How to get traffic to my website?

"How to make $1000 a month online from scratch" has proven to be one of our most popular article series. It has recently been updated to support the latest online developments and innovations.

When I was starting out, for a long time in fact, I felt that generating traffic was some kind of secret art form that only a few lucky people held the keys to.

Nowadays, I know that generating traffic isn’t anything mystical at all. It’s actually quite simple when you break it down. It boils down to a few critical and fundamental elements that given enough time and patience, anyone can achieve.

There are really two methodologies when generating traffic. One is generating it free, and the other is paying for it. These days, I’m happy to pay for traffic because I have a good handle on the numbers required to make it work. Of course having a decent budget behind you helps too.

However, we’re not going to look at any paid traffic (except one special kind) for now. Because of the limited budgets of most people starting out, I’m going to look at how to generate lots of traffic on a shoestring.

Free Traffic Fundamentals

There are really three major ways to generate traffic without any upfront costs. They are:

Via Search Engines
Via Direct Links
Via Affiliate Traffic (which isn’t free, but you don’t have to pay for that up front).

As usual, I like to follow the 80/20 rule when working at this stuff. I try to do things so they target at least two of these ways at once. So, for example, I like to target traffic that is going to help in my SEO efforts and generate direct traffic at once, rather than separately.

Now I am going to let you in on a traffic secret. Well, I guess it’s not so much a secret, but more of a revelation that I had about getting lots of traffic. It’s important to read this carefully because it’s easy to miss the gold here.

Getting lots of free traffic is about creating a snowball that keeps getting bigger and bigger as it keeps rolling. It’s about exponential effects when you have the right elements in place. Think about this carefully.

You can generate large, perpetual traffic like this:

Create content that people value
Get links to your content
Rank well in search engines
People find your valuable content and link to you
Rank even better in search engines
Create more valuable content
People find your new valuable content and link to you
Improve search engine and direct linking traffic
Create more valuable content... etc

As you can see, this has a snowballing effect. This growth is started and fueled by the creation of valuable content.

Which is why I keep raving on about it not being about the technology. It’s all about the content. You just need a framework that’s going to support your content being found. Once the snowball starts rolling and you keep kicking it by adding more content your traffic will just continue to grow.

The sooner you can get this drummed into your head, the more free traffic you’re going to get. Perhaps you understand the principle already. But are you doing it?

Keyword Research

The starting point for this whole process is by finding out exactly what people are looking for.  Without this, you’re flying blind. You’re simply guessing.

An educated guess is OK, but our time is too precious to not get it right the first time. Especially when the actual results are often counter intuitive.

For example, what do you think would have more volume: "golf putter" or "golf putting"?

Well, I really have no idea. I would have to guess and say they are about the same. Was I right? Not even close.

According to the new keyword volume figures in Google's keyword research tool, "golf putter" gets twice as much traffic as "golf putting".

For other fundamentals on getting keyword research right, see my introduction to keyword research article here, and my keyword research concepts article here.

How To Kick Off The Traffic Snowball

Once you’ve found the content to create that is valuable to people via your keyword research, we’ve got to look at using the right methodologies and best practices to leverage this content as much as possible.

Much of this is hinging on search engine traffic and is supplemented by direct traffic. So we want to focus our energies on doing the activities that will work both of these angles in synergy.
 
Many people will have you think this stuff is incredibly complex. It can be at times with large sites and when you start pushing the optimization envelope into shady territories. However, solid, reliable search engine optimization is pretty simple really.

Just use the following principles.

On Page

If you’re lucky enough to be an NPC owner, the best practices are recommended to you on the fly. So as you create your pages, it makes recommendations on how you can improve to generate more traffic. This is obviously very helpful for the beginner, and is a strong reason for using NPC as your site platform.

Regardless of your site building platform, ensure for every page you create, the page contains the following based on your keyword research for the topic you’re covering.

Put your keywords in the title tag (e.g. <title>)

This should be no longer than 8 words. You should focus on having a nice blend of enticement and targeted keywords. So when people see the page in the search results it looks like a page that they want to visit while at the same time still being optimized.

