There is no magical way to drive quality traffic to your website. If you have a budget, Facebook ads or YouTube ads can send good target traffic to your site in a short period. But you may waste a lot of money until you find a compelling sales copy that works, and even if it works, the traffic can stop as soon as your paid campaign period ends. Free traffic methods are a lot more time-consuming and none of them could give an instant effect, but it's all about building your audience over time. If you are new to online marketing, I hope this post will at least help you find out what kind of strategies are on the table so you can start trying at least one or two.
How To Get Free Traffic To Your Website
As I said in the beginning - there is no magic, no surprise here. I'll list up the most popular methods among budget marketers with some advantages (pros) as well as disadvantages (cons).
If your website only contains a few landing/sales pages and your business information, the pages are unlikely to rank in search engines by any keywords other than your brand name. It means no one will find your website on Google unless they know the name of your company/business. So to make your site known via Google, you publish blog posts.
Blogging is a long-term investment. What I mean is that by consistently publishing blog posts with the right SEO technique applied each time, you'll eventually start to have your post content ranked well on Google search, hence it will drive traffic organically. The SEO technique includes;
- Use searchable low-competition keywords - you need a decent keyword tool to find them.
- Make sure each and every image you embed is optimized (reduced in size and alt-tag is applied.)
- Each content is authentic, lengthy, easy to read and a header is applied at each section. It means Google will see your content is unique and useful to users.
- Use a blog editor that's popular and up-to-date so it doesn't contain bad scripts that may cause to slow down the loading speed.
SEO is not rocket science, it's pretty straight-forward, not as difficult as you think. You'll have no choice but to apply it each time you publish content, so it will be second-nature to you as you go along. It's just that blogging is so competitive - it is said that over 2 billion blog posts are published each year. You cannot expect good results so soon and you'll desperately need to keep publishing quality content. So to sum up;
Using YouTube as a marketing platform is probably the standard and most popular way for many business owners to direct viewers to their website. For example;
- E-commerce site owner to publish product review videos on YouTube and direct viewers to their online store.
- Online tutor to run video tutorials on YouTube and encourage the viewers to visit their webinar site.
- Affiliate marketer to publish videos on YouTube and direct viewers to their bridge page (lead generation page, followed by their affiliate product page)
The good thing is, once your website has all the necessary information and is up and running, you may only need to update it as and when. For example, affiliate marketers who work primarily on YouTube often only need a simple 2-3 page website just for list-building purposes, if at all.
YouTube itself is a search engine and you need to learn an SEO technique, which is mainly the keyword tags, the introduction of the video and the video thumbnail to use.
Social Media in General
It's easy to say "social media is a free traffic source" and "it's important to engage with your friends/followers". The truth for many of us is, the work is a lot harder than we think. Follow random users in an attempt to gain follow-backs and you may quickly get into a silly, unnecessary "follow/unfollow" game with bots, spammers, and some crazy instant political/religious campaigners. The "engaging" - exchanging comments is also time-consuming and you may be tempted to join some deep discussions from time to time, but they can distract you a great deal from promoting your business on the same platform.
Here are some social networks that you can use to get free traffic to your website;
#3 Facebook Page and Groups
As a business owner, there are three things you can do with Facebook;
- Create a Facebook page specifically to promote your website - This is necessary, especially if you want to promote your business on Instagram (see below). The link to your landing page can be displayed at the top of the Facebook page and any site updates and be announced on the page.
- Create your own niche-focused group - It's good if you want to give open support to your prospects, existing customers, or students. The downside is you need to closely monitor the group activity (at least once a day), not just to provide support but to deal with posts that can potentially harm your business such as spam and excessively negative comments.
- Join related niche groups - Some groups - not all - allow you to post content to promote your business so other group members become aware of it and they may click the link to visit your site if they're interested. You need to check the group's terms carefully upon joining. But depending on how your post uniquely stands out, the chances are that the other members are also too busy to promote their business.
There are however some disadvantages as well as advantages.
Instagram as you already know, allows you to draw the attention of the right audience using hashtags and attract through graphics. Though it might take up some extra time, it's a good opportunity to go creative by posting stunning photos, illustrations, or meaningful video messages.
The biggest disadvantage in terms of driving traffic to your website is, you cannot place a link in your post. You are only allowed to place one link in your profile, so it's not ideal if you wish to get free traffic to multiple pages. You can use a multi-linking tool such as linktr.ee to solve this problem but it doesn't seem proven effective. I guess it's a little too much of a fuss for the viewer to (1) check your profile, (2) click the link to be directed to your linktr.ee page, then (3) find the link that you requested them to click.
Pinterest is another social platform to get free traffic to your website, with its own search engine algorithm. It allows you to include a link to any webpage (including your affiliate link) and, if you consistently post new pins, you're supposed to draw a great number of views, hence immense traffic to your site.
However, Pinterest is not totally reliable - many users have reported a sudden, mysterious drop of views/impressions and the support seems unable to help with this problem. My friend Paul has written about his experience in his blog (Why Are My Pinterest Impressions Going Down? - SideGains) which I also experienced recently. I wouldn't rely on Pinterest or spend too much time on it if I were you, for that reason.
Answering a question on this vast Q&A site and placing a link to your site as a reference, is another way to get free traffic. But only if it naturally makes sense, i.e. the link destination is an information content page that's directly related to the Q&A. Your answer will only be regarded as spam otherwise, for example, if it's a sales page.
It will also only be worth a try if you're willing to provide a useful and mindboggling answer. The more "upvotes" your answer receives, the higher it will rank among other answers, and the link to your site will have a better chance of being clicked.
The Quora strategy can be worked backward by finding relevant questions to your site content. For example, if you have published a blog post about "toxic foods that your pet dog should avoid", then go to Quora and search questions such as;
- Are sunflower seeds poisonous for dogs?
- Can dogs eat bananas?
You can also Google search for similar questions - you're most likely to find Quora answers on the first page, so you can contribute your answer. But questions like "safe food for dogs" are so common that they may have been answered by a number of people already. You may want to search for less competitive questions that are still relevant to your website content instead.
#7 Traffic Exchange Sites
As the name suggests, traffic exchange sites exist for entrepreneurs to promote their business to other registered members and visit each other's sites. Each time you visit a member's landing page, you'll earn a credit which in turn, you can use to get another member to visit your page.
I won't name which ones on this occasion, but you can't expect quality traffic from any of those sites, I wouldn't spend much time if I were you.
What I mean is that traffic exchange members all have only one thing in mind - to promote their own site. They only visit your site to earn some credits. They literally "visit" your site for a few seconds and leave unless your site promotes something extraordinary.
If you are new to online business, you may be interested to see what other entrepreneurs are up to. However, the whole idea of "traffic exchange" is so outdated that people who cling on to the system obviously stopped learning a while ago. You won't get much benefit from it.
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