The Comprehensive Guide to Getting Website Traffic in Today's World - A General Overview
I think it is important to have the big picture in mind before starting to devise a plan to generate traffic to any website. Why? Because not all websites are the same. One traffic generating method can only work with certain types of websites and another method can only work with other types of websites.
For example, the methods used to generate traffic to an e-commerce website might not be as effective in generating traffic to an information nonprofit website. Generating website traffic can be classified into two big groups based on the cost incurred. One is paid even though as cheap as few cents per visitor and the other one is free! As good as it might sound; generating free traffic is harder than and not as effective as paid traffic generation.
This is pretty natural because in general, the companies that specialize in the service of generating traffic to websites have breakthrough technologies and experienced teams of specialists with the only purpose of generating quality targeted traffic for their customers. I'm not trying to degrade free traffic as it is important to reduce costs, but in general paid traffic still supersedes free traffic in terms of quality and quantity. Paid traffic isn't affordable by all advertisers, but still it offers a lot of peace of mind and results. Here is a list of the most prominent paid traffic generation methods:
1. Pay per click (PPC):- Known by all yet most hated for sucking cents and dollars out of advertisers pockets without as much satisfying results. Google being the king of PPC has been making life harder and harder for PPC advertisers by imposing more and more criteria to determine which ads get higher positions in PPC ads. Believe it or not, if your website isn't optimized enough for Google, your ad will not get better positions even if your bid is higher than others! This proves the point that even though PPC is disappointing many advertisers, there is actually a logic that you have to figure out to get better results from your PPCs. There are techniques to get better results from your PPC campaigns using low and pocket friendly bids, which is going to be a topic of another article that I'm going to write about.
2. Paid SEO services: - SEO is a short for Search Engine Optimization. In short it is about optimizing the design and the coding of a website so it can get better free ranking in search engines. This is referred to as organic ranking. Even though the end result is free better ranking, still SEO companies charge tons of money to make a website search engine optimized. I will address SEO in more detail in future articles.
3. Paid targeted 100% opt-in e-mail blasts: - There are advertising companies that have huge lists of 100% opt-in subscribers. 100% opt-in means that every one of their subscribers has agreed to receive promotional e-mails from them on the topics of their choice and this is how it is targeted. This method has proven its effectiveness, but there are a lot of fake companies out there that claim 100% opt-in, but actually have much lower opt-in percentages or even not at all. This is important because you don't want to pay for a campaign that ends up in the junk or spam folder of the users e-mail. Be careful and deal with the reputable ones only.
4. Banners and image based advertising: - this form has lost its effectiveness over the years, but still is used by many advertisers. Find the ones that work like PPCs, which means you don't get charged for impressions...only clicks.
5. Guaranteed visitors schemes: - These are companies that promise you a number of targeted traffic for a fee. Usually they will tell you that they get the traffic from expired domains and traffic redirected from other sites. Trust me, for the most part, these are scams so beware. It could work well for those who have gambling or sex related websites because they can't use PPCs to promote their websites.
6. Video advertising: - A new and growing advertising trend that Google is pursuing heavily. Yes I know that you can post videos in YouTube for free, but I'm talking about a new wave of video advertising that is very similar to PPC. It will be more popular soon so watch for it. Now for the fun and most pleasing part....free traffic! Getting results from free traffic requires much more work and time compared to paid traffic. Even though these methods generate free traffic, I see a lot of courses and e-books sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars to teach people these methods.
So much for the free part! Luckily, you will be able to get an overview of these free traffic methods for free today. I'm not going to explain each in detail, but will be the topics of some of my future articles:-
1. Article marketing: - You write good articles, post them in article directories with links pointing to your website. People read the article, like what they read and visit your website. I will address it more in future articles.
2. Website directories: - these are directories that organize websites in categories which makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for. Even though all will let you submit your link for free, a lot of them offer a "premium" listing for a fee which is worth paying if they have high search engine ranking.
3. Video sites like YouTube, Yahoo and MSN videos: - don't underestimate its power! Find at least 10 more video sites and submit your videos to them. But how can you advertise your website with video? Get a screen capture video maker. There are free ones online and sold. My advice is to buy one for the quality of videos as free ones produce low quality videos. Make a small presentation about your website on your own screen, capture it on video and upload it to video sites...that's it! It will be helpful if you use a basic video editing software like windows movie maker to add your URL on the bottom of the video.
4. Forums and blogs: - This works in two ways. Either you own a blog or forum and generate your own community using quality content and funnel this traffic to your website. The other is to post comments with links pointing to your website in high ranking blogs and forums.
5. RSS feeds: - you can set up an RSS feed linking to the topics and issues in your website and syndicate it. More on this on future articles.
6. Groups and newsletters: - Can be found in all major search engines and internet service providers like Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN. Establish relations and spread the word about your websites. Avoid spamming and misbehaving!
7. Online free classifieds: - There are so many. The only problem is that your ads in these classifieds need re-updating every 1 or 2 days which is very time consuming.
8. Social bookmarking: - These are sites where people leave sort of brief descriptions about their websites, blogs, forums etc. and a link to visit.
9. Social media/interaction websites or what is called web 2.0:- My Space, Face book, twitter and Squidoo are all examples of this new internet trend. Basically they are all about an online gathering point where people express themselves and share knowledge, experiences, hobbies, passions, pictures, videos, music and much more. Why not use it to get traffic to your website?
10. Going viral: - Don't ever think that this is not important because this is number 10. It can be the most powerful traffic generating tool if you know how to use it. An example would be giving away a free report with lots of information and your website links inside. Give it to as many people as you can and in turn they give it away. This can continue forever and never stop. That's why they call it viral and is very powerful! If you ask me which methods are the best and should be used to get traffic, I would say all of them. The only problem is that we have limited resources and I mean time and money. I suggest using a mix of free and paid traffic. The mix to be determined according to what type of website is promoted and traffic objectives. Watch out for more detailed articles on the subject.