And there is no easy answers. If there was a sure fire way to drive traffic people would not be asking the question over and over again…constantly.
Well, that’s not entirely true. If you have deep pockets and can advertise on television like some websites, or know Celebrities that are willing to mention your site and popularize it…then…you really don’t need to ask the question. But, for most of us, it’s an issue that never seems to get resolved.
And as much as the ‘ experts ‘ on SEO and internet marketing ( blog/website promotion ) may claim to have the answer, and blame the complaints on procrastination or indifference or inaction on the part of the site owner ( which is true in many cases ), most of them do not have highly popular sites either. So how much can a site owner trust the advice coming from someone who can’t even get his/her own site in the top 50,000?
And even if their site is in the top 50,000 how much of that was following their own advice and how much was the result of luck, contributing factors, outside forces, and incidentals?
The fact is, unless you have deep pockets or know a powerful outside source ( such as the huge spike in popularity Twitter received after being mentioned on Oprah ), and in many cases established a International well-known profile off-line ( ie. much of CNN’s success on the Net can be attributed to it’s successful off-line news station ), chances are you are never going to find that perfect formula that drives tons of traffic to your site.
So, again, for most of us, the question ” How do I get people to visit my site? ” is a seemingly ongoing neverendding issue that appears impossible to resolve.
There are many ways to promote a site, you could submit your posts/articles to the major social networking sites ( Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, etc… ) …but unless you’ve networked with others at these sites chances are your posts/articles are not going to be well received. You might get a few hits to your site, you might even get lucky and hit a very popular topic ( one Digg that a member of my forum submitted produced thousands of hits to our forum and put TheTAZZone temporarily into the top 100,000 on Alexa ) but, overall, if you’re not ‘ one o’ the boys ‘ you’re not going to get on the front page and that’s the only page that can really drive traffic to your site.
Well then there’s Twitter…like any social networking site it requires a lot of your time networking, building a following, forging relationships; sure it can drive traffic to your site, but like any social networking site that traffic is usually not sustained traffic…like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, etc…Twitter provides temporary traffic, traffic that must constantly be replenished, as it has a very short life span. ( In my opinion, the worst thing Twitter did was getting rid of the ‘ all ‘ tab. )
Sure you might get a few regulars out of these social networking sites, some might be inclined to stick around and come back regularly, but is the effort you put into them really worth what you get in return? Only you can really put a value on your effort.
( I should state at this juncture that I am not talking about marketers who spam social networking sites with affiliate links and the like, we are talking about regular site owners looking to get traffic to their sites…scammers, unethical marketing, deception and manipulation, are issues we might broach at another time. )
You could, as many Bloggers suggest, leave comments around on other people’s sites and hope some of it will filter back to you, but then again does the effort expended equal, or even come close to, the return value? At best I see this as a long shot in the dark. The percentage of people returning the effort extended to them would likely be minimal, at best. And how many of those that would return the effort would become regular visitors, as opposed to just returning the courtesy?
Link exchanges is something I never went in for, as far as I’m concerned they are one of the worst ways to try to generate traffic ( I know many people do it to get link juice but that’s not what we’re presently discussing…but I personally find it a waste of time as well ). You don’t want a pile of links on your site heading out to other people’s sites. Not only does it look gawdy, but you’re probably enticing more people away from your site than is coming into it. Probably 98% of the links on my site go to my sites. This way the traffic flowing through my links are flowing into other areas of sites I own.
At this point you’re probably wondering if anything is worth the effort.
Directories such as DMOZ, Yahoo, etc… are, frankly, over-rated. Chances are even if you manage to get listed by them your site will end up so deep in their directory that even God couldn’t find you. As a result they offer virtually no value in sending you traffic.
But…not all directories are bad, or useless…a directory such as BlogCatalog does offer value, not the directory itself persay but the ability to converse with other members in the directory. So it serves two primary purposes, a listing and the opportunity to drive people to your site through interaction. My own directories, although much newer than BlogCatalog ( The Social Directory, The Tech Directory, and The Sports Directory ) do not offer that interaction, but they offer something of equal value, the ability to post articles, leave comments, and are very topic oriented resulting in a very targeted audience. These types of directories are the ones you want to pursue, the ones that offer you more than just a link.
Again…we are discussing ‘ traffic ‘ and ‘ promotion ‘, not juice or better rankings.
Then there are sites like BrooWaha (I should note here that I have no vested interest in this site other than my participation ) which offer the ability to post articles, where you are credited with the work, the copyright specified is yours, and there is a link back to your site in the bio at the bottom of your article. I am very particular as to what sites I join, they have to offer an equivalent value in return for my investment in them. See my other article:
There are other sites out there that are like BrooWaha however I will not mention them as I have yet to deal with them and I do not recommend sites that I am unfamiliar with. So, you’ll have to do a little digging on your own to find them.
One site, if you like music, and especially if your site is geared toward music, I highly recommend is Blip.fm, as you instantly connect with others who share the same musical interest. I do most of my promotion on my Blip DJ Station. And it goes out to not only those following me but to everyone who happens to be online. ( which is the point I was making earlier regarding Twitter removing the ‘ all ‘ tab ). I also promote other people’s sites as well under my ‘ Spreading the Love ‘ nights.
But, in the end, the fact is traffic is not going to come easy. You need to look at value, the value you put out verses the value you get in return. You could spend a large chunk of your time and effort in a wasted effort if you are not very selective in your endeavours to get traffic. What will work for you may be different than what will work for someone else, as your sites may be very different and attract a very different audience.
Be smart. Be selective.
And there is a fine line between promoting your site and spamming. Which is another reason you need to be selective in your approach to getting traffic.
Once you start getting traffic you want to keep it and the best way to keep traffic coming back is…well that’s another discussion entirely, for another day.