Fuel of Online Business – Traffic

traffic generation

Introduction

Some people tell you to be patient when it comes to building your business online. Sure, patience is a virtue and it has its place. But I think patience is overrated.

Nope. I think if you want to see your business thrive, why not jam your foot on the accelerator and see how fast you can reach your goal?

Of course, you need fuel to get wherever you’re going, right?

Well in internet business your fuel is your website visitors, aka your “traffic.”

The more people you have visiting your website, the faster you’re going to real-your goals. The faster you’re going to be profitable and successful.

Of course, you don’t want any old traffic. You want Qualified Traffic. You want people who are actually interested in your information, products, or services.

Or, to continue with our metaphor, you have to make sure you have the right fuel. You don’t want the low-grade fuel in your car- you want the premium-ultra fuel.

Website traffic is critical to your success. If you don’t have visitors you don’t have a business.

Sounds harsh, but it’s like opening a restaurant and never having customers. Your business won’t last long.

Mechanics – 7 Ways To Generate Traffic

Traffic Tactic #1: Content

Content will likely be the foundation for your business.

It doesn’t matter what business model you use, content markets your business; it provides value and credibility and it drives traffic to your website.

For the most part, content is an important aspect of most traffic generation methods.

Whether you’re talking about blogging, linking, social networking, or article marketing, all of which we will address in just a second, content is the foundation of that tactic.

This is because that’s how the internet works.

It’s a source of content and as a website owner and business owner, the best way for people to find your website is for you to provide content.

Anytime someone gets online, they’re generally seeking content. They want information. They want to learn, they want to improve, and they want to be entertained. 

It’s important to know that content doesn’t have to be just print material. It can also be audio or video content.

It’s also critical to know that content is directly related to the amount of traffic you get on your website because, among other things, search engines base their results on the content you have on your website. 

Let’s take a look at the two basic ingredients of content as it relates to generating traffic.

SEO – Keywords

The first and perhaps the most important way content drives traffic is that it helps your website show up on the search engines.

When people talk about Search Engine Optimization or SEO, they usually start with content.

This is because in order to show up on the search engines results, when your prospects search for your information, the search engines need something to search or compare.

They look at and “index” your web pages – your content.

For example, if your webpage is about sports supplements, then your page and website will be compared to other websites with the same type of information and keywords.

By providing a wealth of content on your website about your niche topics, you’re essentially giving the search engines more of a reason to list your website higher in the results.

And when people search for your information, they’ll see your website, click through and voila – you have qualified traffic.

Links

Search engines also take a look at the links you have coming into your website and to specific web pages.

The more quality and relevant incoming links you have, the better your search engine ranking will be.

This also means you can drive traffic to key web pages, like a sales page, or you can focus on driving traffic to your website as a whole. (You can also create a combined strategy depending on your goals, which we’ll talk about in the next chapter.)

It’s important to know that content for the sake of content will only get you so far.

Quality content is really what you’re striving for.

Content that is well-written, entertaining and informative not only brings website visitors back for more, it motivates people to link to it.

They’ll link to your website content from their blogs, from their newsletters and websites and they’ll link to your content in their social networking posts. 

This all drives a tremendous amount of traffic to your website!

Making Content Work For You – Key Ingredients For Success

Creating content that appeals both to your human prospects and the search engines is a delicate balance.

You want to fit keywords into the content so that the search engines recognize it.

You also want the content to sound and read naturally. (I’m sure you have read content online that’s been jam packed with keywords. It’s awful, right?) 

The most common practice is to create your content with the keywords in mind but not to position them anywhere initially.

Just write your content and then you can go back and place your keywords where they naturally fit.

It’s best to try to get the keywords in your headline and first and last paragraph because that is one of the first places the search engines look.

They also look at your sub-headings and in the body of your content.

The remainder of your content should contain keywords and words related to your keywords but should not sound forced or unnatural. 

For example, if you’re writing an article on benefits of omega three fatty acids you might use the words “fatty acids” “Omega 3”, “omega three”, “omega fatty acids” and so on. 

You vary the words so it sounds natural.

The goal when writing content is to write naturally and then go back and insert your keywords where they fit.

When using audio and video content, tag your content for the search engines and your keywords.

If you’re using a host like YouTube or iTunes make sure to also properly categorize your content.

This will help with search engine optimization. On your website you can also optimize audio and video posts by creating a description and a title for the content.

Search engines will recognize and index this content.

And don’t forget the growing trend of user-generated content.

We’ll get to that a bit more in blogging but there are many ways to have your website visitors help you create content.

