There’s really no point in having a website if no one comes to it.
Often times people tend to think of a website the way Kevin Costner thought in the movie Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.
Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. People often put a great deal of thought, energy, time and money into launching a website, only to be shocked when no one actually comes to visit.
Generating traffic to a website can seem like a mysterious form of voodoo to some. Especially when it comes to free traffic. I put the quote marks around free, because nothing is truly free. Your time is certainly worth something, and generating free traffic does take time.
That being said, if you’re willing to devote about an hour a day to these traffic generation methods, your can quickly find yourself generating hundreds of new leads to your website in a relatively short period of time.
Keep in mind that this is just an overview of 14 of the most effective Free traffic methods available.
This isn’t an in depth tutorial on how to use each method, and in fact, I plan on drilling down and devoting articles to several of these methods individually.
So, without further ado, here are the 14 ways to get free traffic to your site.
1. Classified Websites:
One of most plentiful sources of Free traffic on the Internet is Craigslist.org. Whether you’re selling a product or a service there is likely a section you can post in for free.
In addition to posting on Craigslist, which is one of the top 20 websites on the Internet, there are also several other classified sites you can list in for free.
Facebook can be a tremendous resource when it comes to generating free traffic to your website.
The key to using Facebook and other social media sites is to NOT SPAM.
Never, ever directly promote your services, product or website.
Instead, create fun, interesting, valuable content on your blog and mention your new blog article on Facebook from time to time.
The key is to do this sparingly and not use Facebook as a way to SPAM your friends.
Also, be an active participant in Facebook in general. Post pictures regularly. Comment on other people’s status. Engage with your community of friends online.
This way when you do post the occasional blog update from your site, it is balanced by plenty of genuine personal interactions.
I’m not much of an authority when it comes to twitter, and frankly I still don’t exactly get it.
That being said here’s a method advocated my many so-called experts to establish authority on Twitter.
Become a curator of content on a given niche or topic you want to be an authority on.
Share relevant, newsworthy and unusual links relating to your topic.
Never SPAM or promote direct promotions using twitter.
From time to time, mention your latest blog posts to drive traffic to your website.
Send @mentions to authorities within your niche.
Follow people who are already active in the niche you’re promoting.
Join conversations within hash tag topics.
YouTube is the second most popular Search Engine on the planet.
More than Bing and Yahoo combined!
It’s also one of the top 5 most visited sites on the Internet.
A tried and true strategy to generate links from YouTube is to create a channel on a given topic or niche and create a series of tutorial or informational videos relating to that topic.
In the description box for each video add a link to your website. (Make sure to include the https:// or it won’t be a live link.)
Also in all of your video content add an overlay to your website url at the bottom of the video. (this is an image with your website url written out)
At the end of your videos have a strong call to action to send people to your website.
Offer them a free gift or free report if they visit your website.
Make sure the title of your videos relate to specific keywords that are often searched for.
5. Article Marketing
Posting articles on these high authority sites makes it much more likely they will be found by search engines.
At the bottom of each article there is room for an author box with a link back to your website.
In that box add a strong call to action to visit your website and offer additional content if they come to your site.
6. Forum Posting
Forum posting is one of the most powerful and little known secrets to generating traffic.
The concept is simple. Find a forum relating to the niche or topic your website relates to. To do this, go to Google and type: your niche forum.
The top few results should be the top forums relating to your niche.
The next step is to edit the signature of your forum profile.
Almost all forums allow you to add a hyperlink to your website on your signature.
The key is to ad a descriptive link on your signature.
So instead of something like: Gardening Website put something like: Free Gardening Tips or Gardening Secrets Revealed.
Then, what you do is become an active member in that forum. Answer questions. Post topics. Respond to threads.
If you spend about 30 min a day just being active on forums, you should be able to generate 50-75 visitors a day from that method alone.
7. Blog Commenting
Blog commenting is very similar in strategy to Forum Posting.
The idea is to find popular blogs relating to the topic your website covers.
Again, a simple Google search of: your niche and blog should give you some great results.
The key is to give relevant and thoughtful comments to the blog articles you post in.
