It's probably the mostought-after topic in Internet marketing – how to get more traffic to your websites.
It does not matter whether you're selling your own products, promoting affiliate offers or looking for AdSense clicks, you're not going to earn a single cent if there's no traffic coming to your site.
There's more to the process than just getting more traffic, however. You not only want traffic, you want targeted traffic – people who are going to be interested in what you have to offer.
In this article we're going to look at a number of ways – both paid and free – to get more visitors to your website. Some of these methods can generate almost instant traffic while others will take longer to gain momentum.
By diversifying your traffic generation over several methods, you can get fast traffic while gradually ramping it up over a longer period of time.
Let's jump right in …
Getting The Right Kind Of Traffic
Before we look at any specific methods for generating traffic to your website, we should really discuss what kind of traffic you should be targeting.
Because there is a right and a wrong kind of traffic.
The right kind of traffic is visitors who are not only interested in what you have to offer them, they're willing and able to take the action that you want them to take. The wrong kind is simply the opposite – visitors who are not likely to take your "most wanted action."
Let's look at a couple of examples …
First, let's say you have an affiliate review website. You post reviews and other content on your site, with affiliate links for those products. Whenever someone buys one of the offers, you get paid a commission.
If you generate a ton of traffic, but not very many of those people are either willing or able to spend money, you're not going to generate much profit from them. A good example would be a market where your visitors are mostly teenagers. While they may be very interested in the subject, and willing to buy what you're promoting, a large percentage of them will not be able to buy because they do not have credit cards and their parents may not let them use their.
A market like that might be better suited for a site that displays AdSense ads, which brings us to our second example. Let's say you have a site that is monetized purely with AdSense. In this case, it does not matter so much if your visitors are able to buy, since you get paid when they click an ad, regardless of what they do once they leave your site.
If the market has a lot of "clickers" who do not turn into buyers, the ads are not going to pay very well, but we'll set that aside for the moment.
From a pure conversion point of view, you're going to want visitors who are looking for a solution to their problem – and hopefully the ads displayed on your site offer that solution. Again, you want to target the right people to get the maximum number of clicks on those ads.
If you're generating a lot of traffic looking for free solutions, or just looking for information, you may not get many clicks. So more traffic is not necessarily going to be more profitable.
Before you start doing any kind of traffic generation, make sure you're targeting the right people for your offer. Otherwise you're going to be spending a lot of time, money or both with little or no return for the efforts.
Free Traffic Methods
Free traffic is certainly the more popular of the two choices (the other being paid traffic). Many Internet marketers just do not have the capital to start paying for traffic, so free traffic is a better way to go.
Some marketers do not really understand the economics of paying for traffic either, which is an entirely different problem. If you can make a profit, or just break even on what you pay to get traffic to your website, it's really not costing you anything. It's common for marketers to see the cost side of the equation without considering the profit side, but we'll get into this in a little more detail when we discuss paid traffic sources shortly.
When it comes to getting free traffic, there are two types – short-term and long-term traffic. Some methods can generate visitors to your site in a very short time, almost immediately in some cases. Other methods will take longer to gain momentum, but these tend to keep driving traffic to your site for a longer period of time once they get going.
Short-Term Traffic Generation
We're going to look at three sources of short-term traffic that can work very well if you implement them properly:
1. Forum marketing
2. Guest blogging
3. Article submissions
Forum marketing is one of the easiest ways to get short-term traffic, particularly if you're already active in any popular forums in your market.
Note: In this report, many of the examples will relate to the Internet marketing niche, since most people reading it will be somewhat familiar with it. All the strategies work equally well in other markets, so do not let yourself get thought thinking "this only works for Internet marketing websites" – that's just not true.
Most forums will let you add a "signature" to your profile, which gets added to the end of every post you make. You can include a link to your website in your signature, along with a short call to action to get people to click through to it.
If you're active on the forum, and provide good value in your posts, people will click on your signature link. Particularly if you offer them something of value that's related to the market, like a free report, webinar recording or some other type of incentive.
The key here is to be an active part of the community and provide value first. If you just sign up for a forum, add your signature link and starting posting randomly with stuff like "Hey, great post!" then do not expect much in the way of traffic.
Give value first, and people will respond by checking
out what else you have to offer them.
Guest blogging is another great way to "siphon" traffic from a community of people interested in your market. A blog is a little less interactive than a forum, but it has many similarities.
Find some of the most popular blogs in your market and see if they accept guest bloggers. Some sites are up-front about this, with a page that explains exactly how to become a guest blogger for them. Other sites do not advertise it, but if you spend a bit of time reading through existing posts, you'll be able to see if the same person writes them all or if the site has used guest posts in the past.
