Of all the things a successful online business owner needs, traffic is at the very top of the list.
But not just any traffic. What you’ll need in order to achieve success is targeted traffic.
That means people who are seriously interested in whatever information, product, or service you happen to be promoting.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways in which to generate traffic. Some good. Some not so good.
But if you handle them properly, any and all methods of gaining additional traffic can be beneficial.
For example, pay per click advertising is an excellent source of attracting highly and specifically targeted viewers.
And the more you step up your pay per click campaigns, the more traffic you’ll receive.
In fact, there’s no end to the amount of traffic – laser targeted traffic – you can ultimately generate. Just keep picking the right keywords and funding the account.
On the free side of traffic generation, you have search engine optimization at the top of the list.
It’s the most popular and widely used free method which can bring in hoards of viewers or a mere trickle, depending on the keyword or keywords chosen for web page optimization.
But when it comes to keyword SEO, quantity doesn’t always beat out quality.
That mere trickle of viewers who respond to a certain “obscure” or less than competitive keyword might not be large in numbers but they’ll be extremely large with regard to how targeted they are.
Conceivably, you could get much better results from the 100-a-month trickle viewers than you would from 1000 viewers responding to some other keyword.
The point is, any targeted traffic – which means any viewer who is specifically interested in what you’re offering – will provide solid and positive results.
Whether that equates to more subscribers signing up for your mailing list or more people purchasing your products or services, it still spells success.
Of course, pay per click and keyword SEO aren’t the only super stars in traffic generation.
Another very effective method of gaining traffic is to write and distribute your own articles.
Just pick a topic, one that relates to what you’re promoting while at the same time is associated with a targeted keyword.
Then write an article around that topic and include links that funnel people to the page or pages that contain information about any product or offer you mentioned in the article.
Other methods of traffic generation include…
- link popularity
- starting your own affiliate program
- posting on discussion boards
- posting comments on blogs
- creating and distributing free ebooks and software
- creating and distributing software utilities
- forming alliances with other business or product owners
- offering product testimonials and endorsements
- distributing a syndicated column
- making your blog or website content available through RSS
The list goes on and on. Just use your imagination, either to improvise on already established methods or to come up with your own creative ways of generating more traffic.
Of course, the best traffic methods are the ones you can set in motion once and still receive good results over an extended period of time… for weeks, months, or even years to come.
If you place a post on a discussion board, it will remain there indefinitely. Along with your signature file and/or reference to a specific URL address.
If you write an article and submit it to directories, it will be available for as long as those directories are in existence.
Along with a link back to whatever page or pages you’ve chosen to mention within the article and resource box.
If you create a free distribution eBook or software utility, it can be distributed and passed around for as long as there’s a perceivable value.
Along with advertising messages and links that lead to whatever you’re promoting as well as your primary website.
If you start your own affiliate program, you could have hundreds – if not thousands – of people promoting your products or services for you.
Along with links back to a page on your main website.
And of course, each and every one of these methods would be driving targeted traffic on a regular and continuous basis. All because you set something in motion once.
Regardless of what methods you use, it’s always a good idea to implement the most powerful ones first.
That would include keyword SEO, pay per click advertising, and writing and distributing your own articles.
Once you have those types of traffic generating methods solidly in place, start implementing the other methods. As many as you feel comfortable with.
But don’t stop at any point and time.
Whenever you have the time to do so, keep adding traffic generation methods as well as increasing the volume of those that are already in place.
That’s the way to ensure that you’ll not only receive a substantial amount of targeted traffic, you’ll be able to consistently raise the numbers.
And like all aspects of marketing and promotion, the more targeted prospects you attract, the more income you’ll ultimately bring in.
Traffic Generation Methods
Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to generating targeted traffic for free, this is by the far the most effective method you can choose. That is, assuming you do it properly.
The whole objective is to optimize individual pages for specific keywords.
Viewers search for those keywords, find your page listed in the search engine results, and subsequently go to that page.