Put your keywords in your meta tags

The meta tags are not as important as they used to be, but still shouldn’t be neglected. You should aim to have unique meta tags for every page. The most important is the description meta tag because this is often displayed in the search results.

So you want to have this as enticing as possible so when people see the top 10 results, they believe that your listing is going to be the best to answer their query.

Your site builder should allow you to specify these meta tags when creating a page.
 

Put your keywords in your page heading tags (e.g. <h1>)

In a similar way to your title tag, you should aim to have text based heading tags. This should be a natural and exciting heading, but still containing the keywords that you are targeting.

Put your keywords naturally in your content

Your content should also naturally contain your keywords. You should consider mixing up your keyword usage within your content to try to capture other keyword phrases.

A good guide is to use the same keyword variations as you’ve put in your meta tags. So take your central concept that the page is about, and then think of the keyword variations that people might use to find this kind of content.

Think about grabbing a thesaurus and seeing if there are any other synonyms that you could be using as well.

Put your keywords sparingly on your alt tags

If you’ve got graphics on your page, considering writing a natural piece of unique, keyword rich text to apply to the alternative text (alt tag) on your image.
 

Put your keywords in your page name

One of the more important components is to include the keyword text within the page file name itself. So if you were targeting the keyword phrase “ping putter review” you’d want to have the file name on the page to look like this.

www.golfputters.com/ping-putter-review.php

If your site building tool can’t generate website addresses like this you should consider changing.

While there are other optimization strategies, if you can do all of these, you are well on your way to creating a traffic magnet page.

On Site

Some people forget about the onsite optimization. It’s an important aspect, and can get pretty advanced if you want it to. In reality, if you can get a few of the basics right, you’re doing enough to not be concerned with the advanced stuff.

The two things I recommend that you always follow:

Keep your site in themes

This is all about how your structure your site. Ensure that you work from broad topic down into more specific sub-topics. This will help the search engines to understand the content themes on your site and may help with your ranking potential.

Link to content within your own site with keyword rich anchor text

Be sure to link to all of your content within your site with text links that contain the keywords that you want the page your linking into to rank well for. So for example, if you had a page on “ping putters” then you should have text links throughout the site with the words “ping putters” linking to that page. The search engines see this as an indication of what the page is about, and doing so will help it rank.

Off Site

So once you’ve got the traffic-producing mechanics right with respect to the site itself, it’s now time to pour your efforts into doing the right things off site that help produce that synergistic mix of direct traffic that improves your search rankings.

The strategies I’ve outlined below aren’t all you can do. However, they do (in my opinion) offer the best bang for buck. You could focus ONLY on these and you should do well. These are all “white hat” or safe strategies that shouldn’t get you into strife with the search engines and with any luck will work for you well into the future.

Article Marketing

Article marketing is a popular way of building links. It’s simply the process of writing a quick, unique article that includes a resource box at the bottom of the article that contains a link to your site. This can’t be a copy of any articles on your site. It has to be unique.

You then submit this article to sites that allow people to take the article and publish it on their site (with your link intact) free. This generates some direct traffic, as well as builds links to your site which in turn helps your site rank.

You can do this manually to the hundreds of article sites. Otherwise, I would recommend using an article submission service. These services do all the grunt work on your behalf and do the submission for you. All for about $1-2 an article. Believe me, it’s well worth it. I recommend iSnare for this.

By the way, a useful tip for pumping these out is to do this: Have a look at an article you’ve already written on your site. Read it through quickly. Put it out of sight and then rewrite it from memory. Don’t try to use the same words, just paraphrase the same content.

This provides unique content (which is essential to make this work), but means you can pump them out quickly.

Press Releases

Press releases are a slight variation on the article submission process, but should have the same effects. For everything new that you add to your site, write a quick press release for it. Writing a press release is a different style which you’ll need to adapt to. Here’s a good guide on writing a press release.

Just remember that the focus of this is to get a link. If your press release is announcing something newsworthy and it gets picked up by other media then fantastic! But don’t bank on it.

