Critique of “50 top ways to drive traffic to your site”


Tired of Making Chump Change Online?

free website trafficThe unattributed list below has been circulating in forums and reprinted on many “make money online” blogs since 2008.  We’re reprinting it here to comment on each method individually.  We’re reprinting the list here for “Fair Use” purposes of commentary and analysis.

The rest of the series: * Part 1  *  Part 2  * Part 3

1. Write and submit articles to the article directories.

How it works: The directories have Page Rank and they pass some of it to the links in the “About the Author” sections of the articles they publish.

Pro: Most article sites are free.  Fairly straightforward and simple to do.  Good for backlinks and direct traffic.  For best results, pick only high value/high PR/highly categorized sites and submit manually.

Con: You run the risk of duplicate content penalties if you submit the same article to too many sites.  Many misguided marketers believe that the duplicate content penalty doesn’t exist. They are wrong. The Google Panda update penalizes sites with heavy amounts of duplicate content.  Also, it helps tremendously if the article is categorized correctly and the article site’s permalink structure is search engine friendly.  Using automated submitters produce less results than manual and ‘cherry picked’ submissions.  If you’re not a writer, writing the articles might be a challenge.  Fortunately, leased website copywriters are available for as low as $175 per month.

2. Leave comments on other people’s blogs with a backlink to your site.

How it works: The blog has Page Rank and it passes it through links in the body of commenters’ posts or in the hyperlinked names of the commenters.

Pro: Very effective way of getting backlinks from High Page rank sites.

Con: WordPress comments are by default NO FOLLOW so link juice is not passed.  Even if NO FOLLOW is deactivated (such as on this blog), the link builder cannot just use his/her keyword as a name.  Many blogs require a real name only.  Others require a name and allow for the keyword to follow.  Example:  “Jim – Funny Video Site”.  For best results, the blog must be in the same category as the site you’re building links for.  For Blogger/, comments are NO FOLLOW by default as well.

3. Answer people’s questions on .

How it works: Yahoo Answers lists commonly asked questions regarding a particular topic.  You answer a question in your site’s niche/category and stuff the useful and informative answer with keywords.  You put your link as a ‘Source’.  Yahoo’s own user database has tons of people that would click your source link so you get direct traffic.

Pro: Free.  Great way to tap into Yahoo’s user base.  Good for targeted direct traffic.  Keyword-driven search results yield targeted traffic.

Con: The links don’t use text titles so SEO value is limited to begin with.  Yahoo has since made the links NO FOLLOW which destroyed these links Google SEO value.  Works best for frequent users not drive by “contributors”.

4. Post in forums and have a link to your site in your signature.

How it works: Whatever Page Rank the forum has is sometimes (depending on a few factors) shared with the links users place in the body of their posts or, to a lesser extent, their signature text links.

Pro: Free. Very easy way to get backlinks.  You set your signature and you forget it.  The more you post, the greater your links proliferate. Good addition to a daily linkbuilding routine if you visit and post on forums habitually.  Some direct traffic.

Con: Link value is diluted by the tons of other links posted by other users.  Signature-based links carry less weight than ‘in content’ (in post) links.  The value of your backlink is greatly affected by how closely the forum you’re posting on meets the content category of the site you’re linkbuilding for.  Also, many forums are now using NO FOLLOW tags for links, in post links, or both.

5. Write a press release and submit it to .

How it works: PRWeb has a Pagerank of 7 and it passes on some of its page rank to links embedded in the categorized press releases published on its site.

Pro: Fast and relatively easy way to get a backlink from a trusted site.  Not only do you get a backlink, your press release might be picked up sites that monitor PRWeb for category-specific releases.

Con: PRWeb is NOT free.  The cheapest available package is $80.  $80 for a backlink located on a site that has tons of other backlinks to other sites.  To get full media distribution, you have to pay $360.  You can get many more backlinks at cheaper rates from SEO linkbuilding services.  However, periodic backlink building using PRWeb is probably a good idea to give new sites a good backlink start.

6. Advertise your website in the appropriate category on .

How it works: Craigslist has a nice Page Rank.  Posting your ad (with anchor text) in the right category lets Craigslist passes some of Craigslist’s link juice to your site.

Pro: Free.  Backlinks from a nicely categorized high value site.  Good for backlinks and direct traffic.

Con: Due to excessive spamming of Craigslist, posting has become more difficult since posters need a Phone Verified Account in order to post.  This is quite a hassle specially if you’re not based in the US.  Beware of scammers selling fake PVAs.  Also, Craigslist employs some anti-spam measures.

7 . Give an unbiased testimonial on a product/service that you have used in exchange for a backlink to your site.

How it works: Highly popular or established product pages will have Page Rank.  By posting your domain on their site they pass some of this PR to you.

Pro: Free.

Con: To get full SEO benefits, the product/service must be somewhat related to the niche/category of the site you are building links for.  Finding relevant high page rank product/service sites can be time consuming.  You are filtering for a) category b) Page Rank and c) do follow.  Thankfully, there’s some tools that can make this task easier.

8. Start a blog and submit it to the 100’s of free blog directories.

How it works: Submission to any directory can result in some of those directory sites passing their PR on to your site.

Pro: Free.  Third Party publishers that “leech” content off RSS feeds sometimes post your entries with your links intact.

Con: This opens you up to RSS hijackers which scrape your content and strip your links.  You can protect yourself from this by setting up your blog to publish only summaries.  This setting is in the “READING” section of WP setup.   RSS feed hijacking can get so bad that the thieves sometimes rank higher than you for the keywords of your entry!

