of search engine optimizers will continue to crack it. This could involve conforming to Google's quality standards or, in many cases, skirting around them. It is important for the user to keep in mind the limitations of Google. In many cases the search giant succeeds in serving up good information. But in many cases it still falls short.

In contrast, it is extremely hard to enter into libraries' indexes. Books, journals and other resources must be nothing less than high caliber, published material. If they're not, they simply don't get in.

Furthermore, the economic incentive to manipulate library collections is much less fierce than on the internet. It is estimated that only 4% of book titles are being monetized.
Meanwhile, Google alone is experiencing incredible earnings through online advertising, not to mention everyone else positioning for a piece of the Internet pie.

But libraries simply aren't facing this kind of pressure. Their way of providing information, therefore, will inherently be less influenced by corporate interests.

  1. Libraries' collections employ a well-formulated system of citation

Books and journals found in libraries will have been published under rigorous guidelines of citation and accuracy and are thereby allowed into libraries' collections.
These standards are simply not imposed on websites. They can show up in search results whether or not they provide citation. With enough research, the accuracy of web resources often can be determined. But it's very time consuming. Libraries make research much more efficient.

  1. It can be hard to isolate concise information on the internet

Certain subject areas like medical conditions or financial advice are very well mapped on the web. Quality sites for more marginal subject areas, however, are less easy to find through web search. One would have to know which site to go to, and Google isn't necessarily going to serve you exactly what you are looking for.

Wikipedia, which ranks well for a wide variety of specialized subject areas, is improving web concision. But Wikepedia is just one site, that anyone can edit, and its veracity is not guaranteed. Libraries retain a much more comprehensive and concisely indexed collection off research materials.

  1. Libraries can preserve the book experience

Consuming 900 pages on the intellectual history of Russia is an experience unique to the book. In general, the book provides a focused, yet comprehensive study that summarizes years of research by an author – or team of authors – who have devoted their academic to a particular subject area.

Through Google Book Search, the internet can be a tool to find where to buy a book. Normal search results also reveal a variety of book resellers, academic courses or upcoming web projects.

But even when the internet does provide actual content (as in a search for the history of Russia) the information is often snack-sized or the overall experience cursory – a sort of quick-reference browsing. Knowledge can be found, but the experience of delving into a book for hundreds of pages just doesn't happen online. The preservation of stacks, therefore, will help preserve access to this approach to learning and the more traditional form of scholarship can continue alongside the new.

  1. Libraries are stable while the web is transient

In an effort to improve their service and shake out the spammers, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. Often, however, collateral damage will knock out innocent sites including, perhaps, authoritative resources.

In addition, websites commonly go offline or their addresses change. Other sites that point to these resources (which were once good) could easily and unwittingly house a number of "broken links". These sites can remain unedited for years.

Libraries, on the other hand, have a well-accounted-for stock of available resources and a standard indexing system that will deliver stable, reliable results consistently.

  1. Libraries can be surprisingly helpful for news collections and archives

In many ways, libraries fall short of the internet when it comes to aggregating news content. Online TV, radio and newspaper sources – not to mention an abundance of blogs referencing and commenting on daily events around the world – can often satiate anyone from the casual headline browser to the news junkie.

Meanwhile, libraries continue to subscribe and stock a certain list of newspapers, and archive the back issues. This effort may seem humble alongside the lengthy lists of online news aggregators and instantaneous access to articles published within the minute.

Nevertheless, a library's news cataloguing can provide a number of advantages. For starters, many publications continue to exist offline. For someone seeking a specific article by a specific journalist, a library could yield better results – even if the publication had to be tracked down through inter-library loan.

Libraries often provide freely accessible issues of major periodicals that would otherwise require online subscription, like many sections of the New York Times
In addition, archives often disappear offline, or become increasingly expensive online. (Try Google's news archive search). This can leave libraries with the only accessible copies.

  1. Not everyone has access to the internet

In less developed nations or even poorer parts of the United States, library access is often the only clear-cut way for an individual to conduct serious research. There are at least two major reasons that the internet may not provide even an illusory alternative to libraries.

Firstly, online access may be much more difficult to attain than library access. A public library may have but one computer console, while other internet access points may charge someone who simply doesn't have the means to pay.

Secondly, even if internet access is obtained, the lack of technological education in poorer areas of the world will render the technology much less useful than it would be for the person who has more experience navigating the web.