Once written, submit your press release via your choice of press release announcement services. You can get them submitted free, or pay more to get greater exposure. Your options will be dictated by your budget. I’ve found that using the free ones most of the time are OK. When you’ve got something really newsworthy, think about using the paid version.

Here are some sites that provide press release announcement services:

PRWeb.com
PR.com
PRBuzz.com
PRLog.org

Guest Blogging

One strategy that is a more powerful spin on article marketing is guest blogging. This provides you with higher quality links and positions yourself as an expert. Consider contacting bloggers and site owners in your niche and asking them if they would consider a trial as a guest blogger.

I would appeal to their ego first and give them some praise on how good their site is. Then tell them you’d love to write some high quality content for their site free if you can use a resource box at the bottom of the article. Here’s an example of someone who has contacted us for a guest blogging spot on one of our sites.

Bloggers often appreciate getting a break, which in turns gives you a break. Work hard on making it a good article, and you’ll probably get more opportunities in the future. This is an important tip.

Forum Posting

Find forums on your niche and see if they allow links in their signatures. If they do then sign up and set up your signature with an enticing statement that contains a link to your site. For the hypothetical golf putting site, I would do this at a site like this one.

You’ll then want to post there every couple of days with useful posts that contribute to the community. This opens up opportunities for highly targeted direct traffic, and positive SEO benefits if the site doesn’t tell the search engines to “nofollow” outgoing links.

Blog Posting

In the same way as the forum posting strategy, do the same for a selection of high quality blogs in your niche. Become an active and positive contributor to the blog.

This will give you direct traffic, may help with SEO as well as open up opportunities to become a guest blogger. In the same way as contributing to a community forum, you will hopefully start to establish yourself as an authority, which will help build links naturally from other people's sites.

Newsletter/Autoresponders

A simple way to keep driving traffic back to your site is to regularly publish a newsletter. I would recommend publishing one once or twice a month. This can simply be a digest of what’s been going on at the site with a personal introduction to connect with your audience.

RSS

With any luck your site building platform should have RSS on new articles. You can leverage this by making sure it pings the RSS aggregators and encouraging people to sign up for your RSS feed.

You can use a service like Feedburner to track the number of subscribers you have, as well as making it easy. The way you set this up for each site building platform is different so you may need to ask for help on this.

Linkbaiting

Linkbaiting is the process where you write content purely focused on getting links to your site. You can do this by writing articles that push people’s buttons (but doesn't turn off your readers), running competitions, providing top 10 lists or making a simple and useful tool.

This can be a bit hit and miss, but when it hits, it can give you a tremendous boost in traffic.

Problogger gives an excellent 101 on linking baiting here including 20 linkbaiting techniques.

Affiliates

I’m going to expand on this later, but running an affiliate program is a great way of generating links to your site. Your affiliates link to your site, plus it gives you an opportunity to submit your sites to affiliate directories (which are mostly free).

Correct Linking

When linking, ensure that you follow best practices when creating the links. Sometimes, only your URL will be allowed to be linked, but if you have control, you should do the following:

- Create keyword rich text links. So use your keywords in the links themselves.

- Mix these linked keywords up a lot. This makes it look more natural.

- Don’t just link to your home page. Try to get at least 30% of links to internal pages on your site. This makes your link profile look more natural to the search engines.

Timing

Another important point with respect to making your link profile look natural: Don’t send all the links to your site at once. Steadily keep adding links pretty much forever. Don’t just work like crazy for a month on getting links then get no more links for six months. Slowly and steadily grow your link profile.

Other Low Hanging Fruit

If you’ve done all of this and you still want to find other free ways of getting traffic, sign up for our award winning affiliate newsletter to get the free bonus report 77 Ways To Get Traffic nearly all FREE.

This guide covers other ways you can get traffic to your site free. Apply these other techniques only once you've exhausted the ones above.

Build Momentum

Once you’ve done this, keep the cycle going. After the first few months of building momentum, you can shift the main focus from building links, and focus more on the production of top quality content. Remember, this is a slow and steady process that requires dedication. Back in Part 2 I discussed the mindset required to pull this off. Review that when you find yourself getting slack.

