12 Ways to Get FREE Traffic to Your Site
I love free traffic. Here are 12 ways to get free traffic to your site:
1. Joint Ventures
2. Write Ezine Articles
3. RSS (Real Simply Syndication)
4. Free Directory Listings
5. Search Engine & Crawler Listings
6. Group and Forum Postings
7. Reciprocal Linking
8. FFA’s (Free-for-all Link Pages)
9. Banner Exchanges
10. Use an Email Signature
11. Start or Homepage Networks
12. Refer-a-Friend Scripts
Let’s look at each of these methods in greater detail.
1. Joint Ventures – To get the word out about the Super Affiliate Handbook when it was released, the first person I contacted was Allan Gardyne of AssociatePrograms.com. I knew he had a huge list of newsletter subscribers interested in affiliate marketing.
After reading the Handbook, Allan signed up as my affiliate, sent his ezine subscribers a review of the book, and also posted an endorsement on his homepage. Now every time my book is purchased through his links, we split the revenue 50/50.
That’s a joint venture. I asked, he agreed, and we jointly share the benefit of our venture. My joint venture partners (affiliates) sell far more books than I do on my own… which is the second benefit. These joint venture partners reach out to others who are interested in affiliate marketing, who in turn become partners and affiliates who sell more books, and reach more potential partners, and so on.
The whole process becomes ‘viral’.
On the other side of the coin, I now get more than 100 joint venture requests each and every month. So many in fact, that I barely have the time to respond to them all, let alone investigate and act on those in which I am interested.
Realizing this as an overwhelming problem faced by Internet marketers everywhere, Ken McArthur and Sid Hale came out with an excellent solution called jvAlert. Imagine working directly with Jim Daniels, Yanik Silver, Marty Foley, Neil Shearing, Phil Wiley, Peter Twist, Charlie Page, Joe Kumar or Lee Benson on YOUR projects!
The quality of this group is what makes it so special, so members are only allowed in by invitation from another member. After being invited by Gary Knuckles, I signed up in a heartbeat. Within a few days of joining, Peter Twist contacted me to ask for an interview on his online radio show. Wow! Peter Twist wouldn’t have known me from Eve before I joined jvAlert. What a huge opportunity to promote my sites!.
As an owner of the Super Affiliate Handbook, and therefore someone who is serious about making a living from the Internet, I’d like to invite you to join jvAlert. After seeing how easy and effective this system is, I think you’ll agree – jvAlert is the best way to do JV’s. Visit JV Alert and take the free ecourse through the following links.
2. Write Ezine Articles – A single ezine ad can cost anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.
However, ezine article submissions are free. In fact, it actually pays you to write and submit articles to other webmasters’ ezines!
Writing a short “how-to” article on a topic relevant to your Web site theme is no more difficult than writing a letter, or talking to a friend. Add your byline at the end of each article, along with your personal bio and your site’s URL.
Furthermore, the author’s resource box, in which your byline is placed, is usually the size of a typical ezine advertisement. Better yet, your article is ten times that size. So, you’ve saved advertising dollars and earned ten times the coverage. That’s great value for an investment that only cost an hour or two of your time.
Depending on the subscriber base of the ezine that uses your article, the potential for new visitors to your site could be enormous.
For example, Allan Gardyne published my article ’10 Ways to Gain Visitor Trust and Increase Your Conversion Rates’ in his Associate Programs Newsletter. Traffic to my site doubled for the next week, and because Allan archives the newsletters on his site, that article is STILL sending me traffic!
Onsite archiving has an additional benefit. Your link popularity increases as links to your site appear on more and more pages. With the increased exposure and link popularity, your name becomes better known and your credibility as an expert in your field grows.
This effect becomes cumulative, as ‘experts’ are frequently interviewed for other publications, which increases their popularity further.
The goodwill that is built when you share your experience with others is more important than popularity in many ways. You will learn more about the topic you write about, and knowledge is power – earning power.
When your articles are published in relevant ezines, people who are interested in your subject matter will read them. With a skilled and informative approach, interested readers become interested visitors, who in turn become motivated purchasers, and then repeat buyers.
Not bad, all in all, for an hour or two of work and nothing out of pocket. It also beats waiting for search engines to spider your site.
Here is a short list of ezine article submission sites to get you started:
• Yahoo Groups http://groups.yahoo.com/group/article_announce http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free-content
• Idea Marketers http://www.ideamarketers.com
• Marketing Seek http://www.marketing-seek.com
3. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) – RSS, RSS, RSS… you hear the constant chant, but who really knows what the heck RSS means?
