When you first planned out your website or blog you thought to yourself, "WOW! This is a great idea, people will love it". After a couple weeks or months of launch your still looking at your analytic wondering why you're hovering so low in traffic. Well, here's the thing, you haven't gained momentum yet. I'll give you a general outlook of how to produce traffic for free and keep it high.
The concept is very simple, its all in how you manage your website/blog. What is your goal? It doesn't matter if its to share opinions or generate revenue, the thing you need most to keep your site live and you motivated to provide content is traffic. So, manage your site like a business. There are three main elements you should be looking at – the attraction, the product, and the return.
Part One: The Attraction
Assuming you have completed constructing your website and have made it beautiful. The key is to attract people to your site with the right message. There are many ways to promote the message of your site, of course there are the paid methods such as internet advertisements and sponsoring other sites, but these could sum up to be hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Since you're reading this article I assume you're looking for the cheaper way out. So here it is, I have to warn you though its quite time consuming, there are many ways to get your message out there. Here are some that I believe to be the most effective.
Commenting on Blogs
Commenting on blogs in the same niche as your own is very important for a few particular reason. One of course is to gain so backlinks to your own site. Another reason is that it allows you to create your personality on other sites, where readers are looking for articles like your own. If they like your tasteful comments and inputs they're more than likely to read your articles that you provide. For example, if you have a website that sells fashionable clothes, commenting on fashion sites would be helpful.
Posting in Related Forums
Forums is a great place to find users for your website, because forum users are mainly active internet users that likes interactive contents. Find forums that relate to what your website is about and be active on those forums. Now I'm not saying start 20 threads with your website as the topic and hope to gain awareness, the only thing you'll gain from that is a permanent banning. Interact with users, and post good replies. If the admins permit, have your website linked in your signature.
Submitting your site to online directories can be a waste of time if you don't plan it out strategically. I know some people who spends weeks submitting to 1000+ directories which maybe as effective as somebody who submits to 100 effective directories. Find ones directories that are reputable and have categories related to your website. Not all directories are free so watch out. If you own a blog, I've compiled a list of great blog directories here for you to start with.
Now a days if you tell your friends and family about your website they may not remember your name and they may not visit even if they do. By sharing your site and what you have to offer over social networking sites, you can reach more people and since the message is digital they may pass it forward for you. Don't be shy about passing the word forward, you may know people who know others that are into what you have to offer.
If you own a blog and you write your own content. Another option for you is to submit your wonderful articles to article directories. They usually have a wide range of readers already and they sometimes provide links back to your site. Do not submit every single article though, just a few good ones now and then to tease the readers. If they like what you write they'll visit your blog and be suprised by how many more great articles you have. Just like movie trailers, usually they don't give out the whole plot to temp you to watch the movie (but there are some that gives it all away).
Part Two: The Product
Now that you have people coming to your site you have to worry about the second thing, the product. It doesn't matter if you attracted 10 billion people coming to your site, if you don't have a good product to offer they won't stay. The first impression is very important, keep your landing page attractive and your intentions clear. When a user first opens your site, what do you want them to see? What do you want them to know? Build a good landing page with the message of what you have to offer, people will stay and look around.
The one thing that most web owners will keep saying is that "content is king", and I truly believe in this. Having good content will keep users on your site longer. The longer a user is on your site, the more likely they'll remember you. What does having good content mean? It means that the content is relevant to what your target market wants to read, hear or know. It also means that your content is consistent with the message you promoted in part one. So in part one your promoting good fashion tips and trendy seasonal advice, but your website only sells clothes then you have not provided good content. Now if you were doing the same promotion, but you sell clothes categories and sorted for seasons and with fashion tips then you're being consistent.
Part Three: The Return
The last aspect you need to take a look at when managing your website/blog is the return. You have incoming traffic, and you have people looking at your site, what you should really think of is if they'll return again. You can't rely on new traffic all the time because it takes a lot less work to retain a current user than it is to gain a new user. If I recall correctly is cost 50% less to retain a customer than to gain a new one.
Having a simple to use commenting system allows users to interact with your site, yourself and other users. Users now a days love interactions and will visit more often if they are permitted to participate. When I say simple commenting system, it means minimal information required and possibly no membership either.
Promote what you'll be offering next, so users will mark a time in their head of when to visit back. Some people may visit you once a month but if you keep promoting something good weekly or daily they maybe visiting you more often than they know.
Allow social bookmarking where available or fits. This allows users to mark it in their favourites in which is a list of sites that they'll visit often.
If you offer great content and great deals, offer a newsletter sign up. Its a good way to constantly promote your site to current users and have them coming back often. Newsletter is not easy to manage and maintain so ensure you have the right skills and tools before advancing in this area.
So there you have it, a few tips to increase your traffic all for free. Now there is one aspect I didn't mention even once which is search engine optimization (SEO), because I think SEO is too important to be undermined or overlooked. I'll have another article on that in the future.