Building lots of traffic requires persistence, but with enough dedication it pays dividends.

Think of yourself as a traffic-generating diesel engine that over time creates a snowballing traffic stream that simply cannot be stopped.

Now you've got all this traffic, I guess you want to know the best way to turn it into dollars!?

Next week we'll be digging into this crucial step in Part 7 "The Money". It's going to be a big one, so set some time aside. It may just provide many of you the missing information in your quest for making money online. Look out for it.

April 5, 2010

Related Links

Comments (50)

Alex Newell
Said this on July 10, 2008 At 12:31 pm
a good review of what to do. i think that one of the most encouraging things is to see your traffic increasing as time goes by. Using a simple stats program can help to give you a boost to keep up the good work!
Alex
Cathy L.
Said this on July 10, 2008 At 05:48 pm
I just found this site last week and have found a wealth of information. I thoroughly read parts 1-5 and I anxiously looked forward to your posting of today's Part 6. (By the way - you stated "next week's Part 8 - what happened to 7?) Thanks for all of your instruction and tips. You have certainly gained me as an avid reader!

[Whoops! Just a typo. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll fix that. Allan.]
Prince Onaolapo Adeyemi
Said this on July 10, 2008 At 06:27 pm
Hi Jay
Thanks for sharing the secret. The technique is simple but effective. Although I have most of the techniques in place on my existing web sites but I will still implement your idea on my new Niche Web page, developed specifically for these online course you are offering. I really want to see the end result. I like experimenting with new lines! Thanks for your time.
Prince Onaolapo Adeyemi
Said this on July 10, 2008 At 06:45 pm
Hi Jay
It's me again, I was just wondering in addition to your technique; can I make use of Allan's "77 Ways To Get Traffic nearly all FREE"? - Another powerful helpful hint!
Or should I restrict my new niche website development to only your recommendations for now? Thanks for your time.

[As Jay says in his article, use all his traffic-generating methods first before you start experimenting with extra ideas from the "77 Ways" report. Allan.]
Gandalph
Said this on July 11, 2008 At 03:14 am
Hi,
Jay, I must say, you're giving away the store. Kudos for giving such detailed info in a concise manner!

I have 2 suggestions:
1) I couldn't find a link to "sign up" for the series, which is a lost opportunity for you and would be great for readers liking your excellent content.

I find myself being stuck at "intermediate", having attained the 1K consistently, but out of inspiration/motivation/direction to go beyond that level.

2) Perhaps a suggestion for a follow up of the series (if you are up to it ;-) is "How to go from 1K to paying the mortgage [i]and[/i] feeding your kids"

Once again, a big thank you!
Mark
Said this on July 12, 2008 At 10:22 am
Jay,
This is fab.
Thanks so much.
Mark
Jenny
Said this on July 16, 2008 At 12:20 am
Where's part 7? I didn't see it mentioned in the newsletter today (16/7/08) or did I miss it?

[Jay's still writing it. It will be published this week. I'll let you know when it's online. Allan.]
suzanne Mcnab
Said this on July 18, 2008 At 09:22 am
Hi,
Very informative, I'm at the start of it all just now with my new website,I'll come back for more tips.
Suzi
himesh
Said this on July 25, 2008 At 03:50 pm
Hey i got a problem myself getting traffic to my website i hope ur article is helpful will give u a feedback
http://himeshmain.blogspot.com/
Charles Kaluwasha
Said this on August 10, 2008 At 08:56 pm
Hi,
I am very thankful that I came across your blog.
It has all the basics to create traffic to any site. Content is the king of traffic to any website! I will implement all your recommendations to increase my web site's visibility.
www.LifeOnTheNet7.com

[I think genuinely USEFUL content is king. Allan.]
sumit pradhan
Said this on August 11, 2008 At 10:46 am
hi
i have problem of not getting traffic to my site for long time. but now i read the article of you so i try to use it ad hope for the best
thank for your opinion
sumit pradhan
http://www.ecommerceworld.co.cc/
Me
Said this on August 14, 2008 At 07:36 pm
Well I hope this works. Thanks for the input!
http://rlexperiment.blogspot.com/2008/08/welcome-t...
Tess T
Said this on August 22, 2008 At 08:21 pm
Absolutely wonderful! I love the step by step info about SEO for your site. And internal linking - I've got to do MORE of that. Thanks for the great info :)
Jo Kuso
Said this on September 13, 2008 At 01:00 pm
Hi Allan and Jay...