Of course, there are specific details that need to be addressed in order for this method to bring in scores of targeted traffic.
For one thing, you need to choose the right keywords. That would be…
- keywords that are directly related to the content or subject matter of a particular page
- keywords that are widely searched for each and every month by a considerable number of people
- keywords that have little or no existing competition by other websites with similar content and/or purpose
You then need to create quality content that’s based on each of the keywords you’ve chosen.
The more content you place on your website, and the more content-laden pages you create, the more search engine traffic you’ve receive.
The only problem is, it takes a great deal of time and effort to create individual web pages. Especially since you have to create them with search engines in mind.
It’s not just a matter of jotting down subject matter and getting it on your website.
You need to carefully choose topics that can be optimized for keywords that can generate the most traffic, either individually or collectively.
If you can afford it, pay per click advertising is the most effective and productive method of gaining traffic.
And since you choose and then bid on keywords that are precisely and specifically associated with your offer, you’re guaranteed to receive highly targeted traffic.
Another top benefit is the fact that you can start receiving traffic right away, oftentimes within minutes of launching a pay per click campaign.
Which in turn means you can begin to receive financial benefit almost immediately as well.
Naturally, you’ll want to conduct a fair amount of research before diving into any pay per click campaign.
That includes choosing the right (and most effective) keywords for your particular niche, determining how often those keywords are being search for each month, and establishing how much competition already exists for each keyword.
Once you’ve conducted all the necessary research, you then need to isolate the keywords that would most likely generate the best results.
Performing each of the tasks involved in that type of research can be performed manually.
Or, you can save a great deal of time and effort by simply using a program like Ad Word Analyzer ( http://www.adwordanalyzer.com ).
What’s most important about the pay per click ads you write is maintaining a balance between the amount of targeted traffic you attract and preventing too many clicks from people who are not seriously interested in what you’re offering.
Write and Distribute Articles
As previously mentioned, you want to choose topics that are related to both a product or offer you’re promoting and one or more targeted keywords that are associated with whatever you’re promoting.
That gives you two distinct advantages…
One, you’re able to capitalize on everyone who is searching for a particular keyword and will therefore already be highly interested in the subject of your article.
Two, you’re able to mention specific products or offers within the article (related to both the topic and the keyword) and then provide links that take the reader directly to any pages you’ve chosen.
For example, let’s say your article explains how to use Google AdWords more effectively and you‘re an affiliate for Ad Word Analyzer ( http://www.adwordanalyzer.com )…
Within the body of the article, you could mention that Ad Word Analyzer is the perfect research tool and then include either your affiliate link or the page on your website where you pre-sell the product.
And don’t forget your “about the author” resource box. It’s the perfect opportunity to advertise your business, your website, your products, or even drive people to a page where they can sign up for your mailing list.
Of course, once you’ve written an article, you need to get it published and distributed.
To start with, place it on your own website (hopefully within a separate section that contains all those other quality articles you’ve written).
Next, submit the article to as many directories as possible. That will allow other website and newsletter owners to use your articles for their own content.
The top article directories include…
You’ll also want to encourage people who visit your website to use your articles. Ways to do that would be…
- Tell them outright that your articles are free for reprint as long as no changes are made and the resource box is included and remains in tact.
- Provide the means for people to simply copy and paste your article, both in text and HTML format
- Place your articles in a zip file that people can download to their own computer.
It’s also a good idea to have them sign up for notification whenever a new article becomes available.
That accomplishes two things at once… you get additional mailing list members and you give people the opportunity to publish your latest articles hot off the keyboard.
Remember, the more times your articles are published and distributed, the more traffic you’ll receive.
So you need to do everything you can to make it easy and convenient for website and newsletter owners to use your content.
This is probably the most controversial of all traffic generation methods.
Not because it’s a bad idea, it’s just that the majority of people don’t seem to use the method to it’s full potential.
Or worse, they use the method in a way that does more harm than good.