Typically guest posts will have a resource box or author byline that gives more information about the author, as well as a link back to their website. If you see any of these, it's a good indication that the site accepts guest posts.
The key to getting your post accepted is to offer a high-quality article that the blog owner would be crazy not to accept. Spend even longer than you normally would have been researching, citing and writing these posts. While it means an extra investment in time, you can get a lot of traffic clicking through to your site if your guest post goes live on a high-traffic blog.
And while this click through traffic will slow down once the post has been live for a while, it can continue indefinitely as that post gains traction in the search engines. Plus that resource link pointing back to your site will also help you with SEO in the long term, so this is a powerful strategy.
Article submissions, or article marketing, can be another powerful traffic strategy that will provide you will both short-term and long-term benefits. Much like guest blogging, the short-term traffic will come from people clicking through on your resource box links to visit your website.
By submitting your articles to high-authority websites, you can leverage their power with the search engines to get your articles ranked quickly and generating traffic. This direct traffic can actually continue for the long term if your article gets some traction with Google and the other search engines, but it also helps your own site rank better so it starts generating search engine traffic of its own.
Which brings us to longer-term traffic strategies …
Long-Term Traffic Generation
We're going to look at three longer-term strategies for getting traffic to your websites:
1. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization
2. Social Media
3. Relationship Building
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is probably the most common free traffic strategy. There are dozens of techniques for improving your rankings in the search engines, and just as many products that teach you how to implement them. Some of these methods work year after year while others are more short-lived.
You'll also see a lot of methods that would have considered gray hat or ***** hat meaning they might go against the terms of service of one or more search engines, or even cross legal lines.
You'll need to decide for yourself exactly what lines you're willing to cross in the interest of getting traffic to your website, but keep in mind that the stuff that crosses those lines tend to be the techniques that are more short-lived. They may require less work up-front, but in the long run you can wind up spending more time or money to maintain your traffic because things keep changing.
SEO is a huge topic that goes way beyond the scope of this report, but let's just look at a few of the most important principles.
There are two main factors to SEO – on site and off site optimization. On site optimization is things like using keywords in strategic places on your pages:
-The TITLE tag
-In the page content itself
-Image ALT tags
At one time, repeating your keywords over and over through the page (known as keyword stuffing) would improve your results but the search engines have evolved well beyond that. Do not do this, just use your keywords and other related terms naturally in the content.
Off site optimization really comes down to links pointing to your website. The more links you get, from related sites that also have some power of their own with the search engines, the better your site is going to rank (and the more traffic you'll get as a result).
This is where the short- and long-term strategies start to overlap a bit. If you're using any of the short-term traffic strategies we just discussed to get quick traffic to your sites, they will also help you with SEO in the long term.
The links in your forum signatures, guest blog posts and submitted articles will all help push your site up the search engine rankings so while you may get a short-term jump in traffic when they first go live, they will keep working for you for a long time.
This is why it's a good idea to keep doing those things, even when your site starts to get traction in the search engines. It will continue to drive both instant and longer-term traffic.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a relatively new way to get traffic, and as a result they tend to be misunderstood. A lot of marketers use them as a kind of "announcement" service, posting links to new offers, affiliate promotions, new blog posts and anything else they want people to visit.
But that's all they ever post, and then they think social media does not work because nobody ever clicks through on their links.
The fact is, social media is a longer-term traffic strategy. You need to build relationships with the people you follow before you can expect them to click on any of the links you post.
Example: Think of it in "real world" terms. If you went to a party or some kind of meeting, would you just make a sales pitch to everyone you talk to? Or would you have a conversation first, so you could get to know one another and what you could offer?
Treat social media like you would a "real life" meeting – offer value first and build up some trust with your followers before you start hitting them with a bunch of offers.
Building relationships is not really a traffic generation method in and of itself, but it applies to every every other strategy to some degree. If you build relationships with the visitors to your website, or to the other places you post your content, you're going to have a lot more successful in the long run.
When you have strong relationships with your visitors, they're a lot more likely to return. And return traffic is one of the keys to a really successful website.
Look at it this way. If you get 100 visitors per day and you have no way of getting them to come back to your site after they click an ad or an affiliate link, you have to find 100 new visitors every day to maintain your results.
But if you get 100 visitors every day and get 10 of them into your "relationship funnel" so they return to the site, you've increased your future traffic without having to find "new" visitors. It's over-simplified, but let's assume that they come back the next day. Now you've got 110 visitors, of which 10 will again become return traffic.
Every day that goes by, you're getting more traffic while you're still only having to generate 100 new visitors. Over time, your traffic will continue to grow even if you do not do any more work to find new people than you already are.
One of the best ways to build these relationships and generate return visitors is with our next traffic strategy – list building.