Traffic Tactic #2: Article Marketing

Article marketing works much like content marketing, only instead of publishing content on your website, you’re publishing the content on other websites – namely article directories like ezinearticles.com.

When you write and publish an article on an article marketing directory you’re actually accomplishing several things at once.

Most importantly, you’re driving traffic to your website.

This is because not only will your article be available on the article directory for search engines to find and people to read, other website owners with similar business topics can and will publish your article on their websites, which creates incoming links to your website.

When your content is published on other websites you’re also broadening your exposure.

You’re reaching a new audience who will read your article and click through to your website.

Note: When you publish on article directories and other websites it’s important to have an author’s bio box.

This is generally published at the end of your article and includes a link to your website.

So, article marketing enables you to drive traffic in two very important ways.

It creates links to your website, which in turn improves your SEO ranking and thus you receive more traffic from basic search engine searches.

It also improves your traffic because more people are coming across your content and clicking through to your website – you’re reaching more people.

For the most part, article marketing is free. This is definitely the case if you write your own articles and use free article directories. 

You can also outsource your content and/or utilize PLR to help you manage your content creation needs.

Article marketing also helps boost your credibility as an expert in your industry or niche topic.

It’s important to know that article marketing isn’t just for article directories. You can partner with other business owners and publish articles on their websites.

For example, if you own a home organization business you can publish content on websites that sell home organization and storage supplies.

You can also offer your content for reprint.

And you can write articles for print publications.  Always, remember to include a link back to your website.

All of this helps build awareness of your business and generates traffic.

Tips and Article Marketing Keys to Success

The key to making the most of this traffic generation tactic is to create great content.

Great content is easy to read, it provides a benefit, and it motivates your reader to visit your web site for more information.

There are a few key strategies to accomplishing this tactic well:

  • Make sure your article has an attention-grabbing headline. People won’t read it if the headline doesn’t capture their interest.
  • Use headings and sub-headings, bullets and formatting to make your article easy to read.
  • Focus on offering quality information. Solve your prospects’ problems and answer their most pressing questions.
  • Always include a link to your website.
  • When possible, include a call to action.
  • Optimize your content for the search engines by placing keywords in strategic places. And when using an article directory, be sure to choose the appropriate category(s) and tags when publishing your article.

Traffic Tactic #3: Link Building

Link building is the practice of generating incoming links to your website. We’ve already talked about how links come to your site when you create compelling content.

We also talked about how they’re created when you publish content on other websites and include a link back to your own site.

Linking is the second way Search Engines value a website after content.

The quality, quantity, and relevance of incoming links, however, make a real difference in the effect they have on your site. 

For example, if you have a website about sports medicine and you have a blog about dog training linking to your website, that isn’t going to have as much weight or value to a search engine as having a link come from a website or blog about sports nutrition or sports injuries.

Search engines value your incoming links based on the websites they come from.

If they come from a website that’s completely unrelated to your topic or a website that has a bad reputation, then the link won’t have value to you.

It can actually detract from your page ranking.

How To Make Link Building Work For You – Key Strategies for Success

There are several ways you can create incoming links. We’ve already discussed two of the most powerful – write great content and publish content on external websites.

Writing great content is the best way to generate links and blogging is a really easy way to gain attention for your content. We’ll talk about blogging in just a bit.

You can also publish articles, reports, eBooks, videos, case studies and white papers on your website to motivate linking.

Note: You can also help improve the search engine ranking for specific pages on your site by linking to them from your other website pages.

These are called internal links and they help point search engines to key pages on your website.

Write press releases. Press releases are a wonderful way to generate incoming links from valuable and relevant websites.

Publish them on your website and submit them to online press release websites. They create incoming links and generate media attention.

List your business in online directories. Directories create quality and relevant links to your website. Check out:

DMOZ, Google, and Yahoo are both great business directories to register with. They create incoming links from extremely reputable sources. Listings are free.

For a huge list of directories, go to this site that breaks things down by paid, free, niche, and reciprocal links directories:  visit – http://www.directorylist.org.

Research your competition. Find out who is linking to your competition.

There are tools available online that can help you determine how many incoming links you have, and who they’re from.

You can also use some of these tools to find out who is linking to your competition. 

Connect with the people that are linking to your competition and build relationships and partnerships.

Finally, partner with other business owners in your industry to link to each other, article swap, or to exchange advertisements.

Partnering with others is a great way to get exposure and increase your SEO and traffic for next to nothing.

Traffic Tactic #4: Social Networking

Social networking has become a powerful traffic generation tool. It includes interacting on social sites like Twitter and Facebook.

It also includes interacting on blogs, forums and chat rooms or membership sites. Any time you are interacting with other people online, it’s social networking.

