Traffic is about attention. Attention drives sales. Sales fill pockets. Everyone wants to be popular. How to direct traffic to your site? In the long run, it's all about adding value. Is the stuff on your site interesting / valuable / useful enough for people to reach you? And more importantly, do they want to come back and recommend it to their friends?

A lot has been said on this topic in one of my previous posts, Writing Content. So let's skip the basics -- the need to be interesting, readable, search engine friendly. Lets talk about getting attention. What are the things you can do without spending all your money?

Where do your customers hang around?

  1. Real life. Before planning your placement on the web, think what are your potential customers doing in real life. As outdoor ads are too expensive, then be an ad yourself -- grow your authority. Speak at industry events and give university lectures, become a guy whom media contacts for comments on anything that takes place in your industry.Keep traffic sources balanced
  2. Search Engines. People turn to Google for help more often than they call their Moms. Up to 50% of the traffic on any popular website derives from search engines. People are constantly looking for answers. In search results, 90% of clicks go to the first 4-5 unpaid links. So you must be the first answer. Nothing more to say. SEO is crucial part of growing traffic. There are tons of great resources to get started. Try Copyblogger for starters.
  3. Industry specific sites. There are forums, blogs and review sites for every business niche you can think of. Some of them are popular. Get reviews or links to your company / product in the popular ones -- or become a commentator in forums yourself. Check out popularity from Alexa and Compete.
  4. Social media. Instead of living a real life, even your grumpy old neighbour is plugged to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Among all other things people share and discuss with acquaintances there. At any given point, your industry is a topic. Social media is more about recommendations from friend to friend rather than you stepping in from scratch. So put more effort in the previous three steps first and social media will do it's part all by it's lonesome self.

What would grab their attention?

In addition to being present in mediums listed above -- hard work, honesty and devotion of course -- plus a long company history and all the rest of the solid virtues one can't buy with money. Here are some tricks to speed up the process:
  1. Attract links. Write a blog with great headlines, bold statements, top10 lists, illustrative graphs and great design. These are tasty and easy to digest. What more would one want?
  2. Write newsletters. It is just as important as attracting new visitors and keeping those who you already "won" to your site. Make it easy for them to give you their email addresses so you can send them your great newsletters.
  3. Run a campaign. Spend your next ad money on buying 5 iPhones and throwing them out in Twitter. You'll be rewarded with gazillion clicks : ) Some of them recurring if you do it right.
Finally, don't forget that it's terribly easy to go the opposite way and decrease traffic. This is done by stopping or pausing the hard work of attention grabbing.

Other stories on creating a great website:

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