A lot of people e-mail me all the time and ask how they can get free traffic to their sites/blogs or if I can link their URL on my blog for free (ha!). It’s not that hard to get traffic without spending a dime; you just need to know what you’re doing.
SEO (search engine optimization) is a huge part of it, but that’s only one thing you need to worry about. If your site is already set up to be search engine friendly… proper title tags, meta tags, H1 tags, sitemap, robots.txt file etc., you only need to focus on supplementing those efforts by means of additional traffic sources. Google will eventually come crawling to index your site (usually daily based on how it’s optimized), but don’t rely simply on search engine traffic alone.
How else can I get free traffic?
Twitter – This is the big one. I’ve been getting a lot of followers lately on Twitter and using TwitterFeed.com for automatic RSS inclusion when I make a new post. This is a great way to stay connected to your readers and get instant hits when you publish something new.
Facebook – As I’ve just outlined in a few chapter of my eBook (May 2008 edition), Facebook can give you thousands of hits in a matter of hours if you utilize it properly. Become an active member of the community and connect with other people and you’ll be surprised how soon you build a following
Squidoo – Creating a Squidoo lens is something everyone should have done by now. The search engines love Squidoo and sometimes the lens will even outrank your own site.
Social Bookmarking – As you can see at the bottom of this post, I offer links to Digg, Stumble, e-mail this post etc. This is all done by using FeedBurner and inserting a snippet of code at the bottom of my WordPress post template. This is very automated and can deliver traffic to your site if users find your content worthy.
Message Boards – There’s a reason forums let you have a signature – to promote yourself. Make good use of it and become an active member in the community. Building up a reputation on a forum around your niche and including your link will bring you traffic from people who already know who you are. Most forums also pass on link juice and use the “dofollow” tag, which will help you with your search engine ranking.
Google Webmaster Tools – As I mentioned earlier in this post, sitemaps are essential to have. Firstly, you must have a Google account and add your site to the Webmaster Tools dashboard. To verify that you’re the owner of the site, Google will give you the option to either insert a meta tag into your header or upload a html file to your root directory. Once verified, you can upload a sitemap and have Google spider your pages. This will help build link structure and give you higher authority in the search listings than other sites who don’t have sitemaps.
All in One SEO Plugin – If you use WordPress for a blogging platform, I couldn’t recommend a better plugin that you must have. All in One SEO is a plugin that creates specific title and meta tags along with a description for your blog and copies the information to each post and page you create. There’s no longer a need to manually do this yourself. Simply fill in the information one time on the settings page and you’re in business.
Paid Advertising – If you have a budget to spend on advertising and promotion, I’d highly recommend Facebook Ads for PPC advertising, as opposed to Google AdWords. Facebook delivers very targeted and high converting traffic (from my experience), and offers much lower click rates. It’s also a lot easier to understand the billing and setup process than with AdWords.
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