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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Introduction to Free Traffic

There are an enormous number of ways that you can make money online. Whether you are selling advertising space, selling actual merchandise, or selling information, you determine your success or failure by your ability to get people to visit your site.

If you started a business and put all of your advertising on the side of dirt road with minimal traffic, then you probably won’t see any fruit produced by that effort. In the same way, you want your store to be located in a busy part of town where casual shoppers linger. Your best business may come from people who just dropped in while window-shopping.

The key to succeeding in any internet related business is traffic. You must find ways to lead potential customers to your front page. If you think you can rely solely on the search engines to put you at the top of their lists, then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Search engines use a complicated formula when deciding which pages show up first.

Unless yours is the only business of your kind in the world that has a web site, you probably won’t get to the top of the list. If for some reason you do, then you probably won’t stay there for very long. Corporations buy the rights to search phrases and generally pay big money for the opportunity to be highlighted at the top of the list.

One interesting point to keep in mind is that, the more traffic you have at your site, the more likely you are to slide up in the search engine results. The question then, is how do you get that initial flow of customers, clients, or readers to make your website a place that they regularly visit?

This is the core question of this book and you’ll get plenty of answers to this question during the rest of the book.

For example, as a basic rule, as you plan and design your website, you should be looking at other sites that are in the same genre as yours. Maybe they offer similar or complimentary services. Maybe they provide information about the same topic. Try to build relationships with the operators of these sites. Leave comments on their blogs and participate in forum discussions, leaving a link to your own page in your signature.

You may want to consider adding a blog to your website. Create an RSS feed that notifies subscribers whenever you have updated information. Be diligent about keeping the content on your page fresh and you will find that you begin to get repeat traffic. Others will begin to link to you from their own pages and list you as a valuable source of current information. Just as in any traditional business format, building relationships and networking will be vital pieces of your success.

The important thing, as you are beginning, is that you have a strong understanding of the fact that it takes some work. The traffic flow at your website won’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning and sharp execution to make that hit number go up. In this book, we are going to show you how.

Introduction to Free Traffic

Free Traffic vs. Paid Traffic

Due to the rapid usage of the Internet becoming a norm throughout the globe, various groups of people are now able to market their products and services by setting up a website. However, the best-designed web site will not produce income unless there is traffic directed to it.

There are a couple of options to obtain website traffic. One is through free traffic and the other one is through paid traffic. Let’s examine the differences between the two. You can then decide whether the former or the latter is a suitable choice for your website.

Free traffic, as the name suggests, implies that you traffic to your website free of charge. The most common method of obtaining this involves using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. When you optimize your website, search engines view your site as being useful and relevant. This in turn, leads to increase in rankings for your keywords.

SEO methods are great for obtaining free traffic in the long term but it might take as long as six months to a year to see full results. Alternatively, you can use strategically written articles and get them published at article directory sites that have high volumes of traffic. This works to bring in organic search engine traffic within a week.

However, as your article moves out of the main pages of the article directories, your traffic is likely to taper off in two to three weeks. Writing and publishing articles once a week should keep free traffic to your site from dropping off. Free traffic can also be obtained through various traffic exchanges. Traffic exchanges can quickly bring in a lot of traffic but will most likely be untargeted.

The other option of getting visitors to your website involves paid traffic. If you need immediate traffic to your website and have some money to spend, paid traffic is a very good option. However, careful planning is required to ensure the greatest return on your investment.

The most common and immediate method of obtaining paid traffic is through pay-per-click listings with all the major search engines like Yahoo, Google, Miva etc. Depending on the amount you are willing to spend as well as your target keywords, pay-per-click traffic can bring in some of the best results due to precise targeting of visitors to your site. The advantage of paid traffic is that you are not affected by search engine algorithm changes and as long as you have money to spend, you will gain traffic to your website.

The best thing to do would be to use a combination of both paid and free traffic. Optimize your website to bring you traffic over the long term and to position your website really well in the search engines. For the short term, get your traffic through a combination of paid searches and article marketing. In time, you will be able to obtain almost all of your traffic for free and you can slowly phase out of your paid traffic options if you so choose.

However, the aim of this book is to teach you how to get free traffic to your website. If you have a limited budget, targeted free traffic will be the only option for you and that is not a bad thing if you have a good roadmap. This book will be your roadmap when it comes to free traffic generation because it blends time-tested techniques with the hottest techniques of 2007.

Free Traffic vs. Paid Traffic

Traffic Campaigns

In today’s information economy, it can be said the person with the most information wins. The same would hold true if you want a successful website; you must have information to analyze if the things you’re doing to promote it are effective. But what are the types of website analysis systems are available to you, and which of them will best suit youy needs?

Is there an analysis technique that is more accurate than others in helping you decide which promotions are actually getting results? Should you use your web host’s default statistics program, or are there other services you should consider? This chapter will give a brief overview of web analytics and their uses in the measurement of your website elements’ contribution to your business objectives.

There are basically two types of website analysis in wide use today, log file analysis and page tagging. Log file analysis reads the logs a server records on every transaction, but this might be inaccurate due to the widespread use of page caching.