Thanks, Jay, for writing this great introduction, and, Allan, thanks for making it available.

You mention contributing to forums and blogs, and we've been doing this with great success. In that same genre, the "answer/questions" sites often have great rank themselves and most allow contributors to post links and information about other sites. In particular, Yahoo Answers has been very helpful to us.. We've been surprised at the traffic we've received from the relevant answers and links we've posted over there.
Thanks again!
Jo
Ray Wallace
Said this on October 14, 2008 At 07:18 pm
Great article and website. I am new so I try to pick up as much information as I can. That is why I have started reading your advice articles at the Beginners section. Thanks again and have a great day!

http://www.moneyearnfree.com
rpurba
Said this on October 26, 2008 At 02:17 pm
Nice articles...
I'm a beginner who need more informations about blog site and how to get more traffic at my blog: http://myitknowledgebase.blogspot.com

Thanks and have nice day
Regards,
Said this on November 15, 2008 At 04:09 am
very great sharing....very useful for me thanks
Said this on January 11, 2009 At 03:55 am
Useful information,especially in the breakdown of linking methods.Many Thanks
Lisa
Said this on March 31, 2009 At 02:51 pm
I find all of the information very valuable, however, I cannot for the life of me come up with a site idea. I've tried everything and it's so sad because I want to succeed in this area but can't come up with things I feel I can offer anyone. I can't even figure out Google adwords, very confusing. Nothing seems to work, oh well.

[Because you're struggling to understand PPC advertising, don't spend any money on it. Instead, aim for free traffic from search engines. Go right back to the fundamentals. Click on the "Beginners" link at the top left of this page and find Ken Evoy's free Affiliate Masters Course. Download it, print it out and spend some time carefully thinking about it, taking notes and making plans. It's a very powerful introduction to affiliate marketing. I like Ken's approach to Internet business because he encourages people to create something that adds value to the Internet. Just take one step at a time. If, after studying Ken's course, you still don't have a good idea for a site, read this article:
http://AssociatePrograms.com/articles/63/1/Where-t...
Allan.]
Said this on October 13, 2009 At 05:12 pm
I loved following the articles week by week. I have learned a great deal from your site.
Said this on November 28, 2009 At 01:36 am
This was an amazing tool to read.
Said this on April 14, 2010 At 05:53 pm
Very Interesting. I Bookmarked this Page. Thanks.
Said this on April 27, 2010 At 08:30 am
These are the most helpful tips, i have ever read till now. Best article on getting traffic. Thanx for Posting. It helped a lot.
Said this on June 3, 2010 At 10:06 pm
Great post. Links and content remain the foundation for getting lots of free traffic.
Said this on July 6, 2010 At 08:23 am
Dear Jay,

What are "links". I am writing a travel blog everyday - day 2 and not a sniff of a visitor. How do I "link" to share the content
Said this on July 22, 2010 At 11:01 pm
I am writing articles on Hubpages for some months. It is really a great way to increase traffic to your website ( for example, I have 2 blogs and I link to them from my articles).

