It doesn't matter how slick your website looks: If no one comes to it, good luck building that Web business.
Some entrepreneurs use the time-tested technique of paying for ads to get traffic. Others generate buzz through promotional stunts, or try tweeting with reckless abandon. But those aren't your only options. Here are five strategies to try to push your traffic numbers skyward:
1. Pay pennies for YouTube views.
The concept of paying for ads (à la Google Adwords) has been around for years. One new technique, though, is to pay for YouTube viewers. Virool.com is one option. You can post a video, and then pay about one penny per view. The idea is that Virool pushes your videos out to a targeted audience culled from its network of publishers. Once someone watches your video, he or she may want to visit your website as well. Just be sure your site is set up to cater to Web viewers: Offer other videos and media as well as an engaging call to action.
2. Get specific on Twitter.
Twitter is one of the best ways to generate traffic, because you can target users, groups, and topics. Experts say the trick is to get specific: Send tweets to popular social networking gurus who might respond, and make sure you actively retweet those in similar fields. "The average person on Twitter reads around 200 tweets a day," says Jeffrey Powers, a popular blogger and podcaster. "Reposting a tweet is not a bad idea: 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 9 p.m. are good times to tweet. The best time is between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. I have my content retweeted constantly, which adds to my reach."
3. Run on Groupon
Ryan Chaffin, an investment and marketing expert, says one good strategy is to run a Groupon. This might seem like a stretch for a company that does not sell a product, but every business has something to sell. For example, a Web design company might run a coupon offering services for half-price. When bargain hunters investigate what your company offers, you'll probably get more traffic to your website. Note that the approval process to post coupons can take up to two weeks.
4. Launch a Kickstarter campaign
You may not want to seek funding from Kickstarter, especially if your company is already solvent--but that's not why you'd try this strategy. Kickstarter's major advantage is that it's incredibly popular. That means, if you create a campaign, even if it is for one part of your marketing activities or to create one new product, it can be an effective way to generate traffic and attention quickly. Erin Cheyne from Mousetrap Group, a text-message marketing company, says Kickstarter is one of the best traffic generators around right now, mostly because people are curious enough to click.
5. Write a counterpoint blog post
Joseph Turian, the president of MetaOptimize, a technical consultancy, says one way to generate buzz on your site is to write a guest blog that offers an alternative viewpoint and get it published on a popular website. Say everyone else is buzzing about Kickstarter or Groupon. Offer your take on why you think neither site is worth the time. (Of course, only take this option if you genuinely hold that viewpoint.) Make sure that your post includes a link back to your site. And be ready for some backlash and visitors looking to post negative comments.