As a blogger or Internet entrepreneur, you need traffic. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it simply means people going to your website or blog. Just like all of the people you encounter in their vehicles when you are driving to work constitute real world vehicular traffic, everyone surfing the web at any given time is a part of Internet traffic.
There are two ways to get traffic to your site.
- 1) You pay for traffic.
- 2) You get traffic for free.
Paid traffic is a smart part of a serious online entrepreneur’s marketing plan. You control every aspect of traffic when you pay for it. Ad campaigns with Google, YouTube, Amazon and Facebook make it possible to laser-target your advertising to the exact demographics you want to reach.
Even if you do eventually develop a successful paid traffic marketing plan, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to pump a lot of revenue into buying traffic each and every day, spend your time and testing and retesting, and there are no guarantees that you will get the results you’re looking for.
If you think the reference to free traffic as being “sexy” is a little overboard, you are incorrect. Free traffic is beautiful, sexy, attractive and desirable. Why is this so? The answer is simple … because it’s FREE!
In many cases this doesn’t just mean being free financially. A lot of methods you are about to learn require a little bit of your time on the front end, but then they just continue to deliver free, targeted traffic to your site or blog with little to no upkeep on your part.
Other methods will require regular input by you, but since your financial outlay is zero, and the Internet never sleeps, you can employ these free traffic methods anytime of the night or day, whenever you have a few minutes or hours of spare time.
This guide is broken down into lager topics, and then subsets of those bigger topics. For instance, more people surf the web on mobile devices rather than traditional desktop PCs these days. That means mobile is going to play a big part in generating traffic to your site in the future … if you know what to do.
Mobile is a huge topic. So it would be irresponsible to say, “Take advantage of mobile for more free traffic,” and leave it at that. That is why we break that big topic down into smaller, easier-to-digest components.
There is a lot of information in this guide. Get just 1 or 2 of the things mentioned in this free traffic resource working for you properly and you can boost the number of visitors to your website dramatically. The key is taking things one at a time. You can’t possibly implement all of these proven traffic builders at once.
Choose a few that look like they may appeal to you, or perfectly fit the products and services you are offering. If your target audience is females between 30 years of age and 60 years of age, Pinterest is where you need to be. If you are marketing to a much younger audience, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope are social media outlets where your demographic is found.
In any case, you need to have a squeeze page, opt-in bribe and autoresponder sequence set up. If you don’t have these aspects of your business in place now, focus on this step first. Then choose just 1 or 2 things to work into your busy schedule each week or so.
You will find that you get the best results when you track everything you do in detail. This way you can see exactly what is working, what is not working, and focus on those free traffic methods which are delivering the most targeted visitors to your piece of virtual real estate.
Okay, enough chitchat!
You are probably chomping at the bit, and can’t wait to start benefiting from autopilot traffic that doesn’t cost you a penny. All it takes is your time and a consistent effort, and the following free traffic sources will build your brand, improve your sales and profits, and help boost your image as a leader in your marketplace.
You absolutely, positively must be building a list. This is true if your business is off-line or on, and technology makes it easy to do so when you have a blog or website. Whenever you need some free traffic to your site, to introduce a new offer, unveil a new blog post or for any other reason, you simply send an email to your list.
Even with small lists, this is laser-targeted traffic whenever you need it. When someone joins your list in return for an opt-in bribe or freebie, they are interested in what you have to say. They voluntarily joined your list. This means they want to hear from you. Email your list regularly and you keep your followers engaged, while also creating free, on-demand traffic and sales whenever you send out an email.
There are 3 components to building your list. They are some type of opt-in freebie, a squeeze page to collect email addresses, and an autoresponder sequence.
Lists of resources work well here. A short PDF that answers one big problem your audience has is another winner. Compile a short report, list of helpful resources, e-book or some other freebie, save it in PDF format, and you are ready to go. Don’t wait days, weeks or even months figuring this out. Make something that is easily digestible, short, and provides a quick win for your audience.
A squeeze page is so-called because it is intended to “squeeze” the email address from a prospect, in return for your opt-in bribe or free report. Don’t ask for much information here. Studies continue to show year after year that simply asking for an email address provides the highest conversion rate for squeeze pages.