Generating Traffic Through An Email List
One of the largest advantages of building an email list is that it lets you control your own traffic. If you have a list of people interested in your market, it does not matter if Google, Facebook and every other traffic source shuts off tomorrow – you can still generate traffic just by sending out an email to your list.
And if you have a brand new page or website that you want to direct traffic to, you can do that as well.
You could set up a website in the next half hour, send an email
to your list and see traffic to your site within a few minutes.
Even when you're paying for traffic, it's pretty tough to get visitors within minutes of finishing a new site.
List building as a traffic strategy is a bit of a Catch-22, however. You will not be able to generate that "on demand" traffic until you've built a list, and to build a list you need to get some traffic from other sources first.
That's why it's important to use all the strategies we're discussing, but get those visitors to subscribe to your email list so you can contact them over and over again in the future.
Paid Traffic Methods
A lot of Internet marketers are intimidated by paid traffic. They might have been burned in the past, or they might be afraid of losing a lot of money. This is definitely a concern, so you need to approach paid traffic with a certain amount of caution.
But the fact is, if you do it right, paid traffic does not have to cost you a lot of money to test, and once you figure out how to make it profitable (or just breaking even) it is not actually costing you anything- you put X dollars in and get Y dollars in return.
There are lots of different paid traffic sources so we can not discuss them all in this report, but let's look at a few of the most popular (and effective).
Pay Per Click
Pay per click, or PPC, advertising includes sources like Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. You pay a certain amount for every person who clicks on your ad and visits your website. That amount can range from a few cents to several dollars, depending on the market and the keywords that you're targeting.
If you're not careful, PPC advertising can chew through a lot of money in a pretty short time so it's important that you approach it correctly.
Make sure you're not targeting really broad keywords that are going to get a ton of clicks but poorly targeted visitors.
Example: You probably would not want to target the keyword "lose weight" because it would cost you a fortune and those visitors could be looking for any number of things when they arrive at your site.
You would be better off targeting the keyword phrase "how to lose 10 pounds in a month" (assuming your website can help resolve that problem) because while the amount of traffic would not be nearly as high, those people are looking for a very specific thing.
You should also set your daily budget to something you're comfortable with. That way, if your ads just do not convert for some reason, there's a limit to how much you can lose.
Once you find a keyword / ad combination that is profitable, you can start to expand on it. Being successful with PPC advertising requires a lot of testing and tracking.
People have been saying banner ads are dead for over 10 years, but the fact is they still work if you use them properly. If you just blast a bunch of banners with "punch the monkey" kind of stuff to as many websites as possible, chances are it's not going to be very profitable.
But if you pick the sites where you want to advertise based on how relevant they are to your target market and design your banners effectively, they can still product a lot of traffic for relatively little cost.
Like PPC advertising, start small and track your results. Once you find a banner and / or website that's working for you, start to expand those successful campaigns to other places.
Paid Ezine Ads
Paid ezine ads are another "old school" traffic generation strategy that can still work very well. Basically, you're paying for an ad to another marketer's email list. This could be a small ad placed in a longer newsletter or it could be a "solo" ad that is nothing but your offer.
This is a great way to leverage someone else's list to get traffic to your own site (and hopefully onto your email list in the process).
The key here is to target your offer to the audience. Make sure you subscribe to that marketer's list yourself and read several of their emails to see what kind of tone they use, and what sort of offers they promote.
You want to tailor your ad to appeal to the people who receive that person's emails, so make sure you offer something of value and that what you're offering is going to be appealing to the people who get the email.
Facebook is a fairly new source of paid traffic, and is constantly changing as more and more people start to use it. But with hundreds of millions of users, and the ability to target very specific interests and demographics, you should definitely include it in your paid traffic strategy.
The key to using Facebook effectively is to remember that most people are not there to be sold to – they're there to be social. Most Facebook users are not doing business there, even though it might seem that way to us internet marketers, so if you hit them with a high-pressure pitch (paid or not) it's probably not going to go over so well.
Once again, it comes down to building relationships with people first so they know and trust you. Once you establish that trust, you can start to ease them over to your websites and other offers.
Hopefully this article has given you a bit better idea of some of the ways that you can generate traffic to your website, but also what you should be doing with that traffic once it gets there.
New traffic sources constantly come and go, but most of the strategies we've discussed here have stood the test of time. While it never hurts to test new strategies and add them to the mix of what you're doing, do not let yourself get caught up in the latest "shiny object" that promises unlimited traffic with little or no work.
Those kinds of promises are generally too good to be true, and even if they do work as advertised it's usually going to be short lived. Once all the people looking for a magic button start abusing the technique, it will not take long for it to stop working.
If you build your traffic generation strategy on a solid foundation, you'll be seeing more and more visitors coming to your website for years to come.