  1. Not everyone can afford books

Outside of developed nations, books are more rare and often more expensive than their first-world counterparts. Compounding the problem is an incredibly low minimum wage making the real cost of books astronomical. The public library, wherever it exists, therefore becomes much more crucial to democratizing information.

Since the United States tends to be a trend leader, especially technologically, it must underscore the importance of libraries even as technology moves forward. Touting a culture of BlackBerry devices over books may jeopardize the existence of traditional libraries, leaving poor people without books or BlackBerrys.

  1. Libraries are a stopgap to anti-intellectualism

It's not that the internet is anti-intellectual; its academic roots and the immense quantity of scholarly sites certainly attest to it being a smart medium. It's not that the internet is anti-intellectual; its academic roots and the immense quantity of scholarly sites certainly attest to it being a smart medium.
But for some, the alluring immediacy of the internet can lead to the false impression that only immediate, interactive and on-the-spot online discussion is of value. Dusty books on tall shelves then seem to represent stagnant knowledge, and their curators (librarians), behind the times. Books and reading easily gets regarded as elitist and inactive, while blogging becomes the here-and-now.

But, as mentioned earlier, not everything is on the internet. Access to books and theories from hundreds of years of cultural history is essential to progress. Without this, technology could become the ironic tool of the sensational and retrograde cultural tendencies. Preserving libraries to store knowledge and teach the limitations of technology can help prevent the hubris and narcissism of technological novelty.

  1. Old books are valuable

The idea of a library becoming a "book museum" in the age of digitization is sometimes tossed about as an apocalyptic figure of speech. It's a real scare for librarians. The term insinuates that, rather than become contemporary and useful, libraries could turn into historical fetishes like vinyl records or typewriters. And instead of continuing on as research professionals, librarians would be forced to become like museum curators – or, more likely, they would just lose their jobs.

But if the evolution of libraries grows to become an interactive meeting place for cultural events and the exchange of ideas, the preservation and exhibition of archival literary relics could be yet another facet to their importance (and, yes, intrigue). Indeed, old books are not only monetarily valuable, but they are part of cultural, historical memory that mustn't be lost to digitization.


Society is not ready to abandon the library, and it probably won't ever be. Libraries can adapt to social and technological changes, but they can't be replaced. While libraries are distinct from the internet, librarians are the most suited professionals to guide scholars and citizens toward a better understanding of how to find valuable information online. Indeed, a lot of information is online. But a lot is still on paper. Instead of regarding libraries as obsolete, state and federal governments should increase funding for improved staffing and technology. Rather than lope blindly through the digital age, guided only by the corporate interests of web economics, society should foster a culture of guides and guideposts. Today, more than ever, libraries and librarians are extremely important for the preservation and improvement of our culture.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

100 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic

Traffic is the currency of the web. The more traffic your website has, the easier it will be to achieve your objective, be it to make money, to spread your ideas, to connect with other people or anything else.
That is why we decided to create a compilation with 100 ways you can use to increase your website traffic.

Apply some (or most) of them and we are sure your numbers will go up!


1. Add a blog to your website. If your website is static (e.g., a corporate site or an online store), consider adding a blog to it, where you'll write new content regularly. This will give your visitors a reason to come back, and your search engine traffic will increase too. If you need a blog software, check out WordPress (it is free and easy to use).

2. Leave comments on other blogs. Develop the habit of visiting blogs inside your niche and leaving comments on them. You can include a link to your website on each comment, and some visitors will certainly come through those links. You can use Alltop to find blogs in any niche.

3. Write guest posts. Most blogs accept guest posts. That is, they allow you to write a post for them, and usually the post carries an author byline with a link to your website. Simply send your article to the blog owner and ask whether or not he wants to publish it as a guest post.

4. Sponsor blog contests. Another common practice around the blogosphere are contests. You can sponsor one by donating products or money, and the blogger will link to your website from the contest page.

5. Join a blog carnival. Blog carnivals are online events where bloggers get together to write about one specific topic. The host of the carnival will them write a round-up post linking to all the participant entries, and participants usually link to each others' entries as well. You can organize one with your friends, or browse for existing ones at

6. Network, network, network. Ever heard the saying "it is not about what you know, but who you know"? It applies to promoting a website as well. If you become a friend with a blogger or website owner, he will be much more likely to link to your website and send traffic your way. A good way to achieve this is to link to other bloggers first and to establish a relationship via email.