Your squeeze page only offers 2 choices. Someone either signs up on your list to get a free report, or they leave the page. You want minimal distractions on this page, and be sure to make it as simple and straightforward as possible. If you don’t know how to create a squeeze page, also called a landing page, Lead Pages is the industry standard.
There are also free squeeze page widgets and plug-ins for popular website platforms like WordPress. All initial traffic should be driven to your squeeze page. Every page of your website or blog should have an opt-in box that also offers your free report in exchange for someone signing up to your email list or newsletter.
An autoresponder sequence is a group of emails that is sent out automatically. You decide how frequently they go out, and you integrate your opt-in freebie and squeeze page with autoresponder services like Aweber, GetResponse and MailChimp. You create these emails one time, automate the delivery process, and free traffic and engagement are the rewards.
MailChimp is free for your first 500 subscribers. Whichever autoresponder service you choose, you need to write a minimum of 5 to 7 emails to begin your autoresponder sequence. Your first email should say “Thank You” and tell your list members exactly what to expect from you. The next few emails provide lots of value, ask your audience how you can help them, and send your subscribers back to your website to check out blog posts and resources.
At the end of this autoresponder sequence you can pitch a low-end offer. Just remember that no one likes to be beaten over the head continually with offers to purchase your products and services. Establish a relationship, provide a lot of value, and then somewhere near the end of this autoresponder sequence deliver a high-value offer that requires a minimal investment.
(An entire course could be created on how to use social media for traffic to your website. This short report will give you just a couple of ideas about how to maximize your time on social media if free traffic is your goal. You will probably find that it is very difficult to turn social media into a traffic source if you don’t go the paid advertising route, and that is something that is not recommended unless you have a firm grasp on Facebook ads and other social media advertising platforms.)
Social media can provide a lot of free traffic. However, there are so many worthwhile social media websites out there, you have to be careful not to spend the bulk of your time chasing this low-converting traffic. Regardless what social media “gurus” will tell you, the return on your time investment trying to get people from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn back to your website to join your list is not very high.
People go to social media sites to hang out. They are socializing. Make sure you approach them in a social manner. Don’t ever attempt to sell on Facebook or the other social media sites. Engage. Show funny videos. Ask people to share their favorite recipe or movie. Then whenever you have a new blog post, share it on your social media accounts.
It should be noted that some entrepreneurs do a really good job turning Facebook Groups into a steady stream of free traffic. In almost every case, this is because they are paying for Facebook ads targeted to a specific audience. Be very wary of spending money on Facebook, or any other social media site, unless you are absolutely certain you know what you’re doing. This report is about free traffic, so understand that social media sites can provide free traffic, but you should spend minimal amounts of time pursuing this low-converting free traffic source.
When should you post on social media for the highest engagement rates?
HubSpot studied tens of thousands of posts and updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites. They discovered the best possible times for you to engage your audience. Those times are listed below (as of June 2016).
- 3 o’clock to 4:00 PM on Wednesdays
- 1 o’clock to 4:00 PM on Thursdays and Fridays
- Noon to 1 o’clock PM on Saturdays and Sundays
- Noon to 3:00 PM on Mondays through Fridays
- 5 o’clock to 6:00 PM on Wednesdays
- 7:30 o’clock to 8:30 o’clock a.m., noon, and 5 o’clock to 6:00 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
- 10 o’clock to 11:00 o’clock AM on Tuesdays
- Evening hours every day
- 2 o’clock to 4:00 o’clock AM every day
- 5:00 PM on Fridays
- 8 o’clock to 11:00 o’clock PM on Saturdays
Anytime between Monday and Thursday, avoiding 3:00 o’clock to 4:00 o’clock PM
* Understand that multiple factors will influence whether your content is shared, liked, commented on and develops engagement. However, if you stick to the times just mentioned, you give yourself the best possible chance of driving a lot of free traffic to your blog or website.
Memes are those graphics and pictures you see on Facebook that have funny or interesting text, quotes and comments overlaying the graphics. You will be ahead of your competition by miles when you use a free meme generator to create your own, one-of-a-kind, customized memes.
The following meme generators are free to use, you can create original content literally in seconds, and posts on Facebook and other social media sites with graphics or images drive engagement more successfully than posts that only have text.
- Meme Center
- Make a Meme
In late 2015 mobile searches passed desktop searches on the Internet. Experts say that now (in 2017) more than 60% of all web searches are on mobile devices. This means several things. First off, most people are searching from their smart phones. This display is tiny compared to your laptop, your desktop and even your tablet.
