It's now been one month since Engineering.SE entered private beta.
In that month, you've helped to collect nearly 250 questions and 400 answers on engineering topics ranging from steering devices and bridge loading to sustainable housing and metallurgical history. Well done!
But as fundamental as asking and answering questions are to any Q&A site, we also need to put effort into promoting our best, most interesting and useful content to an audience beyond the Stack Exchange network. During the first week of public beta launch, we saw traffic peaking at more than 1,000 visits per day, on par with a few graduated sites—with your help, we'll be able to realize that traffic on an average daily basis, and more.
How do we do it?
The ultimate drivers of traffic to a successful Q&A site are search engines. That means that the more useful content we can produce, with efficient, searchable titles and tags, the more traffic we should get. In other words, keep asking and answering great questions—but also:
- Make sure those great questions have clear, descriptive titles so that people with similar problems can find the solutions we have to offer!
- Remember to use tags to connect experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting them into specific, well-defined categories. But don't go overboard—a question that's perfect for the bridges tag rarely gains anything by being tagged structures as well. Use your best judgment and join us in chat for advice when you're not sure.
- And as always, read, vote and comment on questions and answers. The best way to ensure a new user never comes back is to ignore or erase their contributions. Even if what you have to say is critical, engage new users respectfully and we will all benefit.
Bonus points (and badges!)
Sometimes you just don't have something to say. How can you contribute when you have no questions to ask or answers to give, and earn badges at the same time? Glad you asked!
As of a couple days ago, Engineering SE has its own dedicated Twitter feed. Those of you who already have a Twitter account know what's up—follow, retweet, reply, #hashtagSEmodsrule! But for those of you who are new to Twitter, or who prefer to communicate through Facebook, Google+, email or some more innovative medium, here's a quick primer.
Any time you come across a particularly interesting post, you can use the "share" link below it to get a special shortened URL linking to that question or answer. Not only that, there are buttons allowing you to share the item quickly and easily on Google+, Facebook and Twitter; they look like this:
Not only does the shortened URL give you a convenient way to link to specific posts, it can also earn you badges—specifically, the Announcer, Booster and Publicist badges. Currently, no user on Engineering.SE has earned one these badges; you could be the first!
Users with mobile devices can have this same functionality in the Stack Exchange mobile apps for Android or iPhone; here's a screenshot showing the location of the button on the Android app (KitKat 4.4.4):
Clicking on one of the share icons will pre-load a short description and link into your social network of choice, like in this screenshot using the Plume app for Twitter. Notice that the link includes my user number on Engineering.SE (underlined in red) in order to track my progress for the badges—you can also customize your message and remove your ID from the link, if you'd rather not link your Stack Exchange account with your other online identities.
Go forth, and share!
Remember to keep voting and commenting in addition to creating great questions and answers; share content you find interesting, challenging or useful; and please bring your feedback to Meta. The answers to this question are open for your feedback and suggestions about promoting the site, the new Twitter account, and/or your new moderator team.