Getting free traffic for your website isn’t nearly as difficult as is commonly thought – but there isn’t any ‘push-button’ solution. You’re actually going to have to put some work into the task. But 30-60 minutes a day is all you need. I’m going to describe the 5 methods of getting traffic in the order that you should begin using them (at least, in my humble opinion 🙂
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Everything starts with the foundation – and with website traffic, the foundation is going to be your website itself. To begin with, your theme must correctly use Header tags. This is simple to see – go to any website post, and look at the source code. In Chrome, go to ‘Tools/View Source’ – then when you have the source code listed, go to ‘Find’ and type <h1>… take a look at your post – does it have the title of the post in between an <h1> and </h1> tag?
If not, then you need to change your theme! It clearly doesn’t employ even the most basic of SEO practices, and while this is surprising, it’s actually quite common. And easy to fix! CHANGE YOUR THEME!
When writing posts – and knowing that the title is going to be wrapped in the <h1></h1> tag – you need to very carefully think about the title – this is the critical element in determining what Google thinks your post is all about – so make sure you have your keywords in there! Make the title enticing – such as the title for this post ‘Five Free Traffic Sources You Shouldn’t Be Without!’ – you’ll get traffic from the search engines for a title like this…
Compare, for example, the title: “Free Traffic Tips” – a rather sparse 17 characters, considering that Google allows roughly 70 characters for the title. The Serps – Search Engine Result Pages – don’t give you very much – so you need to take all you can get. This means a well-crafted title – and an manually written and enticing meta description.
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned meta keywords… there was a time when these were highly valuable – but people learned to ‘game’ the search engines by putting in keywords that weren’t highly relevant, so the search engines fought back by developing algorithms that bypass what YOU think the relevant keywords are. So you can safely ignore specifying meta keywords… they simply don’t work any-more.
2. Website Speed
Go to WebPageTest.org and test your website speed. The faster your website loads, the more people will come to your site. People who click away because your website takes too long to load are simply contributing to your bounce rate – and this is one of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank your site. If you aren’t under 1.5 seconds, you need to do whatever it takes to get your site loading faster. Follow the suggestions on WebPageTest and you’ll end up with more traffic – simply because the traffic that does come to your site doesn’t leave before it loads!
Compressing any graphics you use is one of the simple ways you can improve your site load speed. And – as there are online sites that will compress your graphics for you – you really have no excuse. I use an old program, Paintshop Pro – and it allows me to compress my graphics before saving. Also – check the size of your graphics… does it NEED to be that large? Or can a smaller graphic still have the effect you want for your readers?
Website speed is one of the most critical SEO changes you can make, so test your site and make the changes needed to turn it into grease lightning!
3. Meta Post Descriptions
Next step, each time you write a post – you should also write out individual post meta descriptions – these are the descriptions that Google will use in the search engine results – and should be tailored for the 160 characters that Google uses.
Here for example, are two results for ‘Facebook Ads’:
Facebook jacks up ad prices as advertisers learn the game …
May 23, 2014 … Where social media sites are concerned, advertisers see Facebook as by far the
biggest game in town. And for good reason. Facebook ads are …
About Advertising on Facebook | Facebook
A powerful tool for managing your Facebooks Ads and sponsored stories.
Monitor likes, click-through rates, impressions, reach and more.
One of these descriptions was simply chosen by Google from the post – one was hand-crafted by the website author when he wrote the post. Which one do you think will draw more traffic?
My theme, Dynamic for Genesis, includes a character counter so when I type my meta descriptions I know exactly how long they should be. You can also type them into Office, Open Office, or similar – and use the built-in word/character counter to set your meta description precisely to the right length.
One tool that I’m using right now is ‘Notepad++‘ – an open source notepad replacement. I often type posts in notepad, then simply copy them to the website. Notepad++ offers an HTML mode, so you can add formatting right into your posts if you’re familiar enough with HTML. And with the TextFX plugin, it will give you word or character counts. A very useful tool that is open source and completely free.
4. Onsite SEO
Onsite SEO are the things you do on your website that enhances the ability of search engines to correctly index your content. This allows you to rank higher in the search engines, and draw more traffic from organic searches. Mistakes are made in millions of websites around the world with simple onsite SEO methods, and with just a little knowledge and practice, you’ll get a big jump on them if you just follow a few simple tactics:
As you write your posts – these are a few of the things you should be thinking about:
4A. Keywords & LSI
Many people obsess over specific percentages for their keywords… you can safely ignore any such percentage advice. Use your main keyword in your title, your meta description, and then just 3-5 times throughout the post (depending on the length of the post). Also be sure to use LSI – Latent Sematic Indexing – a fancy term for using related words. LSIKeywords.com is a good resource for finding related terms for your topic. If you just write a long post, you’ll end up naturally using related terms, however – it’s still good to check your post before posting.
