If you have a website, it stands to reason that you will want people to know about it. There is no way they can visit a site they don’t know about, so it is important to promote your site well. The problem for many people is one of practicality – how do you let people know about your website, and do so without spending too much money?
Traffic No-Nos: Spamming Online Forums
For many, the obvious answer is to use free sites with user-generated content such as online forums. If you are a member of a forum, you can contribute to discussions on the topic of the board and read what others are contributing, too. It is a reliable and often fun way to exchange opinions and just chat – and it often allows you to create a custom signature which will accompany your message to readers. This is an excellent place to put a link to your site.
Additionally, you can place links in the contributions (forum posts) you make to the forum – but this is where you have to be careful. A lot of people make the mistake of simply “spamming” the forum by placing links in every post – often without contributing anything original to the discussion. This is a huge mistake. A forum will allow you to post links in context, as long as the post is not solely an effort to place a link.
If you have a reason to post a link – for example, another poster has asked for help which you can illustrate by pointing them to an article on your site – then you can generate traffic by doing so. What you cannot do is simply put a link in a post without any reason or context aside from promoting yourself. This will get you banned, and your posts removed.
Traffic No-Nos: Blog Comment Stuffing
It is well-known by most people with sites to promote that you can easily get a bit more traffic by being a contributing member of an online community. A forum or a social networking site would be one example – as is the readership of a blog. Most blogs on the internet allow commenting on posts, which allows you to discuss matters raised in the post and – hopefully – receive feedback from the blogger.
It is not rare to see comments on some blogs which contain a link (usually in the commenter’s name) and have no useful contribution to make. It may well be something along the lines of “This is a great post – I like when you talk about this!”. More often than not, this will be spam – the comment has no point to make, it exists solely to be there. The commenter hopes that people will click on his link and read his site. Chances are he hasn’t read the post, and his comment certainly does not show any sign that he has.
Bloggers are increasingly becoming wise to this – they have comments enabled on their site so that their posts can be a source of discussion – and this kind of comment will more often than not be deleted with little fuss. The shame is that if you just take time to read and make a valuable contribution, your comment will stay there, be read, and give you an opening to make further contributions. And if people like those, they will click the link.
Mailing Lists – A Reliable Source Of Traffic
The old saying “leave no stone unturned” is one with a lot of relevance when it comes to website promotion. There are so many things you can do to put your website in the mind of individuals, and it is wise to do as many of them as you reasonably can. For any webmaster, it is common knowledge that giving people a chance to get interested is the first thing you must do. Thus you must provide good content (articles, etc). If you do, people will want to come back and read again. However, if your site is a blog, it will be frequently updated, often at irregular times.
In order to ensure that people come to see the changes when they are still relevant, it is beneficial to have a blog mailing list. Thus, when people read your site and enjoy it they can sign up for the mailing list – which will see them get an email every time you update the site, and carry a link to the update so that they can go there directly. When people receive a welcome email – say, for example, one from a favored blog – they are likely to click the link, and come through to your site.
Setting up a mailing list is not a perfect system. Not everyone who likes your blog will want to join a mailing list – it’s nothing personal, but some people simply have an aversion to giving out their email address. However, enough people will use it to make it worthwhile.
RSS Feeds – Feed Them With RSS Feeds
RSS Feeds are another way of enticing your visitors back, and it’s very easy and free to set up. You can use in-house RSS Feed software (which is installed into your website) or you can use an RSS Service such as FeedBurner to deliver your RSS to your subscribers.