The first thing you need to understand is that search engines don’t generally reward websites for having a vast number of links to other websites.
What they reward is how many quality links point back to any given website.
If you get involved with a large link directory and exchange links with countless other websites, you’ll receive a certain degree of benefit.
Both in terms of traffic and search engine reward. However…
If numerous high-ranking websites are linking to specific pages on your website – and the links contain keyword-rich text rather than just a URL address – you’re going to experience highly targeted traffic and a very large thumbs up from the search engines.
So it stands to reason that merely exchanging links – “I’ll put your link on my page if you’ll put my link on yours” – is not the most effective method.
Not for gaining targeted traffic or attaining higher search engine page rank and position.
What you need to do is concentrate on gaining links from quality websites that already enjoy a large amount of traffic.
The same viewers who would be interested in your product or niche market.
There are two primary ways that you can do that…
- Seek out and contact the owners of those beneficial websites and then offer some type of deal that would involve them placing a link to your site on one of their pages.
For example, you could give them a major discount on a product you’re selling.
Or, you could create a custom eBook that includes their business information and then have them distribute it to their viewers.
Whatever you choose to do, the idea is to reward the website owner in some form or another.
And since it’s beneficial to approach them with an offer that is specific to them, you should always become familiar with their particular business prior to making contact.
That way, you can come up with something that’s tailor-made for each of the owners you approach.
- Place webmaster tools, online generators, how-to instructions, or any other helpful service that other website owners would be interested in linking to.
For example, the web page where people can download the free Adobe Reader from Adobe.com ( http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html ) carries a Google page rank of 10.
That’s because so many other websites have chosen to provide a link to that page.
Mind you, although countless pages throughout the internet are displaying a link to that page, Adobe is not reciprocating any of those links or engaging in any form of link exchange.
They don’t have to. The page has something on it that is so useful, other websites automatically link to it without expecting anything reciprocal.
For your own page content, you can pretty much provide anything you like.
The only criteria is that it’s extremely valuable and useful to other webmasters (just like the download for the Adobe Reader).
They simply consider it beneficial to pass the information along to their own website visitors and then do so.
And since you want to encourage other websites to link to yours, it’s important that you give them the exact information.
In other words, don’t just ask them to provide a link back. Give them precisely what they need.
That would include the URL address and the words that you would like hyperlinked when they place it on their website.
Drive Highly Targeted Traffic To Your Website
Generate Tens Of Thousands Of Targeted Viewers
Get Top Ranking In Major Search Engines
Basically, you’re the one who determines what type of link gets displayed. That gives you the ability to tap into popular and effective keywords.
And that gives you a lot more credibility and value where search engines are concerned.
For convenience, have those links set up so that someone can simply copy and paste the code.
It makes it easy for them and it ensures that the link will be displayed exactly as you intended (as well as guaranteeing that it works properly).
Start Your Own Affiliate Program
If you have your own product or service, you can set up an affiliate program so that other people can promote it in exchange for a percentage of the sales they make.
The two methods of establishing this type of system are either installing your own affiliate program software or using an online service.
Either way, it’s important that you provide support for your affiliates.
That alone will make the difference between generating a considerable amount of traffic and achieving less than glowing results.
What you want is an entire sales force of eager affiliates who actively promote, market, and advertise your product.
For that to happen, you have to make certain they have everything they need in order to be successful.
- Have someone (or some system) available to answer questions and provide assistance.
- Develop a frequently asked questions section that gives comprehensive answers.
- Establish a knowledge base that contains marketing and promotion advice and information.
- Provide them with plenty of quality ads, images, and sales content – in addition to the usual affiliate sales page.
These are just a few of the ways you can help your affiliates succeed.
Remember… the more success your affiliates experience, the more traffic and income you and your business will ultimately enjoy.
Post On Discussion Boards
If you have the time, posting on discussion boards can be an extremely effective means of gaining traffic.
For one thing, you’ll have a signature file (which will contain a link to your website) and oftentimes a link to something that you’ve referenced within your post.