Social networking:

  • Creates awareness of your business (By interacting online, people are curious about who you are and will visit your website)
  • Drives traffic (Linking to your website in posts, having the posts “retweeted”, liked or reposted also helps drive traffic)
  • Strengthens your brand and “Liking”. People get to know who you are and what you’re about. This drives traffic and repeat visits to your site (not to mention purchases and profits).

The amazing thing about social networking is the tremendous reach.

One post can reach thousands of people. Include a link in that post and you suddenly have tons of new website traffic.

To motivate linking to your site and thus visits to your site, the key is to provide compelling and valuable content. (See a theme here?)

Making Social Networking Work For You – Key Strategies For Success

The first step to making social networking work for you is to focus on one or two social sites.

There are too many and if you try to work all of them you’ll end up really exhausted and likely not having any real impact. So focus on one or two to begin.

Choose the sites that appeal to your target audience and that appeal to your communication style.

Create a profile that represents your brand and interact.  This is key. If you’re not interacting and building connections, the tactic just isn’t going to work.

Social networking isn’t about posting link after link to your website. It’s about building relationships. 

Trust me, build good relationships via networking sites and they’ll be linking to you – this is the kind of impact you want to make.

Now that’s not to say that you can’t link to your site.

Interact on networking sites and occasionally link to your site and newly published content, just don’t make it your primary focus.

You can also motivate linking by using social networking badges on your web pages.

For example, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Del.ic.ious and StumbleUpon offer buttons or badges, which you can put on your web pages.

When people like your content they can “tweet this” or “Digg” that. It’s incredibly effective for generating traffic and links.

Outside of the social networking sites, when you post in a forum or leave a comment on a blog you’re often able to create a profile or link to your URL before you comment.

Simply by commenting you’re creating a link to your website.

And when other people comment, many of them will click on other commenters and visit their websites.

By commenting on blog posts and interacting on forums you’ll create awareness and generate traffic.

Traffic Tactic #5: Blogging

You’re probably already really familiar with blogs and blogging.  Perhaps you read them, have one of your own or are an active participant in the blogging community.

If so, you have a head start on this traffic generation tool.

While blogs have been primarily print content in the past, like other forms of content, audio and video are really making an impact.

So you don’t have to be a ‘writer’ to have a blog and benefit from this tactic.

Blogging works because it is naturally search engine friendly. Each new blog post you publish is crawled and indexed by the search engines.

So it makes sense that the more often you post, the more effective this strategy will be.

Frequent posting increases your search engine page ranking, which increases your traffic.

Making Blogging Work For You – Key Strategies For Success

Blogging is a more personal form of content than a standard article published on your website or an article directory.

This creates an opportunity to build a community; to invite comments and discussion, to learn about your audience and prospects and to drive traffic to your website. 

Your blog can be positioned as a community-building tool. People visit your blog, learn about you and your business, and then click through to visit your website. 

Many large and small companies use blogs to accomplish several business building goals, including traffic generation.

And you can and should link from your blog to your website.

This will motivate people to click through and visit your website sales pages, opt-in pages and other pages that you want to have high traffic results.

This linking can be accomplished by simply embedding links to your website where it feels natural and appropriate to do so and by having a static website link on your blog.

For example, below is the MemberSpeed.com blog with a link to the website.

Of course, you can always include a call to action at the end of your post.

And with video you can embed links as well.

How To Make Blogging Work For You – Key Strategies For Success

Blog posts are just like other content. It needs to offer value to your audience. Value can be in the form of information or entertainment or a combination of both. 

Utilize the same keyword optimization and formatting rules you would for other content. 

In addition to your standard headline, content and SEO rules to help your blog drive traffic to your website, take advantage of the many technologies developed specifically for blogs.

These include widgets and plug-ins.

WordPress specifically offers a number of plug-ins to optimize your blog posts automatically.

Other blogging platforms, like Blogger and TypePad, also have SEO tools and features you can use to optimize your blog.

Additionally, there are social networking plug-ins that make it easy for your blog visitors to “Tweet” this, “Stumble” that, “Digg” or post on Facebook.

Integrating your traffic tactics will help you use them to their full potential.

Encourage commenting and discussion.  Active blogs are well read blogs. To encourage participation and comments, ask questions.

Controversial posts also encourage commenting, however you’ll want to tread lightly here so you don’t offend your readers.

Make sure readers can subscribe to your content. One of the benefits of a blog is the fact that readers can subscribe to your blog via RSS technology.

This means each time you publish a new post it can be emailed or will show up on their readers. (A reader is a tool used to aggregate all the content/blog posts you want to read and stay on top of.)

