If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably looking for ways to increase traffic to your website for free – without spending money on per per click adverts, or display advertising.
Well there’s great news, it is possible, all it takes is a little work. Basically when it comes to increasing website traffic you just have two choices – invest time, or invest money.
I’m going to share with you the free traffic generation techniques that actually work, so you can minimise the time you waste on methods that don’t produce the increase in website traffic you want.
There are five main sources of website traffic, on my own blog that you’re reading now the traffic sources are:
Users have visited the site through a bookmark, directly typing in your address. There was no referring link recorded.
The visitor came from a social networking site such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slideshare, etc.
- Organic Search
The visitor searched using Google, Ask, Bing, Yahoo, etc. and clicked your link in the search results.
This includes visitors from Feedburner (a RSS aggregator), email links, and tagged links if you are running marketing campaigns.
These visitors have clicked through to your site from another website that is linking to yours. These can include smaller search engines, forums, blogs, directories, news articles, academic sites, etc.
So let’s jump straight in to all the options available for increasing the amount of traffic that comes to your website, and thereby increasing the leads and sales that your website generates:
- Social Media
It is definitely worth spending time sharing valuable posts on the social networks named above because these are an excellent source of free traffic. Google Plus likes and shares can help to improve your ranking in the search results too. Go into the communities and groups where your target audience hang out, and share posts with them that are likely to go viral.
- Google Webmaster Tools
Not a source of traffic in itself, but currently this is the only way of finding out what keywords people are using to find your site when they come from the Google search engine. This can give you valuable ideas for new content to create. For example, you might find that people are coming to your site and actually searching for completely different topics that aren’t on your website yet.
- Search Engines
Ensure that your site is added to the top search engines, those being Google, and Yahoo/Bing/Ask. They will eventually index your site anyway, but using these forms make the discovery of a new website faster. You only need to submit each website once, then the search engines will send their spider robots regularly to check if your website has changed.
- Writing Helpful Articles
Some people find writing hard work, but it is very rewarding in the amount of free traffic a good article can bring to your site. Submit your articles to ezine articles and other article directory sites. Make sure that your articles are genuinely interesting, include a link back to your website in your author bio box, and you will get great results from these high ranking websites.
- Blog Posts
Again write content that is extremely helpful to your target audience. Deliver valuable information and you will become known as an expert in your field. When you do that, people will be more likely to buy from you when you recommend products. I recommend writing a blog post every day or two. It doesn’t take long, and you will keep your readers coming back for more.
- Link Building
Links back to your website from other sites with a high Google Page Rank will help to drive traffic and increase your ranking in the search results. Choose sites with link authority. Typically these are quality websites, high authority sites such as blog sites, local chamber of commerce or business networking groups, industry organisations, news sites, etc. Contact the site owner and ask for a link to your website. The more interesting or useful your website is, the more likely they will be to link to you.
- Search Engine Optimization
It is worth investing in great SEO because search engines continue to be one of the best sources of free traffic. Use a SEO-friendly platform such as WordPress, and a SEO plugin to make sure you can easily set the Title and Description meta tags for each page. Google are always bringing out updates such as Panda and Penguin to try to remove spam from their index, so never stuff your blog posts with keywords, and don’t try to trick the system. Just provide great content for your readers on a consistent basis, and you will not go far wrong.
- Keyword Research
As well as making sure that you are including relevant keywords in your blog posts, long tail keyword optimization will help you to get a good boost in website traffic. Look for the key phrases that are between 4 and 8 words long with decent traffic. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to get ideas. Then use those words, as well as lots of related words and ideas to create a blog post that is laser targeted towards the exact phrase people are searching for.
- Rich Snippets
If you are on the WordPress platform this is really easy. Install the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin, and add lots more information to your blog posts that can appear in the search results, and when shared on social media. It works with Google Plus, Bing, Yahoo, & Facebook. This gives you control over the image that appears when users share your content. Having this control can help you to improve the click through rate (CTR) and therefore increase your website traffic.
- Answer Questions
This one is very easy. People are searching online for answers to their questions. Think of all the questions that your target customers might add, and systematically answer them through your blog posts. You can use Google Webmaster Tools and the Google Keyword Planner as mentioned above to discover the questions that your target market are asking. This is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website.
- Publish a Case Study
Case studies are another type of content that pulls in visitors like a magnet. Can you do a case study on a recent client that you have helped? This will help to establish you as an expert in your field, and can also help to attract similar businesses or people to your website who may also need your services.
- Referral Traffic
I touched on this already in link building. If you install Google Analytics on your website, you can see who is referring you the best traffic – ie. people who visit several pages on your website, or who stay on your site for the greatest time. Find similar sites to those and ask for a link. That way you can increase your referral traffic and find more potential clients.
- Google Authorship
Set up authorship on your website. Again with WordPress this is so easy. Just install the Google Authorship plugin. This can help your face to appear in the search results (although Google is said to be phasing this out soon), but it will contribute to your ranking in another way through the Author Rank score that Google assigns to each author. Keep writing quality blog posts and your author rank will increase.
- Bounce Rate
A bounce is defined as someone who visitors your website, and does not click to any other pages. This can adversely effect your ranking in the search engines. Build your site in such a way that it will encourage visitors to click something else within your website. This will decrease your bounce rate, keep visitors on your website for longer, and ultimately will attract more visitors!
- Business Cards
If you have business cards printed, make sure your website is on there, as well as social media links. This goes for flyers, letter heads, product packaging, vehicle graphics. Remember to drive traffic to your online presence from your offline or “real world” presence.
- Submit your RSS Feed
If you have a dynamic website, such as a WordPress site, where you can add new content regularly, submit your RSS feed to Blog Digger, Feedage, Feedcat, Plazoo, RSS Network, URL Fan, and ReadaBlog. All these are high page rank blog directories, and will help to get your new content out to a wider audience.
- Mobile Devices
Remember that more and more people are using their smartphone or tablet to access the net, as well as an increasing number of people using Web TV. Make sure that your website works on all devices by using a responsive design. This is very easy to do in WordPress, just use a responsive theme. That way it will look great on every size screen!
- News Stories
Whenever you can share news about yourself, your company, or your customers, get in touch with your local media, and national media if appropriate. A news story with a link back to your website can supply many visitors, and again increase your SEO score, as news sites have high link authority.
- Use Emails
Collect visitors emails by signing them up to an autoresponder service (I review IMSC Rapid Mailer here), and then you can send out an email whenever you add an interesting blog post you may want to share, instantly generating more traffic to your website. Since most customers need several contacts before they can buy, this is a great way to make that happen.
- Traffic Exchange
Once a very popular method, I wouldn’t recommend joining banner exchanges any more, but could you exchange traffic with related non-competing businesses? If you can find a local business who shares the same client base, but doesn’t directly compete – maybe this could be a win-win situation for both of you?
- Internal Linking
Remember to link to other pages on your website to create a spider web of links all around your website. This will help to keep visitors on your website for longer, but can also improve your search ranking as well due to the anchor text that you link with. For example I linked to the review I did of an autoresponder above, the text in that link (although not an exact match), will help Google’s spider robots to learn about the content of my website, and can help that content to rank higher for those keywords.
I hope these tips give you the boost you are looking for in your website traffic. Please let me know how you get on using the comments below, and feel free to share any additional tips you might have with other readers.
Remember with traffic it’s not all about quantity, quality is actually more important. By following the tips above you will drive quality traffic to your website. There isn’t any point in increasing traffic unless those visitors are likely to be interested in your products or services.
Above all, focus on delivering quality. If you can give readers what they want, they will be more likely to share that content on social media, and re-visit your website again themselves at a later date.