They might come? The world of Internet traffic generation has changed a lot since the days when I were thin. Used to be that you were worried about SEO, meta-tags blah-di-blah-di-page-rank-bobbinstm and, while much of this is still relevant to some degree, there are many more fun ways than the painful wait for your site to appear on page 10 of Google.

Yesterday, I ‘launched’ The Photo Project, a charity photo book web site. I won’t go on about it here (check the site to find out more) but suffice to say, in the old order of web traffic generation, I wouldn’t fare very well against all the other photography related site searches that go on. And yet, on the very first day, there was a creditable 421 hits from 181 unique users.

Contrast this with my previous web dabblings. When I first put the LazyWebTools page refresher live it took a while to pick up search traffic and it wasn’t until that it got a few forums mentions that it took off. Several years on it still maintains a very loyal following in the 100’s of hits a day region.

Another website I did fared less well. I thought CheckMyRequest was the sort of daft thing that would be picked up virally eventually. It never did and I never really tried much (daft as it was).

The simple fact is that in one day, ThePhotoProject outshone all the traffic to CheckMyRequest gets in months. (ignoring the fact the CheckMyRequest is inane and ThePhotoProject has slightly more substance).

How? Twitter.

ThePhotoProject has a Twitter account (@thephotoproject) so I tweet that the site is live. I then retweet this from my account to my ~300 followers and hope to get retweeted from there. If you get lucky (or know some lovely people*) you can get retweeted by people with very big networks and the word can spread very quickly. Even with a relatively small number of retweets there were a decent number of hits, harking back to previous blathering on scale-free networks

This is in no way a great surprise to anyone. There are many great proponents of this art and it is one that will become increasingly important the more we rely on the “NOW!” and don’t want the six week wait and painful SEO struggle.

The challenge now will be to maintain the same level of interest. The re-tweet game is ideal for an initial splurge but any more than that and it becomes inane spamming and has a negative effect.

So, I’d better keep it interesting…

* a big thankyou to those lovely people, @the_emecks, @Sheamus, @applemacbookpro, @AmyVernon, @davefitch, @jerryjamesstone, @ash_matadeen, @gamebittk @chrisnixon @alpower for the retweetage…