Granted, in most instances you won’t be able to outwardly promote something. But discussion boards generally do allow URL’s that lead to additional topic information.
Let’s say, for example, someone wants to know some of the best keyword SEO tactics and you‘ve written a report about that particular topic.
Most boards would allow you to include the URL address where the report can be downloaded.
If the board doesn’t allow you to do that, you can still let the person know about the free report and suggest they contact you through email for the download location.
Either way, it gives you the opportunity to let people know about you and your business.
As long as you use discussion boards wisely – and don’t break any of the board rules – you can gain a great deal of benefit.
Not just in terms of people getting to know and respect you and your expertise, but in terms of the traffic you’ll receive from the links that are attached to your posts.
To get started, conduct searches for discussion boards that have topics directly related to your business.
Once you’ve visited them, single out the ones you feel are the most active and the most compatible with whatever advice or information you have to offer.
Beyond that, all you have to do is contribute a valuable post now and then, always leaving your URL “footprint” behind.
Post Blog Comments
Although this method is similar to posting on discussion boards, it can gain you much more traffic.
Blogs are currently one of the hottest marketing and promotion techniques, responsible for attracting and distributing unlimited amounts of targeted traffic.
If you happen to have your own blog or network of blogs, you’re way ahead of the game.
But even if you don’t have the time or the means to maintain your own, you can always contribute to someone else’s blog.
Just like discussion boards, find blogs that have content directly related to your business or niche.
Frequent them on a regular basis and place valuable and informative comments whenever possible.
The advantage here is that there are no restrictions with regard to placing links or URL addresses within blog comments. Within reason, of course.
If you get too carried away and use your comments solely as a means to blatantly advertise, the owners can and will remove your posts.
Create and Distribute Free Promotional eBooks
Creating and distributing free eBooks is a tremendous viral marketing technique.
And the reason it’s so successful is simply because this type of product can be responsible for a substantial amount of targeted traffic.
That’s assuming the content of the eBook is valuable and interesting, something the average reader would feel is worth passing along to someone else.
Once you know it qualifies in that respect, you can begin the distribution process.
The first step is to get your eBooks out to as many locations as possible.
That would include eBook directories, download sites (such as CNET ( http://www.cnet.com ), and private websites that contain similar or related content.
You should also actively seek out website and newsletter owners and offer them a special deal.
For example, you could customize the eBook with their business name and information.
You should also consider publishing eBooks that are created with a specific product or website owner in mind.
Let’s say you find a popular and high-traffic website where dog products are sold.
You could contact the owner and offer to write a how-to eBook about house training a puppy. Or whatever topic the owner feels would be beneficial to their clientele.
To encourage the owner to widely distribute the eBook, it would be customized with their website or product information (website name and URL address, product sales page, product ad).
And naturally, like any of your other eBooks, it would also include information about you and your website.
The goal is to create an eBook that’s geared toward one specific marketer who just happens to have a large subscriber or viewer base.
That way, you both benefit from having the eBook distributed.
You could also establish this same type of joint venture with an eBook that you sell rather than give away.
Just give the owner a fair and equitable percentage of every sale made through their promotion efforts.
But whether it’s a free eBook or one that’s being sold, let the owner know the product you’re offering to create will be exclusive to them and only them.
If they agree, stick to the deal (don‘t share the eBook with several different site owners).
Create and Distribute Free Software Utilities
This is basically the same concept as creating and distributing eBooks.
If you come up with a good idea for a software product or utility, hire a programmer through a service like Elance ( http://www.elance.com ) or Script lance ( http://www.scriptlance.com ) to create it for you.
Just make certain that you have them include information about your business and/or website.
For example, you could have an “About” button included that displays your business name and URL address.
You could even include a brief ad or link to your mailing list or newsletter sign-up page. Whatever you feel is most beneficial to your business.
That way, any and all copies of the software that get passed around will lead back to your website. That amounts to great viral marketing and lots of free publicity.
