by Lisa Kirschner
Ever wonder how large sites generate traffic and attract visitors? Sure, they do have big budgets for advertising and promotion, but they also know that there are several low-cost ways to attract users to their sites. We’ve listed a few of them below.
1) Exchange Links
This is a sure and proven method. Almost all sites contain links to related sites, and you’ll want to get links to your site on the most high-quality sites in your industry. Sometimes, web site owners will do this for free if you just ask. Don’t just request links on 5-10 sites–make it a point to build links on dozens (or hundreds!) of other sites. You’ll soon see and feel an upsurge in the traffic coming to your site.
A major prerequisite in exchanging links with other sites is having the same niche or content as the other site. The two sites should share a common subject so there is genuine interest in your products, services or other offerings.
Exchanging links also boosts your chances of getting a high ranking in search engines. Modern search engine algorithms highly rank sites that have high-quality inbound and outbound links. With a good ranking position in the search engines, you’ll generate more traffic to your web site without the high costs.
2) Produce Online Videos
Online videos are one of the best ways to generate extremely high-quality traffic to your site, hands-down. Users love online videos and adding this one element to your site or blog can reap huge rewards. It may seem intimidating at first, but check out our recent blog post about creating online videos to see how easy it can be. Not only will your users love you, but search engines will as well.
3) Write and Submit Articles
There are numerous web sites, e-zines and online encyclopedias that allow you to submit articles for free. In addition, you can probably find journals, magazines or associations in your industry that publish online pieces from experts within the industry. Granted, you might not get paid much (if anything), but you’ll gain visibility and audience members that you might not have reached otherwise. You can write the articles yourself if you want to save money, but there are thousands of freelance writers who are willing to write articles for you for a small fee.
Write articles that are related to the the niche or topic of your site. Readers will be able to sense your knowledge about the subject and will be eager to go to your site. You should also write articles that offer practical tips and guidelines as opposed to “selling” something. Provide value and you will automatically be perceived as an expert.
Remember to include a resource box at the end of your article with your bio and a link to your site.
4) Produce a Newsletter
This may sound like hard work, but in reality, it’s not the case.
The most frequent complaints I hear about creating a newsletter is that it will take too much time and that it’s too confusing, but neither is true.
There are a number of easy-to-use newsletter tools on the market, including Constant Contact, MailChimp and Vertical Response (my favorite). You can usually create a free trial account, import your mailing list (email addresses for your clients and propsects) and create a sample newsletter in about 20-30 minutes. Don’t overanlyze this–just commit to spending a few hours learning about the tools, pick a tool and do it.
The second argument that I hear is that it will take too much time to write the content and commit to a regular schedule. It’ll definitely take some time, but again, there are ways to properly manage this. Assign this responsibility to someone else on your team (unless this happens to be your area of expertise and you like doing it) or hire a freelancer or intern. Also, keep in mind that hiring someone to spend 1-2 hours per week is MUCH cheaper than more expensive forms of online marketing. If you’re spending money on AdWords or other methods without seeing a good return, reduce that spending and allocate it to your newsletter instead. The ROI can be much higher.
No matter how you do it, you have to make sure that you COMMIT to it–whether you spend 2-3 hours per week or 5 hours per month, just make it a part of your regular routine and it’ll get so much easier after the first month or two. Schedule reminders in your calendar, delegate it to someone else or use a “done-for-you” newsletter service, such as the one that Flair will be introducing soon. No matter what, make it a priority in your business.
5) Join Online Communities and Forums
You can share your knowledge and expertise with thousands of other users in a variety of online communities and forums, regardless of your niche. You’ll get free advertising when you go to forums that have the same subject or niche as your site.
Share your two cents and let users see how knowledgeable you are with the subject. As you build your reputation, you also build the reputation of your site. Just be sure that you’re providing actual value instead of just hitting them over the head with an ad about your business. Gain their trust and you’ll gain high-quality traffic.
If you don’t know what other forums and online communities are available for your industry, do a quick web search, ask around or check the ads in your industry’s magazines or web sites. There are forums available for pretty much any topic out there.
Keep in mind that you also want to pay attention to what your users are doing when they REACH your site. It doesn’t do you any good if you gain 1,000 new users if none of them buy or convert when they reach your web site. Utilize Google Analytics, A/B split testing and other methods to find out how to capture that business when it arrives at your site.
These are just a few tips about how you can generate more traffic to your site. Want to learn more about how we are helping our clients attract more visitors and ALSO increase their conversions or sales once those users arrive? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
Managing Editor, Content 911 Blog
Managing Director, Flair Interactive Services Inc.