Although it originated in 1997, most folks still don’t know how RSS works, and want to know ‘What is RSS?‘ and ‘How will it help me?‘
So what is RSS? Basically, RSS is a very effective way to get traffic to your site. RSS stands for ‘Real Simple Syndication‘ and is a way for you to publish (or ‘feed’) ‘what’s new’ information about your site. A single item will typically include a headline, a snippet of content and a link to your site.
Using an RSS feed reader, anyone who has subscribed to your feed, will be notified when you publish new items to your feed.
There are many RSS feed readers, also known as ‘aggregators‘, to choose from. I
started off with ‘FeedReader’, which is a freeware application for Windows. Get it at:
After trying out a few other readers, I settled on ‘FeedDemon‘ which was written by Nick Bradbury, the creator of TopStyle and HomeSite.
You can get FeedDemon which comes with a 20-day free-trial period at: FeedDemon.com
Here’s a good list of the readers available:
RSS is published in XML format. All that means is that the extension used is ‘.xml’, without the quotes. So, for example, my feed is located at: http://NetProfitsToday.com/rss.xml
If you go to that page, without using a reader, you’ll see mostly gobbledy-gook. Look closer and you’ll see that the coding starts to make some sense.
Here’s an example of how a single news ‘item’ appears on an XML page:
<title>How to Lose 14,000+ List Subscribers Overnight</title>
<description>Not only can you lose a guy in 10 days, you could lose
14,000+ of your subscribers OVERNIGHT. Learn how to avoid making this costly mistake.</description>
<category domain=””>List Building</category>
<pubDate>Thu, 16 Dec 2004 09:09:07 -0800</pubDate>
When you use a feed reader, such as those mentioned above, you’ll see the feed in its proper, easy-to-read format.
To create the XML page, I used ‘Feed for All‘, an RSS feed creation tool. The ‘Feed for All’ software also comes with a free trial and is available at: http://feedforall.com/
Here’s how the item above appears in an RSS reader.
Not only can you lose a guy in 10 days, you could lose 14,000+ of your subscribers OVERNIGHT. Learn how to avoid making this costly mistake.
The title, ‘How to Lose 14,000+ List Subscribers Overnight’ is linked tohttp://netprofitstoday.com/_npc/2004-12-14.html#mistake which readers can click to read the full article.
So far, so good, but how do you get your feed published so people can read it? There are a huge number of RSS directory sites. At the top of the heap in a Google search, I found Robin Good’s ‘RSSTop55 – Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites‘. See it at: http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/
So, in a nutshell, get a reader, and an RSS creation tool. Create your feed and submit it to the directories. Traffic to your sites will increase and so will your revenues. Real simple (syndication).
To come to my understanding of RSS as outlined above, I did a considerable amount of reading. Here are the 2 resources I found most useful:
Paul Short’s ebook is a comprehensive work on everything you wanted to know about RSS and blogging, and probably more. Get it at:
Although it won’t give you a ‘how-to-RSS’ explanation, I also found Dr. Mani’s 41 ideas on how to profit using RSS feeds quite valuable.
4. Free Directory Listings – Look for directories that include categories relevant to your site’s topic. Some may require a reciprocal link in exchange for your listing, while those that are still building their databases may list it for free. By all means, submit your site to the Open Directory Project, which bills itself as the largest ‘human-edited directory’ on the Web.
The other large Internet directories, Yahoo! and Looksmart, do not accept free listings in their commercial categories, so your affiliate site will not be eligible for a free listing at either.
• Open Directory Project
5. Search Engine & Crawler Listings – Search engine crawlers visit sites and automatically build listings, generally without the need to submit your site. To get picked up by the crawlers, you need to have good links pointing to your site. As mentioned earlier, the best link to get is a paid listing in the Yahoo! directory. Having that Yahoo! link, will almost guarantee you a visit from Google’s spider, and a free Google listing by result.
Getting found on the major engines is important. In order to do this, your pages must be optimized and submitted individually. Page optimization and submissions are dealt with in more detail in an earlier section.
In either case, you may want to visit the following sites to submit your pages, or to learn more about search engine listings.
6. Group and Forum Postings – Yahoo, Google, MSN and other major portal sites have discussion groups and clubs to which you can post messages.
I recommend taking time to research the groups you are interested in before posting. When you do post, make sure your message is not a blatant advertisement for your site.
Responding to another group member’s question with valuable information is the best way to gain respect and credibility in the groups. If members want to learn more about you and your business, let them find you through your signature line that links to your website.
A list of useful Internet and affiliate marketing forums is provided for you in the “Manage & Grow Your Business” section, later in the book.