And that means more traffic, which is exactly what you want.
Although these are commonly referred to as joint ventures, they are simply an arrangement between you and some other party for the purpose of generating additional income (or some other designated result, such as gaining new mailing list members).
No matter what kind of alliance you’re looking for, you need to conduct a fair amount of research before you approach anyone.
Start by determining exactly what you have to offer. Then search for websites, products, and businesses that would make for compatible partnerships.
For example, if you’ve written a book on how to house train a puppy, a website that sells dog supplies would be a good prospect.
Once you’ve located a number of possible partners, you need to become familiar with their operation.
That way, when you contact the owner, you can personalize the communication…
This is Matt Warner from [ insert your website name and URL address ].
I just visited your Dog Palace website and I was especially impressed by the quality of your products. But what really got my attention was the creative manner in which you present them. Being a dog lover myself, I have to say, it was quite an enjoyable experience!
The more personal and specific you can make the letter, the more likely the owner will take your offer seriously. So it’s important to invest as much time and effort is necessary to gather information about your prospective partners.
And don’t be vague about what kind of deal you’re offering. Before you ever contact someone, decide exactly what you want – and what you’re willing to give the other party – so you can provide specific details.
If they’ll be selling your product, let them know exactly what the terms are and how much commission they’ll be making on each sale.
If you want them to promote your product to their mailing list, tell them exactly what they’ll receive by doing so.
If you’re going to include their information in your eBook, show them exactly where and how it will be displayed.
And don’t be afraid to give more than you get. This type of partnership is more about establishing a relationship that will reward you with additional exposure and traffic.
First time around, you might not gain as much as the other guy. But you’ve set the stage for future business arrangements.
Always think in terms of long-range benefit rather than immediate compensation.
Putting together a one-shot deal isn’t half as beneficial as building a foundation that will bring in traffic and increase sales for an extended period of time.
Product testimonials and endorsements are a great way to get free publicity.
Just write something positive and send it to the owner, letting them know they can use what you’ve written as a public testimonial (on their website, in their newsletter, in their ads).
But don’t ever write testimonials just to receive traffic. You need to genuinely be familiar with and like the product.
That way you can be honest if someone should contact you personally and ask for additional information or confirmation.
And since this method is intended to gain you traffic for your own business, make certain the owner includes URL addresses in their testimonials before you even consider writing something.
What you’ve looking for is high profile products on web pages that receive a substantial amount of traffic.
Add your testimonial to that equation and you’ll gain considerable and valuable exposure.
Start A Syndicated Column
It doesn’t have to be an actual column. You could simply write tips, advice, or general information on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly).
Of course, it would be to your advantage to turn that content into an “official” column, one that could be used by owners of both websites and newsletters.
Think about all the publicity and recognition you would receive.
It would not only include content that is valuable and interesting, it would contain your byline. And that would include your name, your business, and your URL address.
Whatever the content happens to be, the idea is to make it possible for other webmasters to display it on their sites.
Following are two of the most common methods used to distribute and share content…
Server Side Includes (SSI)
This one solves the problem of not having actual content in the source code. When the web page is live, the code is automatically replaced with whatever content is in the file that’s been called up.
That means the search engine spiders see the content and not the code. And of course, that also means the web page will get credit for whatever text and/or keywords are displayed there, just like any other web content.
Taking it a step further, if you included a link somewhere in that syndicated content that led back to your website, and it was in the form of text that was keyword rich, you would get credit for that valuable link. For each and every occasion someone else displayed your content on their web page.
If the content was contained in a file called seo-tips.html, this would be the SSI code that would be placed in the user’s web page code…
Unlike other HTML documents, the ones that are associated with SSI only contain the exact content and nothing more (no HTML, HEAD or BODY tags).
The only drawback to this method is the fact that the page used for displaying server side includes needs to have an .shtml extension. Since regular website pages don’t carry that extension, the server side include won’t even display.
One way around that problem is to include the following code in the .htaccess file.