Just a piece of advice for those who lack of traffic:
If You want to get your site's URL mentioned in lots of places where others are likely to find it and follow that link back to you than you should take ito consideration the following: StumbleUpon; Digg; RedGage; del.icio.us; Technorati; Facebook, Tweeter; and many others...
Said this on July 27, 2010 At 08:56 pm
thanks for the great nice article for adsense publishers now the question is relevent with publishing which is how to get more out of it.
Said this on August 30, 2010 At 06:36 pm
Go right back to the fundamentals. Click on the "Beginners" link at the top left of this page and find Ken Evoy's free Affiliate Masters Course. Download it,
Said this on October 18, 2010 At 04:13 am
Totally agree with Seo solution i think the best beginners link is working pretty much fine here.
Said this on October 19, 2010 At 05:19 pm
I think you covered all of the important bases for generating traffic! I have done some of these. It really takes time, persistence and patience to get that big snowball rolling down the hill. Let's charge on!
Said this on November 26, 2010 At 03:11 pm
This is good stuff. I particularly like the linking ideas. I had never seen that before. Thanks again,
Tom
Said this on December 19, 2010 At 08:36 am
The way to do is organic marketing for search engines
Said this on February 8, 2011 At 05:11 am
Thanks for the good stuff. It really helps me to do some onpage and offpage optimization for my restaurant job.
Said this on February 14, 2011 At 06:14 pm
This is great advice, we followed it to a T for our site & now have 1st page rankings for various keywords.Thanks.
Said this on July 28, 2011 At 06:20 am
Thanks for the cool advice. All the points and the methods are rightly expressed. I got a lot of ideas by reading this post. Thanks for sharing.
Said this on October 26, 2011 At 01:05 pm

I really enjoyed your article. It was very thorough and had a lot of great ideas that I am looking forward to implementing to getting traffic to our site. There are a lot of people that give bits and pieces of advice in getting traffic but your article is really comprehensive. Thank you!

Best Regards,

Michael H, Owner of The PC Rescue Man, Affordable Computer Repair in Pierce County, WA

Said this on November 18, 2011 At 05:15 am

i still learn and try it on my web. hope i start with right direction. I really appreciate criticisms

Said this on December 13, 2011 At 04:33 am

Good article.. I got SEO plan for my website through XnYnZ.com at affordable price. Now i'm getting good page rank in search engines. I got more experience about SEO from them. 

Said this on February 12, 2012 At 01:57 pm

Hi there :)
Very good post.
You can try boosting your site with http://www.daddyboost.com
it is free!

Said this on May 15, 2012 At 11:17 am


Useful information. Helped me figure out few things. Keep up the good work.

Said this on July 1, 2012 At 01:42 pm

I find the content very interesting for those willing to start a busness in the web. The most important thing for me is that you are giving the information for free to the readers. Exactly how I'm building my side

http://josep170.sitemoxie.com

Said this on November 17, 2012 At 02:38 pm

Nice informative article. Most people reccomend using social media but i find it rather hard to use if you dont already have a list of people.

http://websitemaking101.com/

Said this on November 22, 2012 At 09:30 pm

Great article.

I put most of these techniques to work on my website - http://www.herbadireto.com.br - and get good results.

Thanks a lot.

Said this on December 9, 2012 At 02:16 am

Great tutorial, yet again Allan. These traffic generating methods are the type of methods will work today, and many years to come. It is always a pleasure to hear your take on a topic. We are learning and implementing a lot of your methods on our site affiliatecolony.com

Thanks for your wisdom, my friend.

Said this on December 21, 2012 At 03:23 am

getting traffic to my site has always been a headache. At a point i even considered doing a paid Search Engine advertisement and Facebook Web Promotion. But Thank God i stumbled on your website and I have really learnt a lot. What remains now is for me to put this knowledge to practice. thanks

Said this on January 29, 2013 At 06:59 am

I reckon your advice to have links across your own website featuring keyword rich anchor text is priceless - and one too often overlooked by seo enthusiasts.

Said this on February 6, 2013 At 08:20 pm

This is an extremely powerful article to anyone looking to seriously build a strong web presence. I think sticking to the fundamentals is key. So many software gimmicks out there that simply cheat people from building the kind of lasting business they're looking for.

Said this on February 12, 2013 At 07:55 am

Hi,

     jay I have read your Article in which you have written some best tips which can increase traffic of my site.I have searched many articles but your post is better than the others.Thank You!
Ana Jackson

Said this on March 14, 2013 At 02:39 pm

WHo said 2008 wasn't a good year. Nice introduction for anyone just starting out.

Said this on June 7, 2013 At 05:34 am

really fabulous article especially information about "keyword research". Thanks Jay!

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