Also, mobile searchers have incredibly short attention spans. Your site had better load fast and look good, or you have lost that mobile traffic. Here are a few things you can do to turn your website into a free traffic machine on mobile devices.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a web designer or app developer. You can head over to Fiverr.com or UpWork and have a freelancer create a mobile application for your business inexpensively. This can be as simple as a checklist or list of resources, or some other helpful piece of information.
Make your mobile application available for free in the Google Play Store, Opera Mobile Store and Apple Store.
You can also distribute your mobile app through the Amazon App Store. You would be surprised at how inexpensively you can get a quality application made, and this single technique goes a long way to making you look a lot more professional and serious about your business, and about helping others, than your competition.
It is a shame that in this day of mobile search dominance so many websites look like garbage on smart phones and tablets. The easy way to remedy this, and to keep from losing people who wind up on a website where they have to scroll, pinch and zoom just to get around, is to make your site responsive.
WordPress is the most popular blog and website platform in the world. Search for “responsive WordPress themes” in your favorite search engine. There are tons of free responsive themes that instantly and automatically format your webpages perfectly for the size and aspect ratio of the display they are being viewed on.
If someone stumbles across your website on a 4-inch smart phone display or a 17-inch laptop screen, responsive software automatically provides the best possible display.
We just mentioned the short attention span of people on mobile devices. This is why you should definitely make your homepage and landing pages easy to digest on mobile devices. Your opt-in form should be above the fold, meaning the top of the screen or display.
If you are not sure how to optimize your important webpages for mobile traffic, the talented professionals mentioned earlier at UpWork and Fiverr can handle the job for you.
You are probably groaning at the 3 letter acronym SEO. In case you don’t know, that stands for search engine optimization. This means making your website, content and webpages attractive to Google and the other search engines. If you have fallen prey to so-called experts that promised to deliver search engine rankings by offering their SEO services, it is understood that search engine optimization is a topic you would like to avoid.
Don’t worry, SEO is easier now than ever before.
Search engines don’t “read” like human beings. This means that you have to do certain things differently than what may be visually appealing to you and to web surfers. Of course, your website should also be attractive to human beings. On-page SEO keeps the search engines happy and sending you free traffic, and it is not as hard to optimize your site as you may think.
Years ago, if you put your target keywords in your meta tags, headers, sub- headers, image captions, and used those keywords 4 to 6 times every 100 words, you could guarantee a lot of targeted, free traffic. That is not the case anymore. Google is insistent that as long as you provide a lot of helpful information and include words, keywords and phrases that let Big G know what your webpages are about, they will send you traffic.
That having been said, you should be using short and long-tail keywords and phrases in your image captions, your domain URL, your headlines and sparingly throughout your content.
Matt Cutts is often seen as the “face” of Google. He is one of the leading spokesman on the Internet that provides an understanding of what Google expects from websites to help web surfers find what they’re looking for. Time and again he tells bloggers and online entrepreneurs to focus on providing consistent, original content published regularly, that helps your audience solve problems.
Let’s say you have two websites you frequent that are almost identical. They solve the same problems, talk about the same things, and they even look the same. If one website provides incredibly valuable and helpful content once a week and the other site does so once every 6 weeks, which one do you think Google and the other search engines are going to send the most free traffic to? Publish original, helpful, valuable content regularly for the best chance at free search engine traffic.
Whenever anyone says something good about you or your company, let everyone know! You should have a webpage on your site or blog dedicated to testimonials and customer success stories. Social proof is so powerful online. You can talk all day long about how good your product is, but people have a natural reluctance to believe you, because you are the person selling the product.
On the other side of the coin, think about what happens when someone stumbles across an impressive list of testimonials and referrals, incredible customer success stories where you really helped someone. That social proof does all of the work for you, making you look like a leader in your field that someone can trust and do business with.
It should go without saying that you need to have your own blog online. When you get your blog indexed with Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines, you will begin to receive free traffic. There are other blogging tactics which can also drive free traffic.
Guest blogging doesn’t provide the big traffic boost that it used to. However, it is still a great way to reach a large audience. Contact the owners of the biggest blogs relevant to your niche or market. Offer to write an original, high-value blog post for their site. In return you ask for a link back to your website.