7. Reciprocal Linking – Link trading, link exchange, or reciprocal linking is a web promotion strategy used by webmasters and site owners to increase “link popularity” as well as qualified traffic to their sites.
Page ranking in search engines is influenced by the link “popularity” of your site. The numbers of sites that link to yours, as well as the popularity of those sites determine link popularity. This is a relatively important factor as far as search engine placement is concerned.
You’ve probably seen sites with pages labeled ‘Links’. These webmasters have listed links to their link trade partners, and the other webmasters have done likewise on their sites.
Links ‘in’ to your page from another site should include your site’s name or primary keyword in the link, for better popularity.
Link popularity is improved when sites with a high page rank link to your site. A link from a site with a topic related to yours is more valuable than a link from an unrelated site. Your link popularity can actually be diminished if you trade links with sites that don’t complement yours, or that have low page ranks or poor traffic numbers.
Having extolled the virtues of link trading, I’m now going to tell you about the disadvantages, which I see as being greater than the advantages.
A ‘Links’ page is an invitation for your visitors to leave your site without buying. Basically you are asking your visitors to go and buy at your competitors’ sites.
Why would you want to do that? I’ve rarely participated in a link exchange that actually brought worthwhile traffic to my site. Here are a few link exchange programs of which you should be aware.
Before pay per click came on the scene, link trading and links directories were all the rage. I used to spend hours writing and sending emails to complementary sites asking for link trades. I got my site listed in numerous dating link directories in exchange for placing their graphic on my site. Some insisted that I place their graphic on my homepage.
Note: Please don’t mistake the links directories that are being discussed here for ‘real’ directories like the ODP, the Online Directory Project. The ODP doesn’t require a reciprocal link to get your site listed, whereas these ‘links’ sites are in the business of trading links.
You will still see many sites on which the bottom half of the page is a blinking mass (mess) of reciprocal links graphics to links directories. Tacky!.
Who benefits from these trades?.
It’s not the individual site owner, to be sure. Their site can’t be located amidst the thousands of other affiliate sites listed in the directory.
Generally, the directory owner is also an affiliate of all the same programs that you are, and you can be sure that their affiliate links are encoded in the banners at the top, middle and bottom of their pages. Let’s not forget the buttons on the side, or the ‘Superior’ listings on their site.
Some of these ‘link exchange’ directories have proven to be complete scams.
The worst of these in the Internet dating realm was a site called Cupidnet.com. They built a directory and got thousands of webmasters to link to their site in exchange for directory listings. At some point, and without informing any of their link trade partners, the site became an affiliate of American Singles, and the directory disappeared.
It really makes me wonder how many of those webmasters are STILL sending traffic to Cupidnet.com, thinking that they are getting traffic back from them in exchange.
Every link that leaves your site should generate revenue.
I can think of only a few circumstances when adding an unprofitable link to your site is warranted.
Here’s one example. When I started my Internet dating review site, Internet dating was in its infancy. People were afraid to try it, and horror stories about dates gone bad offline were freely bandied about. To counter the bad press, I directed my visitors to one of the first online sites specializing in background checks – Whoishe.com. They didn’t have an affiliate program, (and still don’t!) so I didn’t earn a commission for the referral if my visitors bought their product.
However, my rationale for putting up the ‘leaky’ link, was that if my visitors invested in a background check after coming to my site, they’d probably met someone through one of the dating services that I promote.
Basically, the only time you should put up a non-affiliate link, is if you consider the other site’s information absolutely integral to your own. But keep looking for affiliate program products to replace that ‘leaky’ link as soon as possible!
In a nutshell – Links ‘in’ are good. Unpaid links ‘out’ are bad.
New hope for link exchanging. Ken Evoy has a scam-free way to make link exchanges work without the hassle of putting hours of work into email requests. It’s called the “Value Exchange”.
You register your site as one that is willing to trade links with other relevant sites. The Value Exchange then searches for other registered sites that relate to yours.
Ken’s team keeps the “Exchange” free from low quality and questionable content Web sites.
Value Exchange is brand new, so the jury is still out on it’s effectiveness.
Because the search engines love links between related sites, let’s hope that Ken’s Value Exchange truly gives us value for a long time to come.
8. FFA’s (Free For All Link Pages) – In your quest for traffic, you’ll probably come across FFA, or Free For All, sites as well. They look OH so promising – ‘Submit your URL to have your site appear on THOUSANDS of pages across our Network”.
Webmasters list their URL’s on the FFA page in hopes of generating traffic to their site. However, when you post to an FFA site, you get one line or a couple hundred characters to describe your site. Chances are good that your link will never be seen.