7. Publish an RSS feed. Once you publish an RSS feed your visitors will be able to subscribe to your website using an RSS reader. After that whenever you publish new content they will receive it automatically, which is a great way to keep these visitors engaged with your content and visiting your website regularly.
8. Use Feedburner. If you want to get the most out of your RSS feed you should sign-up for a Feedburner account. It is completely free, and you'll get a wide range of features, including statistics about your subscribers, customization options and so on. Feedburner will also make your RSS feed compatible with most browsers and RSS readers, so you won't lose any subscribers due to technical problems.
9. Offer email subscriptions. Many Internet users still don't use RSS, so offering an email subscription to your content is a must. Fortunately it is very easy to do this once you have a Feedburner account. You just need to activate this feature under "Publicize," and then copy and paste the subscription link on your website.

10. Create an email newsletter. You can take your email subscription option one step further and create an email newsletter. This will give you more control regarding the messages you send to your subscribers. For example, you could create an auto-responder sequence, sending specific messages at specific time intervals to your new subscribers. You'll need an email marketing software to manage your newsletter, and you can use Aweber for that (it is a paid solution).

Content is King

11. Break a news story. If your website is the first to talk about a news story it will receive many links from other sites who will cover it as well, and your traffic will increase as a result.

12. Write a controversial article. If you manage to write something controversial, people will talk about and link to your article, either because they agree with you or, most likely, because they disagree. The result will be a lot of traffic.

13. Write a "Top 10″ list. Internet users love "Top 10″ lists, because they are easy to digest and contain useful stuff (i.e., 10 resources, 10 tips, and so on).

14. Write a "Top 100″ list. If "Top 10″ lists are good for traffic generation, "Top 100″ ones are great. This article is an example. People will bookmark and share your "Top 100″ list naturally because of the value it packs together.

15. Write a "Definitive guide" to something. People love to learn new things, especially if such things will solve some of their problems. Make sure to make your guide as complete as possible, and visitors will flock to read it.

16. Publish an interview. This strategy works even better if the interviewee has a blog or website, as he might link to the interview and send his readers to your site.

17. Leverage holidays and seasonal events. You can drastically increase your traffic if you publish content related to big holidays and seasonal events. Examples include Christmas, elections, Olympic games, the World Cup and so on.


19. Create a quiz. People love quizzes, and if you create an interesting one your traffic might increase as visitors both take the quiz and share the results with their friends. You can use to create your quiz.

19. Create a ranking of people. For example, publish a ranking with the "50 Hottest Female Entrepreneurs." Such rankings tend to get a lot of traffic because it plays with people's ego.

20. Create a ranking of websites. A similar strategy is to create a ranking of websites, say the "25 Best Weight Loss Blogs." The owners of the sites mentioned are likely to link to your article (especially if you contact them to let them know about it, thus sending your traffic.

21. Publish a funny image. At the end of the day, people just want to have a good laugh. Publishing a funny image is a good way to help them with that, and it might increase your traffic at the same time. Want some inspiration?

Check the Pics section on Reddit.

22. Create an infographic. If you are creative and like to research, then you should try creating infographics, as they tend to attract many links and traffic. Here is a tutorial that will help you to create one.


23. Release an eBook. This is one of the most efficient ways to generate traffic. Simply write a compelling eBook, and then release it on your website. Include a direct download link, and email bloggers and webmasters in your niche to let them know about it. The better the information in your eBook, the more people will share and recommend it, and the more traffic you'll gain.

24. Create a free CSS template. CSS templates are very popular around the web, and if you submit yours to CSS directories many people will end up using it. Include a footer link to your website and you'll surely get some traffic.

25. Create a free WordPress theme. You can also transform your CSS template into a WordPress theme (or create a new theme from scratch). WordPress is used by millions of users, and many people will download your theme if you submit it to directories (including the Official Themes Directory).

26. Release a cheat sheet. Cheat sheets are very popular on the web, and if you create one you'll certainly see a bump in the number of website visits. If you want to see some examples, check this article listing 25 useful cheat sheets for web developers.

27. Create web design resources. The web design community is one of the most active online, and creating resources for them is a good way to increase your traffic. Examples include icon sets, fonts, textures, Photoshop brushes and the like.