Turn the guest blogging experience around. Reach out to others and ask them to write guest posts for your blog. This helps when you are having a hard time coming up with original content on a regular basis, and tells the search engines exactly what your site or blog is about when you link back to the web properties of guest bloggers relevant to your message and audience.
Some people get really upset when you do not respond to their comments on your blog posts. This can be time-consuming, but the engagement is worth the investment. Once or twice a week set aside time to read and respond to the comments on your blog posts. Do the same to comments on posts of other bloggers in your niche.
Vlogging is the act of combining video with your textual blog post. While doing this, you can take the audio and turn it into a podcast. Some people are not comfortable videotaping themselves. If you are, vlogging and then posting your vlog to your blog and video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo expands your reach and drives engagement.
You don’t have to sit down and write the next great novel. Nonfiction e-books of 15,000 to 25,000 words make excellent giveaways. Answer one question or solve one problem, and give the book away for free on Amazon. When you become an author you instantly achieve a level of respect and admiration that is not available to non-authors.
There are sites which allow web surfers to post questions about anything and everything. Online marketers like yourself answer those questions, and the question that gets the most positive feedback is chosen as the top answer.
The key to taking advantage of this process is to deliver outstanding answers, not just one or two sentences. If you can develop a reputation as being the go-to source for information on a particular topic on these Q and A sites, your in-depth answers can drive traffic for years. Yahoo Answers, Quora and Wiki Answers are some of the top Q&A site.
Zoho Survey, SurveyGizmo, FluidSurveys and Survey Monkey allow you to poll your audience and find out just what they are looking for. They are also great for quizzes. If you want to run a giveaway or contest, Cool Freebie Links, ContestGirl and Freaky Freddies are just a few of the many contest sites where you can post your contest.
GoToWebinar is the leader in the field of webinar software. Anytime you communicate with your audience with more than just a text-based blog post, you have a better chance for engagement. Webinars are proven traffic sources, as well as being effective sales machines.
You may have been asked to join a webinar before, or perhaps you have hosted webinars in the past. The engagement is so high because people can hear your voice in real time, you can answer questions and really get to know your audience. If you like, you can also include video, so people can see exactly who they are dealing with.
YouTube recently launched a live video streaming service, and you can also use Google+ Hangouts to host a webinar. Why not use the free online telephone service Skype to broadcast a webinar? OnStream Webinars, Webinato and ClickWebinar are a few other prominent webinar platforms.
This may seem daunting at first. However, all you really need to start a podcast is a decent microphone and a computer. Odds are you have a blog. There is a pretty good chance that your competitor has a website or blog as well. On the other hand, podcasts are few and far between, which makes them the perfect free traffic source that sets you apart from your competition.
Pat Flynn is a blogger, author and podcaster well known for giving away valuable, step-by-step, how-to information. His “How to Start a Podcast” tutorial is updated frequently, contains text and videos, advice on resources, and a guide on how to start as inexpensively as possible. You can check out that free resource at https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/tutorials/start-podcast-pats-complete-step-step-podcasting-tutorial/.
Web entrepreneurs frequently forget that the “real world” is a great place to advertise their products and services. The following strategies can help you get the word out about your website, and once you make the initial investment, they can drive targeted traffic to your little corner of the web.
There are seminars and live events held around the world that relate to the niche or market you are in. Attend some of these live events if you can, and offer to speak or provide some type of valuable freebie. Always make sure you have plenty of business cards for live seminars and conferences, complete with your contact information and web address.
You’ve probably seen a car, truck or SUV with a professional looking decal or magnet on its door. While not truly qualifying as a “free” traffic source because of your initial investment, once your magnet is up on your car, while you are tooling around town and going through your regular, daily routine you are advertising your website.
Printing up flyers requires a very minimal investment. You then distribute those flyers around town, outside crowded shopping centers or other high-traffic areas. Make sure you check with the appropriate authorities in your area so that you don’t run afoul of any local marketing laws.
You may be surprised at how well received you will be when you ask your local Chamber of Commerce if they need a speaker. Trade unions, speaking clubs, fraternal organizations and other local groups often have a hard time finding speakers. This is a great way to instantly brand yourself as the leader in your field, and can be especially beneficial if you operate a brick-and-mortar business in your local area.