Post regularly. If you do not have the time to post on a regular basis, consider hiring a writer or adding guest bloggers to your blog so you don’t have to do it all alone.

Traffic Tool #6: Advertising

Well placed advertisements can drive targeted traffic directly to your website or to any specific web page you want.

For example, if you’re promoting a new product, you can create ads to drive traffic directly to that sales page.

OR if you’re looking to grow your email list, you can create ads to drive traffic right to your squeeze page.

There are many different types of advertisements. They include:

PPC Type Ads

PPC stands for Pay per click. There are also pay per view or PPV and other types of pay per advertisement programs.

Google, Yahoo and other services offer PPC type programs.

It’s important to know that this is not a free traffic generation tool.

It can actually get quite expensive and is therefore often recommended as a tactic to save for when your business has grown a bit and is generating a profit.

You can turn some of that profit back into your marketing and traffic generation budget.

We’ll take a look at several tactics that are free and are better suited to new business owners.

PPC campaigns can also be tricky when it comes to driving targeted traffic.

In order to make your PPC ad campaigns generate targeted traffic, you have to study your prospects and design keyword specific ads that send traffic to a web page related to the ad.

Classified Advertisements

Classified advertisements are just what they sound like. You can use sites like Craigslist and classified ad sites to drive traffic to your business.

Many of these classified advertisement sites are 100% free.

Use the same advice and strategy as with PPC ads above.

Banner Ads

This type of advertising works by purchasing space on a relevant website.

For example, if you have a website that sells running shoes, you might advertise on a personal training website or a fitness website.

The biggest hurdle with banner ads, besides making them generate the results you want them to, is that they can be quite expensive.

And many free tactics can have better results. So let’s put this tactic aside and look at some free and low cost web traffic tactics.

Traffic Tactic # 7: Local Search

Earlier we discussed the advantage of registering your business with search engine business listings and organizations like DMOZ. 

You can also register your business with Local search and business directories.  Google has a local business directory called Google Places. Yahoo does, too.

And there are rumors that Facebook may be adding a local directory type feature to their website.

It is estimated that more than 70% of internet users utilize local search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN before they make a purchase or hire a service provider. 

And this is growing because of the convenience and popularity of mobile devices – we’re searching online using our phones.

And while this may not apply to all business models, local search applies to many information, product and service based online business models.

The benefit of using local search to drive traffic is that it’s really easy to reach #1 in the page rankings for your website when you embrace local search.

This means more website traffic. Best of all, it’s free!

Optimizing your site for the local search engines and registering with the services is easy, and it can give you an edge over your competition because it’s something many businesses neglect.

How To Make Local Search Work For You – Key Strategies for Success

The first step is to get listed with the local search engines.  Visit the sites below and register your business.  It’s free. 

Make sure you use the same information with each site and that the information you register your business with is also listed on every page of your website as copy and not part of a graphic – search engines don’t read graphics.

Additionally, services like Google Places offers analytic and traffic generation tools and features.

Some of these cost a fee but they may be worth it depending on your business model and target audience.

You can always register your business for free now and use the traffic generation features later, once you’ve reached your initial traffic goals.

But What About Your Email List?

Shouldn’t you be directing those subscribers to your website too?

Of course you should!

Each message you send to your email list should have a link to your website, even if you’re not promoting a darned thing and are only providing relevant and useful information.

Always link back to your website. Why? Because people share email messages. They forward them to a friend!

And because your email message may strike a chord with your reader who suddenly wants to learn more, get involved and maybe even make a purchase from you. 

Your email list is a valuable traffic-building tool; so don’t neglect it. Work that list to its fullest potential.

Conclusion

We’ve just covered a number of basic traffic generation tactics.

There are more tactics that we haven’t covered like viral marketing, contests and sweepstakes and, of course, special promotions. 

As your business grows, you can take a look at some of these tactics.

However, in the beginning it’s important to stick with the proven tactics and the ones we’ve covered are definitely proven traffic generation tactics. 

If you already have a website and have some traffic coming to it, then it may be easier for you to create traffic goals because you have a starting point.

If you are in the beginning phases of launching a website, creating traffic goals may take some time.

You may want to research your competition and create smaller goals that help you reach a long-term goal of beating your competition’s traffic.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

It’s important, in the beginning, to focus on one or two primary traffic generation tactics. 

Focused attention means you’ll be able to put 100% of yourself into each tactic and maximize it.

If you try to manage too many traffic generation tactics, your attention may be too divided and each tactic won’t achieve its full potential.

On that note, it’s time for your first action step.

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Video Teasers for Traffic

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