28. Launch a retweet contest. You can launch a contest where people need to retweet the contest page in order to get an entry to the random draw. The prize can be either money or products and services from your sponsors. Depending on the size of your prize the retweets could go viral after a while.

29. Launch a comment contest. An alternative contest format is to ask people to leave a comment on your contest post in order to get an entry. This will increase your traffic because your RSS and email subscribers will need to visit your website to leave a comment, and it will stimulate them to comment on your posts more often.

30. Launch a review contest. If you want to increase your search rankings you could launch a contest where people need to write about the content in order to get an entry. The links you'll get will send you both Google juice and new visitors. Keep in mind that you need a good prize to motivate people to write about your contest though.

31. Launch a voting contest. You basically need to create a contest where the winner will be picked with a voting session. Suppose you have a fitness website. You could invite your readers to submit their best fitness tip, and then a voting session would decide which tip gets the prize. This would motivate participants to link to the voting session and to encourage their friends to visit your website and vote.

32. Launch a traffic contest. If traffic is what you want, why not be direct about it? You can launch a contest where people need to send traffic to one particular page inside your website. It could be the contest page (for a viral effect) or a resource page (e.g., a page where you give away an ebook). After the established time frame (e.g., 2 weeks, 1 month or anything else), you'll simply need to check your web analytics to see which websites sent you more visitors, and then award the prizes.


33 Experiment with video. As you probably heard, video is huge on the web right now. If you are not experimenting with it yet, you should. If you want to do something simple, just record yourself talking in front of the web cam (obviously what you are talking about should be interesting to your visitors, as opposed to some general rambling).

34. Create screencasts. A very efficient way to create compelling videos is to record your computer screen while you perform some task. For instance, you could use it teach other people how to use the computer or how to do things on the Internet. You can use a free software called CamStudio to create your screencasts.

35. Submit your videos to multiple sites. Once you have your videos ready to go, you should spread them on as many video websites as possible, and not just on YouTube. Luckily there is a site that can help you do that without spending too much time at it. It is called, and it automates much of the submission process for you.

36. Launch a podcast. This could be a good traffic generator for one main reason: there isn't much competition out there as far as podcasts go. In other words, as long as you put some effort into it, your podcast could become the leader inside your niche quite fast. All you need is a USB microphone to start recording.

37. Release audio interviews. We already mentioned that interviews are good for traffic. Apart from text interviews, however, you can also release audio interviews. Skype makes it really easy to record one. You'll just need to use a software to record your Skype conversation. PowerGramo has a free version that works well.

Social Bookmarking Sites

38. Get people to stumble your articles. If you have friends using Stumble Upon, ask them to stumble your best articles. This should get the ball rolling, and if other Stumble Upon users like your content it might receive a lot of traffic from it.

39. Try to reach Digg's front page. Reaching Digg's front page is quite difficult, but it is worth a try, because once you manage it you'll receive tens of thousands of visitors. You should start by becoming an active Digg user, trying to make as many friends as possible and to understand the kind of content that works there. Once you have these two things, get a friend to submit one of your best stories, and get your network of contacts to vote on it.

40. Submit your content to Reddit. If you fail to get success with Digg, try Reddit. It works in a similar way, but it is smaller and has a more friendly community, so your content might do better there. Funny stuff, technology and politics are topics particularly suitable for the site.

41. Get your visitors to bookmark your articles on Delicious. If you publish many how-to articles and tutorials, Delicious could be a good traffic generator for your website. Simply add a Delicious icon below your articles, try to get some friends to bookmark your articles as soon as they get published. If you get enough bookmarks in a short period of time your article might get promoted to Delicious front page.

42. Include social bookmarking icons on your site. You can increase the number of votes and bookmarks you'll get by including social bookmarking icons on your site. You can use this generator to create the icons automatically and paste the code on your website.

43. Try niche social bookmarking sites. The four social bookmarking sites mentioned above are the largest ones on the web, but there is also a wide range of smaller, niche focused bookmarking sites that can send you some traffic. Here is a list with 83 of them. Simply join the ones related to your niche and check how much traffic they can send you.

Social Networks

44. Create a profile on most social networks. When you create a profile on a social network, you are usually able to include the URL of your website. Guess what? This is a link building opportunity, and it might increase your traffic (both because of the visitors you'll get and because of the link juice). Mashable has a list with over 350 social networks, so use that to get started.