The desire to outsource web analytics and expand the available data has led to page tagging, which basically uses a JavaScript (PHP or ASP in some cases) to count the number of times an image (which may be invisible) is served to a visitor. This JavaScript can also pass along information about a particular page and the visitor.

Many web hosts offer a default statistics program to provide you with basic information. Awstats and Webalizer are most likely the most popular stats engines available today. Keep in mind your web host may update different types of information at different times, so if you want a complete picture of what has been happening at your site you may need to wait for information which is a few days old.

A recent trend has seen a move away from these systems in favor of the more detailed information available through Google Analytics. Google Analytics is located at and as you have probably guessed, is operated by Google. This system offers a wide array of analysis tools, including reports for Marketing Optimization and Content Optimization. Would you like information to help you understand how your marketing efforts are working, and where there might be a link in your funnel? It’s all there, and it’s all free.

With any of these services, you will at least consider tracking your referrers. After all, once you start promoting your site, you’ll use different methods and it is important to track which ones work and which ones don’t. With that information in mind, you’ll then repeat the steps that lead to success and stop spending time for strategies that don’t get results.

Remember, the player with the most information wins!

Traffic Campaigns

Server Downtimes

It certainly is irritating when your web server is down, because you simply lose visitors and potential customer. But did you realize you might be losing more than visitors and potential customers when your web site can't be accessed? According to Vanessa Fox of Google, “If the host is down when Googlebot tries to access your pages, then those pages may disappear from the index until Googlebot can crawl them again.”

But how do you know your server is down without constantly checking your sites? This chapter will share a few free services to help you evaluate your downtimes. From there you can decide if it’s time to look for another server solution.

Unless you have no life and want to monitor your web site by hand, hitting the refresh button every five or ten minutes, you will probably be interested in a tool to monitor the process for you. Fortunately some great tools exist to do just that, and the best of them are free. These free services can monitor your downtimes 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and they will let you know if there is a problem either by email, RSS or even on your cell phone through SMS.

Here are some of the best free services to monitor your server downtimes, in no particular order:

Once you know there has been a downtime issue, you can check in Google’s free webmaster tools to see if the Googlebot had tried to index your site while it was down. Google webmaster tools are at and provide a variety of other useful services as well.

Simply click on the Webmaster Tools link and register your site if you haven’t already. Once registered, you can check the “crawl errors” link to see if there have been any problems. You can also check the frequency of visits by the Googlebot to see how long the windows are between crawls; if you site is not being crawled frequently, obviously you won’t have to worry about occasional short downtimes.

You don’t have to worry too much if the Googlebot does happen to miss your site on a particular crawl because the site was down. Vanessa Fox also stated that Googlebot will give your site a few tries before actually dropping it from the Google search result pages. But even though it isn’t a true hit and miss issue, you will still be wise to monitor your server downtimes and make adjustments when necessary.

It is obvious that if your website is down, people will rarely give you another chance. If your website gets down too often, it will be in your best interest to move your website to another host before you start active promotion.

Server Downtimes

Website Maintenance

In order to protect your home do you spend time making sure everything is in repair? If you ran a shop would you take extra time making sure all your equipment is operating correctly? Operating a website is no different than maintaining a shop or taking care of your home, except for the fact that you’re expecting thousands of important visitors every day.

But what makes for a “ship shape” website? Is there some sort of routine maintenance you should perform? This chapter will cover a few tips to make your site run smoothly and let your visitors feel comfortable enough to stick around.

One of the common problems site visitors come across is old, broken links. If you have linked to an outside source you might do well to check from time to time and make certain that link is valid. This is especially true if your link is to a particular page or a blog entry as these are famous for getting switched; the site and the entry might still be there, but if something about the link changes your visitors won’t be taken where you wanted them to go.

Some types of web sites are more likely to come and go, so you’ll have to judge from experience how often to check for broken links. Internal links are just as likely to break, especially if you have links to photos or audio files; when you make a change to some element of your web site, think through the links you might have affected.

There are several online tools that can help you to check for broken links. Two of them are free and they provide a great service. You’ll find them at and

If you’re interested in a free software that works on your desktop, you’ll find Xenu’s Link Sleuth™ at
Another way to maintenance your site is doing what we’ll call “fixing leaks in the pipe”. It’s likely that you have certain things you want your site visitors to do, whether it is to visit an affiliate link, your own product, or sign up for a newsletter. The route from a customer’s arrival at your site to the action you want them to perform is often called your “pipeline”. Check for leaks in your pipeline since a leaky pipe could provide a place for you to lose potential customers.

Here are a few places your visitors might leak out from and never return to your site:

 Do each of your subscription forms lead back to your site?

 Are you using custom “thank you” pages or depending on auto-generated ones? Auto-generated thank you pages might not lead back to your site.

 Have you customized your error pages with links back to working parts of your site? If a customer finds a missing page and ends up on a default “404 error” page, you may never see them again.

 Are you giving away your traffic to web rings and link exchanges that don’t have easy-to-find links back to your site?

Keep the little maintenance tasks under check so you don’t miss any visitors and never underestimate the power of these little tricks. After all, competition is high on any traffic building campaign and it is small details what makes a difference.

Website Maintenance

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