Traffic is the cornerstone, the foundation, to any successful blog or website. No matter which way you look at things, traffic is one of the most essential, key aspects of a blog’s success. And perhaps most importantly, the amount of traffic you get is directly proportional to the amount of money your blog makes!
The good news is that there is, quite literally, a ton of sources of free traffic available out there.
The best source of traffic remains Google and organic traffic. However a lot of SEOs, SEMs, marketers and industry-specialists have stopped relying solely on Google for traffic – mostly because Google has been introducing changes and tweaks to its search engine algorithm, such as the Panda and Penguin updates.
Each update has sent people scrambling to protect their website’s SERP and rankings. Because each update puts your traffic levels, and hence your income at risk – if an algorithm update makes you lose your ranking, there’s very little you can do about it. If Google deems that your backlinks aren’t legit, and as a result you SERPs fall, once again, there’s nothing you can do about it.
And this is precisely what has happened to a lot of blogs and websites out there, blogs which were doing well before the mighty Panda and more importantly, the Penguin struck! If the last year or so has taught us anything, it’s that Google is an unreliable source of traffic.
Besides, it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket! Limiting yourself to getting traffic solely from Google (or just one source) is unwise and unadvisable. Given the volatile and unpredictable nature of Google’s updates, no one can really foresee what Google might have in store in the future.
The solution? Diversification! Diversify, broaden and expand your sources of income. This is 2012, and like I said before, there is a ton to choose from! Here are a few free sources of traffic that you can use, in combination with organic traffic, to boost your site’s visibility, SERP and revenues:
Facebook remains one of the most popular social network out there, boasting an excess of 900 million total users (that’s almost 1/7th of the world’s population!), closing in quickly on the 1 billion mark, and over half of those being active accounts. In human terms, this means that one in every seventh person on the earth is on Facebook, and one in every fourteen person on Earth checks his Facebook at least once a day!
And it doesn’t end there. Facebook is one of the single-largest sources of traffic after Google! People have been able to generate a LOT of referral traffic from Facebook, and there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be doing just that as well.
The power of Twitter lies in its ‘Retweet’ capabilities – if someone with a large number of followers RT’s your tweet, and that in turn gets RT’ed more times again and again, you have the potential to go viral within a few short minutes! Viral translates to massive traffic, but in most cases, it’s easier said than done.
You’ll need a strong presence on Twitter, with many followers and especially followers who are more likely to share your posts, or those who have a high ‘Social Networking Potential’ (SNP) – individuals (or groups) who have a large area of influence. Anything shared by these individuals/groups will tend to be shared, RT’ed and read by a lot of people. Celebrities and atheletes, for instance, have a very high SNP.
What most people don’t know, is that Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world, after of course you-know-who. Pretty amazing right, especially when you consider that Youtube is bigger than the likes to Bing and Yahoo!
And the other stats pretty much speak for themselves as well – 800 million unique visitors a month (whoa!), millions of subscriptions happening every day, 30% traffic coming from the US, while a massive 70% coming from outside the US (which means that it has a global appeal), and Youtube had an amazing 1 trillion video views in 2011!
All this means that it is a goldmine as far as traffic is concerned. Make the right video, share it on Youtube, and do all the right things in order to ensure that it goes viral, and you’ll be able to see your traffic skyrocket!
Even if you can’t go viral, anyone and everyone can use Youtube and get free traffic off it. Regardless of which niche you’re in, there almost always something that you can make a video on. Affiliate marketers, for instance, can post video reviews, SEO bloggers and SEMs can post video tutorials and general bloggers and make a video on just about anything in their niche and use Youtube to get a steady stream of traffic for a long time.
4. Email Lists and Subscriptions
Lists and email marketing has to be one of the best sources of free traffic, especially in the unpredictable world of Pandas and Penguins that we live in today.
If you don’t have a list, you’re missing out on a great source of traffic! If you think email marketing is a thing of the past, think again. Starting making a list right now! Encourage your readers, visitors, followers and fans to subscribe to your list. Because according to stats, a good list is worth $1 per subscriber, per month. This means that a list with 500 subscribers will make you $500 every month!
Once you’re able to build a list, people will automatically receive an update from you whenever you post something, and email lists have the highest conversion rates in the industry. This means that with a list, you’re building a steady stream of traffic to your blog, and hence you’re ensuring the long-term stability and traffic of your business.
One of the most popular email marketing tools out there is Aweber. It comes with a whole slew of features, and a wide variety of tools and customization.
Email marketing, therefore, remains on the top of the priority lists for many top marketers and SEOs. Engaging with your list usually yields it’s rewards in terms of traffic as well as revenues.
Reddit is a social bookmarking site that is similar to Digg. They call themselves ‘the front-page of the Internet,’ and it’s hard to argue with that! Reddit gets thousands upon thousands of views each day, visitors looking for fresh content from all over the world. And if you have fresh, excellent-written content to share, Reddit can bring in many visitors to your blog quite easily.
All you have to do is create a profile on Reddit, which takes less than a minute, and submit your links, articles or stories on the website. Alternatively, you can use the Reddit Bookmarklet to submit your content.
The aim is to become a power-user on Reddit by earning karma, the more karma or votes) you’re able to earn, the quicker you’ll be promoted, and then for your stories to be featured on Reddit’s front page. Because once you get to Reddit’s front-page, you will get a lot of exposure!
Fill out your profile fully, and put up a photo. Start submitting your links, and add interesting titles and descriptions to go with them. Make sure that you include your keywords in the title/description, and tag your submissions properly. Above all, make sure that you submit it in the correct sub-Reddit.
However since Reddit is a social community, it is important to participate instead of only using Reddit to promote your content. Be social, post comments on other people’s stories and instead of ONLY sharing your own content, share other interesting stuff from the internet. All your information (including your submissions, and how sociable you are) is public, so make sure you don’t come across as a spammer!
Needless to say, Reddit has a LOT of potential, in terms of traffic and exposure.
Other social bookmarking resources worth checking out would be Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious.