Generating traffic is the lifeblood of your online business. Without sufficient traffic your site and blog will never accomplish their purpose. And while there are numerous pay options to generate traffic, there are an equal number of effective and free tools and approaches. Here are some great traffic generators:
1. Free Traffic Source: Forum Marketing
Forum Marketing: Share your expertise with people asking questions about your industry. In return, you’ll get a steady flow of traffic to your site. You will be the expert, after all. To ensure that you get traffic from all the time you spend answering questions, be sure to spend time on your forum marketing signature. Your signature tells other forum members who you are and how to read more about you. As you begin in forum marketing, you will want to watch out for (and completely avoid) these 8 Common Forum Marketing Mistakes.
2. Free Traffic Source: Blog Commenting
Blog Commenting: Very similar to forum marketing, blog commenting only differs in the platform it uses. Instead of being in a public forum, the commenting takes place within an individual blog. The linkback works very simply. In almost all blog platforms (Word Press, Blogger, etc) there is a field to enter your url (your site address). If you’re comment catches a readers attention, they’ll click on the link and visit your site. Be careful not to post comment spam. There is a need for caution when sharing links in the comment itself. Many bloggers don’t take well to this, as it comes across as a blatant attempt to siphon their traffic to your site. Unless the link you are posting directly answers a question, it's best not to do it. The other benefit to blog commenting, even if you don’t get many direct visitors, is that the search engines see the link and your site gets a small boost. If you post enough comments on enough unique blogs (different domains) then you’ll see a significant boost in traffic.
3. Free Traffic Source: Twitter Traffic
Twitter Traffic: When most users first sign up and start using Twitter it can be hard to see how it could ever bring significant traffic. Over time and with regularity Twitter quickly becomes a principal source of traffic. Many blogs use automation tools to feed links and past posts to their Twitter account. A favorite of mine is called Tweet Old Post. It takes past blog posts and tweets the title and url to your account. Many blogs generate hundreds, even thousands of new visitors every month using this simple WordPress plug-in. Traffic can be boosted by following these 5 Easy Steps to Boost Blog Traffic.
4. Free Traffic Source: eBay
eBay: The concept of using eBay as a sales platform is quite simple. Post a product (often at a loss or at cost) to generate attention and post your url in the description as a source for more information about the product or the subject. Because of the size and traffic on eBay, you’ll reach thousands of new prospects. Other sales platforms to consider: CraigsList and Amazon.
5. Free Traffic Source: Contest Marketing
Contest Marketing: One of the fastest ways to generate non-purchased traffic is to have a contest. It is a great way to generate hundreds of inbound links, as bloggers love to share relevant contests with their readers, being the one to break the news. Many site owners have found it most effective to give away one very large prize, rather than numerous smaller ones. Everyone loves to dream about that huge trip to Europe, rather than the free song download. Big prizes create big results. In addition to the boost of traffic, be sure to require something of the visitors to enter. Consider requiring a simple newsletter subscription. That way you have their contact information should they win, and you also can keep them informed about new content as you publish.
An example of effective contest marketing was a Galapagos Trip for Two given away by Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges. Contest period was open for a few months, more than 4500 people entered and the winner was drawn on video.
6. Free Traffic Source: Blog Design Adjustments
Blog Design Adjustments: Tweaking your site just a little can make huge differences to your traffic over time. Effective cross-linking, for example, will help Google to index your content, and help your human readers to see what other relevant content you have. Check out these 6 Ways to Boost Blog Traffic - all are design and writing approaches that will boost your ranking. These changes will also make for a better visitor experience and keep your readers on your site longer - which is never a bad thing.
7. Free Traffic Source: Content Aggregators
Content Aggregators: Getting your site (and posts) listed with a top content aggregator can send a flood of traffic. Consider Alltop.com. The benefit of an aggregator (a site that aggregates, or collects blog posts) is that they have a larger and broader readership than you do. By placing links to your content on these popular platforms, you can count on more traffic. But there’s a catch: they don’t accept just any site. While this is great for you when you are accepted, it can be hard to get accepted when your site is still new.
8. Free Traffic Source: Content Syndication
Content Syndication: This is most simply done via a RSS feed. This not only makes it easy for readers to follow your site but also notifies readers immediately upon publishing new content. Its a great way to bring readers back to your site everytime you publish a new piece of content. A popular tool to manage RSS feeds is FeedBurner (by Google).
9. Free Traffic Source: Write Great Content
Write Great Content: Nothing will build your traffic better than great content. Regardless of if it is blog posts, video or audio (or a combination of all three) you need to consistently produce great content. Great content encourages visitors to share your posts - via social media and links on their own sites and blogs. This social sharing by your readers has more weight than any purchased ad could ever carry.
10. Free Traffic Source: Build Your Blog Community
Build Your Blog Community: By taking the time to engage individual readers your site will benefit by increased traffic. An engaged community will happily share your content and refer new visitors to your site. Learn how to Build Your Blog Community.
11. Free Traffic Source: Guest Blogging
Guest Blogging: This is a popular one. But how should you do it? First of all, a guest post should only be done on a popular site (more popular than yours). And it should be your best stuff. A mediocre post will bring mediocre results. Post a compelling piece that adds real value to the site you are contributing to. This will help you get another opportunity to post. And give a lot of thought to your bio line. A well written bio will help motivate readers to click through to your site.
In addition to publishing great guest posts, it’s also important to accept guest posts. This helps widen your base of content and takes some writing pressure off of you. Be sure to publish a clear set of blogging guidelines - this will help reduce the number of low-quality posts that you will receive.
12. Free Traffic Source: Trackbacks
Trackbacks: WordPress (along with many other blogging platforms) has a great feature called trackbacks. What are Trackbacks? When you mention another blog on your site, their blog (if it is also on a supporting platform) will get a notification that they have been mentioned. It creates a linkback for readers to follow. It is an easy and effective way to both share great content and get contextual linkbacks.
13. Free Traffic Source: Video Syndication
Video Syndication: Creating video takes time but is worth the effort. Once the video is created, don’t stop with YouTube. Syndicate your video content with a service like OneLoad (owned by TubeMogul). OneLoad will take your video and share it across numerous platforms. Non-commercial use is free and the next level is $75 per month. Works flawlessly and exposes your message and content to millions more people.
14. Free Traffic Source: Video Tagging
Video Tagging: When you upload your videos, it’s important to take a few minutes to research the best tags for your post. One great way, is to check out similar and popular video posts. You can mirror theirs and thus increase the odds of showing up as a related video on their. This simple approach can increase video views and site traffic many times over.
15. Free Traffic Source: Cool Site of the Day
Cool Site of the Day: This extremely popular site has the power to send a huge amount of traffic to your site, should it be chosen as the Cool Site of the Day. They accept submissions, so if you have a unique site it’s worth the time to submit. If you are accepted you will see thousands of new vistors in a matter of hours.
You may also consider: Video Responses, Video Embedding, Writing Tutorials and using bookmarking sites as effective ways to generate more traffic. Getting traffic is a critical part of starting your online business.
Ready to start your blog? Here are 5 elements to start a successful blog.