Traffic is the life blood of every internet business.
It doesn’t matter how good your products, promotions, pretty graphics or sales copy is. The bottom line is that without sufficient visitors coming to your website then you are doomed to failure!
So, in this post I’d like to share with you some less well known strategies for driving targeted traffic to your website:
1. Forum Marketing
2. Guest Posts
3. Classified Ads
4. Offering Free Content
5. Online Giveaways
With the exception of Forum Marketing, all of these traffic strategies are things that I was not aware of during the first few months of my online career. Like many newbies, I was concentrating purely on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to try and push my site up the Google rankings.
However, as time went by I found two significant drawbacks of SEO:
- It is a relatively long term game.
It can sometimes take several months to build sufficient links to get onto page one of Google. Of course, the higher the traffic potential for a particular key phrase then usually the greater your competition is and the longer it takes to rank well.
- Control of your business is in the hands of Google.
Google is constantly updating its algorithm and if one of its changes happens to adversely affect your site then months of your hard work can be destroyed instantly with your site plummeting down the search rankings.
Keeping these points in mind I should say that I still DO focus on SEO but ONLY as one of several methods that I use to generate traffic. In short, I do not wish to be solely reliant on one particular traffic source for my online success.
Right, let’s take a look at these other traffic sources in some more detail:
1. Forum Marketing
Whatever niche you are in then it is highly likely that you can find an active forum to get involved with.
The reason why forums are such a good way of generating traffic is that most of them allow members to place a link in their forum signature pointing back to a website that they own. The signature is the little bit of text which appears at the bottom of every post you make.
It has to be said that posting in forums is a relatively work-intensive method for driving traffic. However, I still like forum marketing because it allows me to stay in touch with what is going on in my market place as well as developing relationships with other players in the niche which can often lead to fruitful joint venture partnerships later on.
Here are some simple forum marketing rules to boost your success:
1. Find forums in your niche with a Google search. For example, if your website is about cycling then do this:
2. Make sure the forum is active meaning that there are many people posting on a daily basis.
3. Don’t become a TROLL (here’s a definition from Wikipedia!). Never get involved in disputes!
4. Always be looking for new ways to add value to the discussion. Try to answer questions helpfully and go the extra mile to help others out.
In my experience, the greater you stick to these guidelines the better you’ll feel about yourself and the more traffic to your website that you’ll generate!
2. Guest Posts
Guest posting or guest blogging can be an extremely effective tactic to drive traffic especially during the early days of your website.
Essentially, it involves identifying other marketers in your niche and offering them free content (usually an article) that you’ve written in return for a link back to your own website.
This can be a real “win-win” situation for all involved:
- The other marketer is happy because it helps them out with content production.
- You are happy because you get some of traffic when readers click on the link and visit your site.
- The readers are happy because they are given a valuable piece of content which is refreshingly different to what they’re used to (that is, written by somebody else!).
Now, depending on the nature of your website, guest posting may or may not be for you.
For example, if you have a pure affiliate marketing based “mini-site”, offering say a review of a specific product, then you’ll probably find it pretty hard to get your articles accepted by other marketers.
In this case, it is probably a better use of your time to concentrate on some of the other traffic methods in this guide.
But with this exception, guest posting is a remarkably effective traffic strategy.
One mistake I made early on was underestimate just how many other marketers out there are keen to accept content from you. Even the most prolific content producers sometimes experience writers-block and get stuck without new ideas. This is your opportunity!
The way to approach guest posting is to first identify other marketers in your niche. A couple of effective ways to do this are by searching Google for similar sites to your own or by contacting people directly in forums.
Then send a short, friendly and to the point e-mail (or private message in a forum) offering some free content for their site. Of course, not everyone will say yes but you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount that do.
Remember, just one or two guest posts can be enough to drive hundreds or even thousands of targeted visitors to your site!
3. Online Classified Ads
And, it is possible to get a decent amount of exposure for FREE!
The major player in this market is Craiglist. This is probably the place to start but also you can perform Google searches such as “classified ads” or “free classified ads” in order to find more Ad-placement opportunities.
To increase the chance of people clicking on your ad then you might like to consider an image Ad rather than a simple text one.
If you’re like me and panic slightly at the thought of designing a graphic/image Ad for your site then you’ll probably want to head over to a service like oDesk and get a quality designer to create it for you (check out my mini-guide to hiring freelancers here).
Also, a quick Google search for “image ads for craigslist” will provide you with a host of advice and YouTube videos for getting this done.
4. Offering Free Content
This is similar to guest posting in the sense that you are providing content to other site owners but this time you’ll be looking for wider opportunities to add value!
Here are some examples of the kind of free content that you could offer to other marketers:
- Create a PDF “cheat sheet” containing resources that people would fine useful. If say, you were in the dog training niche then perhaps this could be a simple glossary of dog training terms or even a mini-review list of top products that people looking to train their dogs would be interested in.
- Create a multi-part feature training series on a very specific topic for another marketer’s membership site. For example, in the weight loss niche this could be something like “losing weight after pregnancy for women over 30”.
- How-to videos or audios. This could be you showing how to do a particular task on your computer (see the quick-start guide on creating videos), providing training on a recorded podcast or an audio of you interviewing an expert (that you have found through forums or Guru.com).
Offering free content can be a great way to generate traffic and make your site known to new audiences.
Also, this strategy is often even more powerful than guest posting as the content is often “sticky”: Whereas with a guest post you can get a short term boost in traffic when the article goes live, if you offer content for someone’s membership site and they are constantly generating new members then you are gaining consistent exposure on an ongoing basis.
5. JV Giveaways
This is something that I only discovered relatively recently and it is ESPECIALLY GOOD if you are looking to build an email-list of subscribers for your website.
For this reason I’m using JV giveaways as a part of the traffic building strategy for my blog here at Gain Higher Ground.
But what are JV giveaways?
Good question! Basically, they work like this: You as the marketer offer a free product to members of an online giveaway site in return for those members signing up to your list.
The free products can range from ebooks, videos, software or pretty much anything that can be downloaded over the internet.
Check out http://www.newjvgiveaways.com. It’s one of the most popular giveaway sites and is well worth a look:
If you search Google for “jv giveaways” then you’ll find lots more.
My recommendation is to first sign up as a member to learn how the process works and study the free gifts that other contributors are giving away.
After this, and if you decide that this traffic source could be for you, then you may sign up as a contributor to offer a free gift in return for people visiting your site and signing up to your list!
All of the methods I have covered above have one thing in common: Give value first in order to receive traffic later!
Of course, this concept of giving before receiving is one of the best and most effective principles in marketing. This is especially so because too many people seem unwilling to give first and take second, so if YOU do it then you can really stand out…
Did you enjoy this article? Hit me up in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have!