4B. Graphic & Photo Alt Tags
I always encourage people to put at least one graphic or photo in their posts. People are visually oriented, and a good picture IS worth a 1,000 words. You’ll also find, if you study your logs, that you end up getting traffic from Google Image searches. When you use graphics or photos – be sure that you include the alt tag – a tag that describes the photo using the keywords you’re targeting. Such a simple and quick trick, but it pays off in traffic.
4C. Bold, Underline, & Italics
Make sure you utilize bolding, underlining, and italics in your post – the words you highlight using these formatting structures will help Google place your post in the correct category. Keywords and related terms should be formatted with bolding, underlining, and italics from time to time in your post.
If the topic is appropriate, add a video to your post. Videos help you with your bounce rate – because once someone has clicked on anything on your post (including watching a video!) – search engines no longer count that visit as a ‘bounce’ should the visitor then leave. I use a freeware plugin that allows me to serve Youtube videos, with a backup on my Amazon S3 server… so if the Youtube video goes away, my site isn’t broken.
4E. Authority Links
Search engines want content that appears to be helpful to their readers – and one of the best ways to help your readers is to link out to an authority site… find a good Wikipedia article on your topic (such as Web Traffic) and link to it. This raises your authority in the eyes of the search engines, and will rank your site higher – leading to more traffic. The idea here is that sites that are helpful to their visitors are exactly the sites search engines want to send their traffic to.
4F. Pretty Links
Use the free WordPress plugin – Pretty Link. This allows you to track how many people are clicking on your links, and even more importantly, allows you to ‘no-follow’ any affiliate links you might have in your content. By using ‘no-follow’ on your affiliate links, you make your site look more authoritative to search engines, and not appear ‘spammy’. Don’t ignore this trick – you never want the search engines to get the idea that you might want to earn money from your website like they do… always ‘no-follow’ your affiliate links.
Off-Site Website SEO
Everything above is about on-site SEO – but off-site SEO can help as well. The key concept here is the anchor text that is used to refer back to your site. An entire manual can be written on this topic – but with Authority Blogging, it’s not as important a topic as it is with Niche Websites. Just keep in mind when you link back to your website from forum posting or website comments to use your website name and a good sprinkling of keywords as the anchor text.
This concludes the first method of getting free traffic – the remaining four methods can be easily accessed however, by simply clicking one of the below buttons:
Pick two or three forums that are related to your website topic – and begin posting in those forums. Start by actually reading their forum rules – some forums have oddball rules that will cause you to lose your posting privileges. Most forums forbid affiliate links – but allow links to your website. If, by some weird chance, you run into a forum that disallows links to your website… skip it and move to another forum.
Many forums require that you post a minimum number of posts before they allow you to gain full membership, but since you’re going to post quite a number of posts, no more than a few days or a week should go by before you’re allowed to do what you want…
Here’s the key: Use a signature line that will lead people to your website for more information. For best results, don’t mention your website in your posts – simply provide informative responses to other people – and try to help them. People are naturally curious about helpful people, and will end up clicking on your signature line to see what else you offer.
The best signature lines are ones that entice people to click on them… using curiosity. One example might be: “Have You Secured Your WordPress Site Against Hackers?”. Most sites use a simple variant on HTML called ‘BB Code’ so on many sites, you would code this signature line like this:
[url=http://benholmesonline.com/] Have You Secured Your WordPress Site Against Hackers?[/url]
This one method will get you a great deal of traffic in the long run, but you must be consistent in posting. Make it a goal to post 5-10 posts each and every day – and you’ll start seeing traffic flow to your website.
While some forums don’t mind if you occasionally link in your post to one of your website posts that answers a question – many forums discourage such direct references… when in doubt, ask one of the forum moderators first.
No matter what your Authority Site topic is about, there generally aren’t more than a handful of really top-notch forums with good traffic, and you do not want to be booted off of any of them.
Social Media links are not so much direct traffic sources as they are SEO tactics to get the search engines to rank you higher. There are all sorts of plugins and tools that promise to spread your social link love all over the Internet – but I prefer to entice my readers into giving me the links. This will look far more natural to the search engines (mainly because it is natural!).
You can get social link love outsourced on Fiver.com – you can buy plugins or software that will go out and post your links… but such tactics work only until the search engines change their algorithms again. I prefer to let my content do the heavy work, and allow my readers to link for me…
The simple way to do this is to use a social linking plugin for your WordPress site that allows people to click on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc… an absolute necessity for any WordPress site… always make it easy for your readers to do what you’d like them to do. People are lazy, and sometimes it’s difficult to even get them to click a single button!
But even more powerful than relying on goodwill is to use a content locker plugin… which forces visitors to give you the social links you need. I prefer to make it optional in a way… by only locking a downloadable PDF version, or when I do lock an entire post (or part of a post), I like to have a timer on it so that you can still read the post by waiting 60 seconds.
My favoured Social Content Locker plugin is the one from CodeCanyon. You’ve already seen it in action if you’re reading this – as you needed to help me with my social markers in order to get to this point. I highly recommend using a content locker – but only do it on really great content.