Writing: great article will always be seen as SPAM. Instead, be specific and mention a certain point of the article you either agree or disagree with.
When you post your comment, there’s a field that allows you to post your link.
You’d be surprised by the number of blog readers who click on your link back to your site if you give a thoughtful and intelligent comment.
8. Sniper Search Engine Optimization
When people think of SEO or Search Engine Optimization they think of ranking for highly competitive terms such as real estate or insurance quotes
Instead focus on long tail keywords. Terms such at affordable real estate in SoMa rather than just real estate
Write articles or blog posts with the title being the long tail keyword you’re hoping to rank for.
The key to this approach is volume.
In many ways SEO can be like the lottery. And each page on your site is a ticket. The more pages you have, the more chances you have of being found by Google and getting visitors to your site.
9. Free Press Releases
Getting a press release sent out through PRWeb.com and PRNewswire.com can cost you a pretty penny.
But there are sites out there who will post your press release on the Internet for free.
Here’s a list of some free press release sites:
Here’s an interesting way to get free traffic to your website.
Many people have email lists or address books with people who know and trust them.
If you have a product or service you can approach people with these lists and offer them to partner with you.
They send an email blast to their list of subscribers. If any of them buy your service or product, you pay a commission.
What’s great about this method of traffic is that you only pay for success.
This is essentially Free traffic, unless you make a sale.
Another popular social networking site is LinkedIn.
Here are two great things about using LinkedIn.
#1. It’s a business related site. So it’s expected that you will be promoting your business and services on it.
#2. Far fewer people are using LinkedIn to generate leads than they are on Twitter or Facebook, so your competition level is much lower.
Some keys to succeeding in LinkedIn are to make sure you optimize your profile for the keywords and terms you want to rank for.
Be aggressive in expanding your network and connecting with new people.
Get as many people as you can to review you or your business as you can.
Link your blog to LinkedIn using a service such as HootSuite so each time you post a new article on your blog, it automatically gets pushed to your LinkedIn.
As a sidenote, I would not recommend using HootSuite for your facebook updates. Data has shown that posts are less likely to show up on people’s walls when being posted by automated software.
I’m probably the last person who should be giving advice on Yelp.
I have 32 five star reviews, but only one of them is showing. The others have been flagged as Spam, even though they are 100% legitimate.
So with this word of caution. Do not be too aggressive when promoting yourself on Yelp.
My speculation is that they heavily weigh the referring site when they filter Yelp reviews. And if they were directly referred from your site or email address they will likely flag the review as Spam.
For a better look at Yelp and what you should do, I highly recommend David Spark’s recent article.
13. Google Places
Here’s a secret treasure trove many people still don’t know about.
When you go to Google Maps and search for a business you’ll see a map filled with dots and balloons representing businesses.
The dots are typically businesses that have been unclaimed by the business owner.
If you have a business and you haven’t registered with Google Places yet, you must.
Please feel free to contact me if you need help with this process, as the steps involved go beyond the scope of this blog post.
Or simply do a Google search for: Register with Google Places.
It has been alluded to in other methods, but one of the best ways to generate free traffic to your site is to have a blog.
I can tell you first hand, that out of all the websites I’ve built for other people, the ones with blogs have generated FAR more traffic than the ones without them.
By doing nothing but blogging regularly, you are almost guaranteed to generate free traffic from Google.
If you complement Blogging with some of the other tips outlined in this post, you will greatly boost your blogging efforts.
The key to blogging is to write about things that people will either find useful, interesting or entertaining.
Create a blog calendar to know all the topics you will cover a month in advance.
And dedicate a sacred time each week where you will devote to writing your blog articles.
So there you have it. 14 of the best ways to generate Free traffic to your website.
This is by no means an exhaustive look at all the ways to generate traffic to your site.
But it is a great place to get started.
Choose 2 or 3 methods to start with, and commit to making a dedicated effort to implementing them regularly. If you do, you’ll be generating traffic in no time.
Let me know your thoughts. If you found this article useful and if you have any other methods you’d like to share.