Using Gadgets/Widgets to increase traffic
March 29, 2008
Trying to increase traffic to a website can be pretty confusing at times, there’s no real science to it. Most of your time is spent reading tips ‘n tricks, experimenting with them and then watching your log files accumulate (sometimes almost hypnotically for 20 hours a day). After reading what seemed like an endless amount of these so-called tips, and a seemingly infinite amount of tricks, I came across something more interesting than your normal black/white hat trickery. After some initial thought, it seemed promising enough to whack on my log watching goggles and get comfy!
My plan was simple, because the very nature of SudokuWorld, it seemed pretty reasonable that it should be embeddable into Facebook. In fact, why only Facebook? Why not the world! I drew my evil plan:
- Produce an embeddable version of the SudokuWorld play page
- Use this new page to make widgets for Facebook / iGoogle / Blogs
Step 1 was pretty easy to be honest. I pretty much threw something together within a few hours that was basically a mini version of the play page of SudokuWorld, and almost instantly usable via a standard iframe, it was pretty cool, as can bee seen. This was actually the easy part of my evil “embed SudokuWorld every-fucking-where” plan, although I initially thought it would be the hardest.
Step 2 was a friggin pain the arse. I initially thought: “hey, it’s an embeddable iframe! Throw the html at a few things and Bob’s your aunties sisters caretaker”. And after a couple of hours of messing around with Facebook application development, I went of to visit my good ol’ friend Google to see if there was an easier way to do this. And guess what? obviously there was. It came in the name of WidgetBox, the all purpose widget making type system. So I signed myself up, threw some html at it and watched in enwonderment at the resulting usefulness: a SudokuWorld Widget that could be put in Facebook, Bebo, WordPress and all other sorts of things.
So after adding it to Facebook, iGoogle, Bebo, WordPress and leaving an embeddable system available, I started informing friends, aquantencies and general strangers about the new all-singing, all-dancing, SudokuWorld widget. But this wasn’t enough! No, I wanted more, more I tell thee! So I started adding it to the directories of Facebook, iGoogle and WidgetBox (so that the application can be added by all their millions of users); and for this I have some advice to impart:
- Facebook requires at least 5 additions of the application before it will allow you to submit it to a directory – so make sure you have some Facebook friends ready and willing!
- WidgetBox and iGoogle both have a human operated screening process before the widget is added to their directory – so don’t do anything obviously stupid or unethical
When this was all I done, I let it simmer for a few days to see if any sort of traffic would come from it (while of course getting my hopes up for the billions and billions of Sudoku fans just waiting to crawl out of the proverbial webwork). What did I actually get? Well:
After 2 days
Facebook: 27 users
bebo: 35 users
WidgetBox: 92 users
Outcome: bright and breezy – not too shabby for a beginner
After 7 days
Facebook: 91 users
bebo: 40 users
WidgetBox: 156 users
But did this actually bring any traffic to the site? Well, luckily I wasn’t stupid enough to forget to put a link to the website, so hopefully, some sort of traffic flowed through the pipes to my tip pot? Well obviously the embedded page is located on SudokuWorld, so traffic is almost a given, but unfortunately I was stupid enough to make the embedded page a double redirect into the site, so pretty much all the referral traffic is reported upon the same site – doh! But I have seen that the SudokuWorld.be referral ranking has risen pretty high, which is a pretty much an indication of the time I spent doing this brought in some traffic! Which means I didn’t waste my time completely!