Also – don’t overestimate the power of simply asking people to click on one of your social link buttons… right at the bottom of a post, simply say something to the effect: “If you liked this post, please let others know by clicking below.”
While you’ll get additional traffic from social links – the major benefit is the increased ranking you’ll get from the search engines, as they note that your site is becoming popular. This is definitely a traffic tactic you need to pay attention to!
Okay, now we get to the traffic tactic that scares many people … they’ve never gone on camera, nor do they know anything about creating a video. Well, here’s the good news – you don’t have to personally appear on camera. In fact, you don’t even have to own a camera.
Video marketing is powerful for three reasons.
- Relatively few website owners are doing it.
- Provides another backlink to your site.
- Can give you lots of traffic.
The simplest form of video marketing is to just head over to Fiver.com, and pay $5 for a video to be made. This method eliminates virtually all the problems you believe you’ll face with video marketing.
However, when you’re ready to take a step up, you’ll use Power Point (or the free Open Office version, Impress) to create a series of slides, then simply voice over… as there are a number of free programs that can convert Power Point slides to video – you don’t have any excuses… as everything can be either done for free, or outsourced for $5 per video.
What will be on the Power Point slides? How about your latest article?
Keep in mind that once you’ve submitted a video to Youtube – there are also a number of other video sites you can upload to as well. All the other sites together won’t give you as much traffic as Youtube, but they are all useful as additional links to your website.
Now, here are two powerful tricks to use when you upload videos to Youtube:
- When you create your list of keywords related to your video, always include your website name and your name as keywords. This will have the benefit of linking all of your videos together in Youtube – so if someone watches one of your videos – when it’s finished playing, Youtube will suggest other videos – your videos, as suggested videos for the viewer to watch. I hardly need explain how powerful such a tactic can be!
- Always link a transcript to your video – this helps the search engines correctly place your video. Computers are great at reading words, but quite bad at viewing videos… you need to help search engines rank your videos accurately – and this is best done with a transcript of the video. If you don’t understand how to link a transcript to a video – Youtube has videos on how to do it!
Since relatively few websites create their own videos – this is a powerful long-term traffic solution that will work for many years to come… don’t put it off – simply dive in… there’s plenty of on-line help for you to learn how to create your own videos.
Be sure to post your videos on your website as well!
I consider article marketing to be the last thing you should do – but it can be quite easy, as you’ve already done 95% of the work. You’ve already written a post, right? So you take your website post, and post it to article sites such as Ezine Articles
Do a search for the top 5 or top 10 Article Directories (EzineArticles has almost always been #1.) and post your article to these sites. However, and this is critical – make sure that Google has indexed your post on your site first… then you can repost it to some Article Directories. You want the search engines to give you credit for the original and unique articles, not the Article Directories.
As in forum marketing, where you use ‘signature lines’ to direct people to your site, in Article Directories you’ll have a ‘resource box’ to direct people to your site. And, just as in forum signatures, the best sort of resource box is going to be one where you entice someone to click through out of curiosity… for example, “To find out the 3 critical mistakes most WordPress installers make, and how you can avoid them – go to BenHolmesOnline.com”
If you submit your very best articles – you may well get the benefit of other websites publishing your article… thus giving you the best possible links of all – natural one-way links. You’ll definitely be rewarded by the search engines when you post unique and valuable content that others pick up for their own site. Just remember – you must make sure that the search engines have correctly identified your website as the originator of the post.
The best way to do Article Directory submission is to get 25 or so posts up on your website first… then each time you write a new post, submit an earlier post to the different Article Directories. Example: when you write post number 26, submit post number 1… when you write post number 27, submit post number 2… and so forth. This helps make sure that you aren’t submitting anything that hasn’t been indexed to your website first.
Closely related to article marketing are the PDF directories. This is a seldom used traffic tactic that can be useful as a way of re-purposing your already created content. Simply take each post and convert it to a PDF, then upload it to 5-10 PDF directories. You can do this the same way you submit to Article Directories, when posting #26 to your Website, post #1 to the PDF sites (as you’re also posting to Article Directories)
Since you’ll be creating PDF’s in conjunction with your Content Locker, you should be good to go with this additional traffic trick.
Don’t know how to convert HTML to PDF? Go to PDFcrowd.com
Traffic generation is really far simpler than most people realize… it just consists of spreading your ‘footprint’ larger and larger over the Internet. Taking your content, and posting it to many other places. Spending just an hour a day on these traffic tactics, and you’ll soon have a flood of traffic coming to your site.
Far too many people believe that there’s some ‘push-button’ way to get traffic. And the surest way to entice a website owner is to post some new way to get traffic instantly, or effortlessly. But the traffic will only come to those who publish unique and valuable content – particularly content that helps people solve a problem or content that entertains them, and who then work to get that traffic through such methods as are listed in this post.
There are other methods to get free traffic – but the major methods are all listed above… dive in and start doing the work, and you’ll be surprised at how well it works!
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