I get frequent inquiries from people about how they can “work for traffic”. If you are on a budget you may need to consider some of the options below which allow you to exchange your time, content and participation for free exposure. Choose the one that speaks to your personality best.
- Blog commenting.
This is a fast an easy way to get targeted visitors to your website very quickly. There is a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to find blogs in your niche and after reading the article you leave a relevant comment on the topic. Never plug yourself or your website just interact with your industry. Leave comments in places where they let you link back to your site.I use Twitter to find new blog posts in my genre. I use an application like TweetDeck or TweetGlide to help me find new blog articles. I enter a search like “marketing blog” or “marketing post” and then click on the urls that show up in my search feed. The best part is I get to learn new things while I leave breadcrumbs behind.
- Get a flickr account and use it.
Most people know that flickr is a photo sharing website like youtube is to video. What they don’t know is that flickr can get you thousands of photo views each day if you play it out correctly. I suggest getting a pro account which is $40 per year. It allows you unlimited storage and more group submissions. More on that in a second.Make sure when you setup your flickr profile you add a link to your website. Flickr allows you to add a title, description and tags to your images. I suggest you do this thoroughly in order to ensure your image is easy to find. Lastly you should search flickr groups and join the ones you think your photo(s) will fit into. Submit your photos to those groups until you have hit your group limit on each photo.
This may apply to you or not. I like to get t-shirts made with my web urls on them and shoot sexy models wearing my gear. These images are easy to get thousands of views if done right so get a nice t-shirt made up because thousands will see your name/logo.
Everyone talks about twitter as a traffic resource but the reality is that most people don’t get twitter. So they open an account, follow a bunch of people and start posting links to their affiliate site or blog. The reality is that twitter is a global conversation and the more you participate in this the better.I mentioned above that I use an applications like TweetDeck or TweetGlide to help me find relevant blogs to comment on. I also use them to interact with people who share my interests. The key here is to not pretend you are someone else but to be yourself. Being someone else is much harder work and you will never be genuine.
I have over 7000 twitter followers which may seem small but this group of people all have something in common with me. I interact with people who have the same hobbies, business interests, eating habits etc. We all have something in common.
Any sales training you take will tell you to find a common ground with your customer base. I am finding common ground and making friends online first. I am not overly concerned with selling everyone on my followers list but I do understand that like minded people will probably like the things I like. I never sell anything I don’t like myself so I know my followers won’t get duped.
I also think it’s important to @reply people often even if you don’t follow them (@reply works from public searches). This allows everyone in your niche to interact with you.
- Participate in forums.
Forums are a great way to generate traffic to your website. Find forums related to your website and join them. An easy way to find forums is to do a google search for “term + vbulletin” for instance will result in vbulletin powered forums which are usually the best.Set up your signature (read each forums rules) with a small text link to your website if allowed. If not leave it to your homepage. Again the rule here is simple, you need to participate in discussions with real content. There are no shortcuts to building a profile in a community.
- Youtube videos
Even if you are camera shy you can make good youtube content. Each youtube video you publish can be linked back to your website in the description. You can upload your powerpoint or keynote presentations, screencasts, skype calls whatever you have in video format will do.Proper titles, descriptions (with links) and tags are necessary to success, but don’t ignore the content. The more entertaining, informative, or shocking your video can be the better. Make something people want to send to their friends and add to their blog.
At the end of your video urge the viewer to share the video, add it to their blog or website, email it to friends, tweet or publish to facebook. You would be surprised how far asking (and giving permission) for your content to be shared goes.
Craigslist can be a great business resource if used correctly. You can post ads in some sections for easy traffic. You can even link to your website if you post in the proper category. The key here is to post less than 3 times a day.For maximum exposure try selling your products (if you have any) in the for sale or even in the barter sections. There are no shortage of ways you can trade your excess stock or time for other things you may need.
If you have an affiliate base you can ask them to post in their local craigslist as well. This increases your traffic drastically.
- Social Bookmarking
Many people think that social bookmarking is just for their websites. An effective social book-marker will submit every piece of content they publish on the above sites to the many different sites that allow this. These include but are not limited to Digg Reddit, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Delicious or Yahoo Buzz.The more content you submit to these sites, the more eyeballs you will have on your individual content pieces. It’s important to spend time on each site checking out the submitted content and voting on it. Each one of these sites is a community and you should treat them as such in order to get the most out of each.
- (bonus) Get a free TweetGlide account
TweetGlide allows you to display your ads for free in exchange for using their application with twitter. I have signed up for an account and my ads are already getting free views. I suggest you download it and try for yourself. Click here to sign up under me.
I have noticed a trend lately towards quick fix solutions to getting free traffic. Either through automation software, outsourcing, or other shortcuts. For the most part these tools may pay off in the short term but eventually the people who use these tools get banned from the place they are trying to milk for traffic. I have heard countless stories from people who tried to “game the system” with any number of sites. Only to get banned later or in some cases sued by these web 2.0 companies. In my opinion slow and steady wins the race.
I am not saying you shouldn’t use helper applications. Just be careful to only use the software approved by the site you are using it with. Sets like Twitter, flickr etc. Have lists of approved applications you can download. I suggest you stick to what they recommend. Best of luck with your online business.