45. Start using Facebook. If you want to generate social media traffic, you must have a presence on Facebook. The very least you should do is to create an account there and network with as many people as possible. After you'll be able to generate traffic by posting links to your website on your Facebook stream.

46. Create a Facebook fan page. Another great way to leverage Facebook is to create a Fan page. This is basically a page dedicated to your website, where your visitors can become fans, leave comments and so on. Here is a tutorial to help you create your first Fan page.

47. Include a Facebook "Like" button on your site. Facebook recently introduced the "Like" button, which you can embed on your site to let your users share your content through their Facebook accounts. Getting the button is just a matter of copying and pasting some lines of code. Here is the page where you can get it.

48. Start using Twitter. Another must have social network is Twitter. You can create an account for yourself, or one for your website directly, where you'll post updates with links to your recent posts and related content from around the web.

 49. Include a Tweetmeme button on your site. By including a Tweetmeme button on your website you'll allow your visitors to retweet your posts and pages with a single click, which can increase the traffic you'll receive from Twitter.

50. Explore niche social networks. You problably won't get as much traffic from niche social networks as you will from Facebook and Twitter. But you should still give them a shot, because the traffic will be much more targeted. Here is a list with 233 social networks divided by niche.

Website Optimization

51. Customize your 404 error page. Whether you like it or not people will get 404 errors on your website. Maybe they will misspell your URLs, maybe someone will link to an inexistent page inside your website, and so on. If you use a normal 404 error page, visitors will simply move on to another website. If you customize your 404 error page to include some useful links, however, you'll channel these visitors to other parts of your site, thus increasing your traffic.

52. Interlink your pages. This strategy will increase your traffic in two ways. First of all it will allow your visitors to explore your website more easily, increasing the number of pages views per visit. Secondly, it will also improve your search rankings because your link juice will be distributed among all pages of your website.

53. Highlight your most popular content. People like to know "what is hot" when they are visiting a website. You can increase the number of page views you'll get per visitor if you highlight your popular content and encourage them to read it. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a "Popular Articles" section on your sidebar.

54. Test your website in different browsers. If web users can't visualize your website properly they'll just move on to another site. That is why you need to make sure that your site works fine on the most popular browsers. There is an online service called that can help you with that, and it is completely free.

55. Speed up your website. There are many research papers confirming that most Internet users will only wait a couple of seconds for a web page to load. If it doesn't, they will close it and move to another website. On top of that search engines also use the loading speed as a ranking factor, so the faster your site loads, the higher your search rankings. The first thing you should do to improve your loading speed is to remove unnecessary elements from your site and to reduce the size of your images. You can use the Firebug extension for Firefox to perform a more detailed analysis of your loading speed.

 56. Serve cached pages. A very efficient way to improve the loading speed of your pages is to serve cached versions to your visitors. This will also reduce the load on your web server, and make your site more responsive. WordPress users can install a plugin called WP Super Cache to achieve this.

57. Get a decent hosting plan. No matter how much your optimize your website, however, it will still load slowly if your hosting plan is mediocre to begin with. That is why you should stay away from free and cheap web hosts. Investment $10 per month to get a quality hosting plan is a must.

Search Engine Optimization

58. Create unique content. If you want to receive search engine traffic and only had time to work on one thing, you should work on creating unique content for your website. This is what Google and company values most. The more unique content you have, and the more frequently you publish new stuff, the better.

59. Build backlinks. The second most important thing you can do to improve your search rankings and receive organic traffic is to build backlinks. That is, you need to have as many websites linking to you as possible. The higher the quality and relevancy of these links, the better. If you have a tech blog, for example, getting a link from TechCrunch or some other authoritative tech site would do wonders to your SEO.

60. Perform keyword research. Search engines work around keywords, and if you understand the keywords that people use you can tailor your content to match that. For example, the term "funny pictures" is 15 times more searched than the term "funny images," so you probably should use that in a post title . You can use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to discover the search volume of any keyword.

61. Optimize your title tags. The title tag is the title of your pages. It goes inside the <title></title> tags in the header of your HTML code, and it is displayed on top of the browser when visiting your page. This is a very important on-page SEO factor. You should make sure that you have a unique title tag on each page of your site, and that your main keywords are present there. WordPress users can install the All in One SEO Pack plugin to achieve this automatically.