Don’t get sucked in.
FFA’s are nothing more than rotating lists of links.
Each and every time a site is submitted, the FFA site owner sends a confirmation email to the contact address provided by the listing webmaster.
THAT is the real purpose of the FFA site. The FFA owner collects email addresses so he can send out his advertising message. He already knows that you, the listing webmaster, are interested in getting traffic to your web site, so he targets his message in that direction.
In most cases, he’ll offer to sell you a service that promises to submit your site to THOUSANDS of FFA posting sites and search engines… and all for the low, low price of $59. Wow! In return, you’ll receive THOUSANDS more confirmation emails from all those other FFA site owners.
Talk about being sucked into a vortex.
Go ahead; give it a try, if you still want to. Just be sure you don’t use your best email address. Here’s a warning to that effect that I found posted on an FFA site. That should tell you something.
Warning! Do NOT use your primary email address for this posting – you will receive many confirmation emails, and be added to many email lists (you will be posting to the entire network!). We suggest using a “backup” email address, or a spare free email address for posting, so you won’t affect your daily email use.
For an example of an FFA site, visit the link below. If you can decipher any of the listing titles despite that horrible font, my hat is off to you.
9. Banner Exchanges – As the name implies a banner exchange allows you to display your advertising banners on member Web sites in exchange for allowing them to display their banner on your Web site.
But there’s a catch. You must display two banners on your site so just one of your banners will be displayed on another member’s Web site.
Hmm… what happens to the other fifty percent? Those would be used by the banner exchange service to display their own advertising.
There are 5 big drawbacks to the banner exchange scheme for traffic generation.
• Banner exchanges don’t generate significant traffic.
• You have no control over the appearance of the other members’ banners.
• You end up with unrelated material appearing on your site.
• Banners suck up good bandwidth and slow your pages down.
• Banners rarely get clicked on and their conversion rates are terrible. My advice – don’t waste your valuable time and effort using banner exchanges.
10. Use an Email Signature – Cheap but effective, an email signature line gets your message out every time you send an email.
My Sage-Hearts.com signature looks like this:
Rosalind Gardner – Sage-Hearts.com
Online Dating for Savvy Singles
How to create a signature file in Microsoft Outlook:
1. Open Outlook.
2. Under the “Tools” menu, click on “Options.”
3. Click the “Mail Format” tab.
4. Click “Signature Picker” at the bottom of the screen.
5. Choose “New” and follow the prompts to name your signature file.
6. Once you make the new signature file the default, it will be inserted automatically at the end of every email you send, thus generating referral fees without any further work on your part.
How to create a signature file in Eudora:
1. Open Eudora.
2. Under “Tools”, click on “Signatures”. This will open the Signatures box on the left side of your screen.
3. Right-click in the box, and select “New”.
4. A box pops open titled ‘Create New Signature’ and prompts you to “Enter Signature Name” in the form. Choose a name for your new signature, and then click ‘OK’.
5. A blank page opens. Type your promotional message and URL in this space.
You have the option to be creative with font colors, sizes and types. When finished, click “File”, and then “Save” to save your new signature.
6. To set your new signature as the default signature, choose “Options” under the “Tools” menu, then “Composing Mail”. In the drop down box beside “Signature:” pick the name you chose for your new signature.
That’s it! Now every time you send out an email, your URL and promotional message will be included.
11. Start or HomePage Traffic Networks – If every hit counts, then you might want to consider start page networks as a way to get free traffic to your site. Here’s a quick run down of how these products work:
Sign-up and enter some basic information about the page that you want to promote. Set the Traffic Swarm code as your home page. Earn hits when you open your browser. Earn more hits when your friends sign up and open their browsers.
The more hits you have, the more times your site will show up on other members’ browsers. Your links are then displayed all over the network – consisting of 1000s of other webmasters and 1000s of other sites like yours – and with Traffic Swarm, your site is also automatically included in the TrafficSwarm Search Engine.
Specifically, your links are displayed when other network users open their web browser, and when visitors leave THEIR website(s) via an exit “pop-under” window.
Sign up for an account at Traffic Swarm.
12. Refer-a-Friend Scripts – You’ve probably seen these. You enter both your name and email address, as well as those of a number of your friends. Push the ‘SUBMIT’ button and a message gets sent to all of those friends telling them what a great site you just found.
How effective are these scripts? All in all, probably not worth the time it takes to put up on your site.
I had one on one of my sites, and over a period of 4 months, only 2 folks used the form. I like to believe it’s because they were too busy enjoying the site otherwise.