AddHandler server-parsed .html .htm
Once that‘s done, server side includes will display on pages with .html and .htm extensions.
Start Your Own Blog
These days, a blog that’s operated properly is considered one of the best methods for generating a great deal of traffic.
Assuming, of course, that you even have the time and inclination to operate your own blog.
It’s not easy. Statistically speaking, there are a lot more blogs started and abandoned than those that remain alive and active.
It’s no different than publishing a newsletter… seems like a good idea at the time, but after a while, it just gets way too difficult to maintain.
For the most part, it’s a matter of providing quality content week after week, month after month.
Unless you have little else to do, or an endless supply of relevant topics running through your head, it’s unlikely you would be able to keep up the pace.
Considering the value and benefit a blog can provide, if there’s any way you can keep one going, it’s something you should definitely think about.
Share Your Blog or Website Content Through RSS Feeds
One of the most creative methods of getting traffic to your website is to share content through RSS feeds.
What you do is supply other webmasters with content that contains links which lead back to your website.
The content can take any form you choose. It can be a list of article titles that are hyperlinked.
It can be a list of article titles that each include a brief description of the content contained in the article. It can even be the article itself.
If you operate a blog, you can share part of the content through RSS feeds but bring viewers to the website to read the rest of the post.
The content you provide through RSS feeds is entirely up to you, depending on what type of content you have available.
You also have to decide how much content should be included in the feed.
Some webmasters will be looking for “filler” while others will be looking for major content, such as complete articles.
That being the case, any quality content you provide would be suitable for delivery through RSS feeds.
For information on how to create your own RSS feeds, there’s a comprehensive article entitled “Making An RSS Feed” by Danny Sullivan.
You can find it on the Search Engine Watch website at http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2175271.
Traffic Generation Checklist
- What you need in order to achieve success is targeted traffic, people who are seriously interested in whatever information, product, or service you happen to be promoting.
- When it comes to keyword SEO, quantity doesn’t always beat out quality. Fewer viewers who respond to a less competitive keyword might not be large in numbers but they’ll be extremely large with regard to how targeted they are.
- The best traffic methods are ones you can set in motion once and still receive good results over an extended period of time.
- The objective of SEO is to optimize individual pages for specific keywords. Viewers search for those keywords, find your page listed in the search engines, and subsequently go to that page.
- Choose keywords that are directly related to the content of a particular page, are widely searched for every month, and have little or no existing competition.
- With pay per click, you can start receiving traffic right away, oftentimes within minutes of launching a campaign.
- When writing articles, choose topics that are related to both a product you’re promoting and a targeted keyword that is associated with that product.
- Submit articles to as many directories as possible. That will allow other website and newsletter owners to use your articles for their content.
- If numerous high-ranking websites are linking to specific pages on your website, and the links contain keyword-rich text, you’ll experience highly targeted traffic and a large thumbs up from search engines.
- Concentrate on gaining links from quality websites that already enjoy a large amount of traffic.
- When you have your own affiliate program, you want an entire sales force of people who actively promote, market, and advertise your product. For that to happen, you have to make certain they have everything they need in order to be successful.
- Use discussion boards wisely and you’ll gain a great deal of benefit, both in terms of people getting to know you as an expert in your field and the traffic you’ll receive from links that are attached to your posts.
- Find blogs that have content directly related to your niche. Frequent them on a regular basis and place valuable and informative comments whenever possible.
- Creating and distributing your own free ebooks and software products can be a great method of gaining large amounts of targeted traffic.
- Before contacting joint venture partners become familiar with their business so you can personalize the communication.
- Look for high profile products on web pages that receive a substantial amount of traffic. Send the owner a positive comment about that product and let them know they can use what you’ve written as a testimonial.
- Assuming you have the time to do it properly, operating your own blog can be one of the best methods for generating a great deal of traffic.
- Supplying website or blog content through RSS feeds is one of the most creative and effective methods of gaining widespread viewer traffic.