62. Build an HTML sitemap. An HTML sitemap is basically a page inside your website linking to all other pages (and preferably being linked from all other pages too). The HTML sitemap helps search engines to crawl and index your website, thus increasing your search rankings.

63 Use images. Most webmasters forget that Google has a feature called "Image search," which is quite popular. This means that by using images inside your pages you can increase the amount of search engine traffic you get. Just make sure to optimize the name of your images with relevant keywords, and always include an ALT and a TITLE attribute in your image tags. You can use the website to find thousands of royalty free images to use on your website.

 64. Translate your content. Depending on the topic of your website, translating your pages into other languages could multiply your search engine traffic. In order to achieve this you need a plugin that will get your translated pages indexed by search engines. WordPress users can use one called Global Translator.



65. Create a mobile version of your website. As more and more users start accessing the web through mobile devices, it becomes important to have a version of your website that works perfectly these new platforms. If you are using WordPress you can install a plugin called WPTouch to create a mobile version automatically.

66. Create an iPhone app for your website. iPhone is arguable the most popular smartphone around, and most of its users rely heavily on apps to consume their content. If you create an iPhone app to display the content of your website you could both get new readers and allow your current ones to read your stuff on their iPhones. There is an open source project that will help you do this for free.

67. Create an Android app for your website. Google's mobile operating system, called Android, is quickly catching up, so you could create a website app for it as well. You'll need some coding knowledge for this though.

Online Forums

68. Join online forums and put a link to your website in your signature. Regardless of the topic of your website, you'll certainly find dozens of related online forums to join. Most of them allow you to put a link in your signature, and you can use that to send visitors to your own website. If you need help to find online forums, check, as they have a database of thousands of forums divided by categories.

69. Link to your articles from post threads. Apart from putting a link to your website in your signature, you can also link to your articles when writing forum posts. For example, if you just wrote a post that is useful to other forum members, you could start a thread letting them know about it, and asking for feedback. Just make sure to do this when your article is relevant, else you might get flagged as a spammer.
70. Join the Craigslist forums. If you browse on Craigslist (the most popular classifieds site on the web) you'll notice that inside each city there is a "Discussion forums" section. You can write posts there, and include links to your website whenever relevant to the discussion.
71. Consider adding a Forum to your site. Once your website reach a critical mass of users (i.e., 5,000 daily unique visitors or more) you could consider adding a Forum to it. This will give your visitors a place to ask questions and contribute content, while increasing your traffic. phpBB is a reliable and free Forum software you can use.

Content Hubs

72. Create "lenses" on Squidoo. Each "lens" on Squidoo is an overview page about a specific topic. Creating lenses is free, and you can include any kind of information on them, including links to your own website.

73. Create a "hub" on HubPages. A very similar site is called HubPages. You can create "hubs" about specific topics, and include links to your website there. Just make sure to read the site guidelines, to make sure your hubs will be published.

74. Answer to questions on Yahoo! Answers. Spend some time browsing the questions on Yahoo! Answers, and whenever you come across one related to the topic of your site, answer it. You can include a link to your website as an additional resource, or to a specific article inside your site that answers the question too.

75. Answer to questions on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Answers is another platform where you can answer to questions from other users and include a link to your own website or articles. Keep in mind that topics gravitate around career and business here.

Old School

76. Submit your site to web directories. The amount of traffic you'll get from this tactic depends on the quality of the web directories that will accept you. If you submit to hundreds of them, however, the traffic might build up. Here is a list with hundreds of web directories, organized by Google PageRank.

77. Submit your blog to blog directories. If you have a blog, you can also submit to blog directories (i.e., web directories that only list blogs). This article lists 50 of them to get you started.

78. Submit content to article directories. Article marketing is a very common and effective way to increase your traffic. You basically need to submit your articles to article directories. Virtually all of them allow you to include a link back to your site, and that is how your traffic will increase.

Here is a list with the 50 most popular article directories on the web.

79. Exchange links. The practice of exchanging links is as old as the web, but that is so because it works. You just need to be careful to only exchange links with sites that have unique content and are relevant to your visitors (else Google might get upset).

80. Use ad swaps. A similar strategy is to use ad swaps. That is, you use your unused ad space to promote the website of your partner, and he does the same with his unused ad space. The ad itself could be anything, from a banner spot to an email message to your newsletter.

