Traffic, everyone wants it and is trying really hard to get more people to their site. Good news, there are creative ways to bring people in without doing a lot of work.
1) Social Bookmarking. It’s been around long enough that some people know all about it and have a tendency to just search del.icio.us or Furl for what they want. Social sites are basically like a user defined search engine. Are you listed? Make sure to bookmark yourself every now and then and add social bookmark links to your blog posts and/or web pages so others can bookmark you too.
2) Use Flickr! Yes, it’s true, the social photo sharing site can drive traffic to your site. I now post all my pictures that I’m going to use in my post to Flickr first, with good tags of course, then I write my blog post. Once I’ve published my post, I copy the post URL and add a note to my Flickr image. I paste in the URL, hit save and it turns into a clickable URL. Now, if people find my stats screenshot on Flickr they’ll see my note and may click on the link back to my site for more information.
3) Read and comment on blogs. TUAW is one of my favorite blogs. Since I’m a Mac geek, it’s a perfect match. Whenever I feel so inclined, I comment on stories. Since I’m able to add a URL when I comment, it gives me a live link. On some stories, I may have something on my site that is related, so I’ll drop in a link to my blog post about the same topic in the comments box. This usually draws decent traffic. Keep in mind, the post you are commenting on and your post must be very related or else it may be seen as spam and deleted.
4) Forums. Use forum signatures to promote your site with a live link. Also reply to topics with good information and maybe a link back to your site for more info and people will visit. Again, you must be sure to give valuable information or people will perceive it as spam.
5) Widgets, Themes and Extensions. It’s true, everyone has Widgets anymore. Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and the list goes on. And then there are themes and extensions for Firefox. All can be simple to create and quite effective in driving traffic.
6) Friends! Yes, get some friends who feel that you know what you are talking about. Maybe they’ll talk about you on their blog, talk to their friends about you or even interview you. Interviews are all the rage right now.
7) Industry specific sites. As noted above, I’m a Mac geek so I know lots of Mac sites. One in particular is MacBytes. I know that if I write up a review, opinion, some cool scripts or something related to Apple, I can submit my story to them and, if approved, they’ll post a prominent link to my site for all their visitors to click on. I’m sure there are other sites like it out there for cars or baseball or whatever you are interested in.
8) Guest Poster. As blogs get bigger and more popular, some sites ask for guest posters. If you sign on, they may just let you link to your own site every now and again.
9) Podcasts. Reach those that don’t like to read by giving them an audio or video podcast. If they find your podcast interesting, they may just decide to look you up.
10) Submit your feed. If you have a blog it should be pinging everywhere it can and be submitted to the many blog directories out there. A feed can drive traffic from a site that won’t allow regular websites to be added. And, quite a few of them, don’t come looking for you, you have to submit to them.
In the end, it’s not all about traffic, it’s about giving the user something they think is of value. You could drive thousands of new people to your site, but if you don’t give them a reason to stay, was it really worth it?
My ideas above may not generate tons of traffic, but they are creative ways to drive traffic. Do you have some other ideas?