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Jack Herrick's Tips to attract visitors

Jack Herrick is the founder of wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. wikiHow is a wiki, which means that any visitor to the site can create or edit wikiHow articles. wikiHow is currently ranked as the 100th most popular site on the web by Quantcast, and receives over 16 million unique visitors each month. Jack shared three of his favorite tips to attract visitors.

Tip #1: Produce great content

The first tip is obvious, but it's also the most important. The articles on wikiHow vary widely in quality. We have some of the highest quality how-tos on the net, for example How to Hard Boil an Egg, and we also have some fairly ugly, unfinished drafts we call stubs. Interestingly, the high-quality articles don't get just a little more traffic than the mediocre articles, they get hundreds of times more. When you can produce the single best page on the Internet
on any given topic, people will find it and share it with their friends. Don't settle for acceptable content, always strive to produce amazing content that your readers can't resist sharing.

Tip #2: Learn to share

My second tip is more counterintuitive. To attract more readers to your website, consider putting your content under a Creative Commons license so it can be widely distributed. Everything on wikiHow is under a license that allows other websites to publish and even modify or adapt our content for re-use on their sites. In fact, we have a button at the bottom of every article that allows webmasters to copy and paste the HTML right onto their site. Many webmasters are afraid to share their content, because they worry they will only be aiding competition. By sharing, what you are really doing is encouraging your competitors to provide free advertising for you. The more people who see your content on other sites, the more likely they are to eventually come straight to you.

Tip #3: Make your community a team

Finally, I'd encourage you to allow real collaboration on your site. Lots of websites try to create online communities. To use a basketball analogy, most online communities are just groups of individuals shooting freethrows alone. On wiki websites, people play together as a real team. Humans are hard wired to want to work in groups and collaborate. By allowing this to happen, you can create a passionate community of people that will build something bigger than any one person could accomplish on their own. And that will in time attract a large audience.


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