81. Distribute a press release. Creating and distributing a press release can still send some traffic to your website, especially if you have something new in your segment. You can pay companies like PRWeb to do most of the work for you, or you can submit the press release manually (here is a list with 50 sites you can submit to).

82. Include your website's URL in your email signature. Email is the most used communication channel these days, and as such you should use it to let your contacts know about your website.

Paid Methods

83. Google AdWords. Pay-per-click advertising is one of the most efficient ways to buy traffic for your website, and Google AdWords is the largest ad network for that on the web. Creating an account is free, and then you'll need to bid on keywords. Depending on your niche it is possible to buy clicks for as low as some pennies.

84. Facebook ads. The best alternative to Google AdWords is the Facebook Ads platform. You'll be able to pay both per click and per 1,000 impressions, and you can also target very specific demographics, to make sure the visitors will be interested in your content.

85. StumbleUpon ads. If your content performs well on social media you could try StumbleUpon ads. Your website (or a specific page inside it) will basically be displayed to StumbleUpon users, with a cost of $0.05 per view. If many users vote positively on your content you'll also receive some free traffic.

86. Reddit sponsored links. Another social bookmarking site where you can buy ads on is Reddit. You'll basically create a sponsored link that will be featured on the homepage, and Reddit users will be able to vote it up or down.

87. Purchase banner ads directly. Virtually any website owner is willing to sell banner ads. If you find a website that is closely related to yours, therefore, you could contacts the owner asking how much he would charge for a banner ad. The return on the investment might be high here, because the visitors that will come will be likely to stick around and become loyal readers of your site.

88. Purchase banner ads through networks. There are ad networks that might also help you purchase banner ads, paying a flat monthly fee. is a large one with a really big inventory of websites.

89. Purchase sponsored reviews. Sometimes sponsored reviews work better for traffic generation, because your website will be featured inside a post (i.e., it will be exposed directly to the readers of the other site). If you want to buy a sponsored review you could either contact the website owner directly, or browse through the marketplace of sites like (make sure the sponsored links will have the nofollow attribute, else Google might get pissed).

Offline Methods

90. Tell your friends and family about your website. These folks are certainly going to be interested in checking your website out, and if you put new content there frequently, they might keep coming back.

91. Tell your co-workers about your website. This is another group of people that will be interested in visiting your website at least one. If the content of your website is somewhat related to your work this strategy will work even better.

92. Include your website's URL in your business card. If you give business cards away frequently, consider including your website's URL there. Professional contacts might be interested in visiting it after all.

93. Print your website's URL in some T-shirts. It is very easy and cheap to get custom T-shirts these days (just Google it), so getting some with your website's URL could be a nice way to spread the word about it.

94. Create stickers with your website's URL and spread them around. If you really want to go guerilla, get some stickers with your website's URL and spread them around. Cars, windows, computers, you name it!

95. Put an ad at a local newspaper. Depending on the niche of your website, getting an ad on a local newspaper could be a good investment. For example, if you have a blog about local news or events an ad on the local newspaper could definitely bring you some new readers.

Out of the box Methods

96. Come up with an April Fools' prank. The first of April is a very lively day on the Internet, where many companies and webmasters come up with funny pranks. If you come up with a funny or interesting one other website owners might link to your, sending you traffic. You can check TechCrunch's summary of the 2010 pranks for inspiration.

97. Set your website as the homepage on any computer you use. If you apply this tactic consistently it might actually bring good results. For instance, you could set your website as the homepage of all computers in your school, work, libraries and so on.

98. Navigate to your website on computer stores. This might not bring you a lot of traffic, but it sure is a funny tactic. Whenever you go to a store with computers being showcased, open the web browser and navigate to your website, so that people passing by will see it.

99. List your website for sale. Even if you are not planning to sell it, that is. The interested buyers will visit your website to check it out, and that is how you'll increase your traffic. If you list your site on popular marketplaces, like, you might actually get thousand of visitors (and possible some good offers!).

 100. Fake a hacker attack. The community of bloggers and webmasters gets in turmoil every time a website or blog gets hacked. If you fake such an attack (i.e., by putting a weird message in your homepage) you'll certainly receive many backlinks and a bump in traffic. People might get pissed if they find out it was a prank, though.

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