9. Manually submit your website to the major search engines.

How it works: Submitting your site to search engines reduces their effort in finding you.  Once you’re in their database, they can index your pages, and rank them.

Pro: Saves the search engines time.  Not like they care :)

Con: Based on personal experience and other webmasters experiences posted on forums, you get indexed faster if you submit to some key sites other than search engines.  There’s even reports of submitted sites sitting for WEEKS without even one visit from Googlebot.   Instead of submitting to the search engine, submit your site map using Google’s webmaster tools and submit to some major DO FOLLOW sites.

10. Optimize each page of your website for a particular keyword or search phrase.

How it works: Search engine spiders tend to be literal and, until recent developments, linear in their approach.  You have to spoonfeed them as to where to go on your site and suggest what keywords to pick up.  This makes for a more ‘directed’ system.

Pro: Free.  Relatively straightforward.

Con: You need to expend some time and effort to find the right keywords for each section.  Competitor analysis helps a lot but in order to beat your competition you have to find the right combination of keywords and subkeywords that have less competition from which you can build a backlink critical mass.  This can lift your rankings for more competitive keywords.

Photo Credits:  Nelson D.

Here are the remaining items on the list which will be analyzed in PARTS 2 through 5 of this 5 part series.

11. Add a link in your email signature to your website. It’s a free and easy way to get a little more traffic.

12. Make a custom 404 error page for your website redirecting people to your home page.

13. Use PPC search engine advertising.

14. Add a “bookmark this site” link to your webpages.

15. Have a tell-a-friend form on your site.

16. Send articles to ezine publishers that includes a link to your website.

17. Hold a crazy content and make it go viral.

18. Give away a freebie (ebook, report, e-course) to keep people coming back to your site.

19. Add an RSS feed to your blog.

20. Submit your site to any related niche directories on the net.

21. Participate in a banner or link exchange program.

22. Create a software program and give it away for free.

23. Purchase the misspellings or variations of your domain name, or those of your competitors.

24. Buy a domain name related to your niche that is already receiving traffic and forward it to your site.

25. Pass out business cards with your domain on them everywhere you go.

26. Start and affiliate program and let your affiliates send you visitors.

27. Start a page on social bookmarking sites such as .

28. Submit a viral video to

29. Conduct and publish surveys to your website.

30. Find joint venture partners that will send you traffic.

31. Start your own newsletter or ezine.

32. Use a autoresponder or email campaign to keep people coming back to your site.

33. Purchase ads on other sites.

34. Send a free copy of your product to other site owners in exchange for a product review.

35. Sell or place classified ads on with a link to your site.

36. Post free classified ads on any of the sites that allow them with a link to your site.

37. Exchange reciprocal links with other related websites.

38. Network with other people at seminars or other live events.

39. Purchase advertising in popular newsletters or ezines.

40. Advertise on other product’s “thank you” pages.

41. Create a free ebook and list in on the “free ebook” sites.

42. Buy and use a memorable domain name.

43. Do something controversial.

44. Create an Amazon profile and submit reviews for books and other products that you have read.

45. Start a lens on .

46. Use a traffic exchange (low quality traffic, but can sometimes be worthwhile).

47. Get referrals form similar but non-competing sites.

48. Create and sell a product with resell or giveaway rights and include a link to your site in it o others pass it around for you.

49. Email your list. If you don’t have one, get one.

50. Buy a pair of sandals; get your website engraved on the bottom and walk on the beach, stomp in the mud or play in the snow.


  1. wow this is great stuff!!!

  2. PMullaly says:

    Thanks for a great analysis. I’ve tried a few of these techniques… find the “no follow” issue a pain. Have submitted to a variety of search engines…I know I’m listed, and my Alexa rank keeps rising, but driving traffic to the site is a slow slog. Will continue to work it though.

  3. Very interesting ideas. I have been trying to find decent ebook material to market a few of my niche sites. I think they would be a good giveaway to members or readers.

    Dave’s last blog post..Sidney Crosby Whines – Too Many Hats on Ice

  4. tes1234 says:

    I must say very wide of traffic resources. Most of the people will be able to use 80% of the techniques you have mentioned.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Thanks for sharing this useful information, is very important, I’ll try to use this techniques.


  6. Thanks a lot for this list! One Question: How can I find out wether a blog I want to comment in has “no follow” activated?

    AP’s last blog post..Solar – Ladegeräte: eine kleine Produktübersicht

  7. You can easily find out if the blog you want to comment on has NO FOLLOW activated by installing the “NODOFOLLOW” plugin for firefox. Turn it on. You’ll see blue and red links. Blue = follow. Red = no follow.

  8. Sell Rent Back says:

    Hi great insightful, for this information. Could I replicate this post on my site?

  9. Jean@ZineGuru Website Marketing says:

    Great list of ways to generate traffic to a website. I believe focusing on just a few and mastering them well first before moving on to the next are ideal for best results. Doing too many things at once can lead to failure.

  10. Cristi@SEO Blog says:

    Very useful post indeed. I recently started to drive traffic by Yahoo! Answers and i must say that is a really great way to send targeted traffic to your website,requires a lot of work if you want results but it’s free and it converts well.
    Social bookmarking traffic like one from Digg,Reddit was useless for me.

  11. Ash@Music Streaming says:

    Very interesting ideas! I can’t wait to see the follow up articles to this :)

    Also, could you please add some links to the article, linking to lists of the directories please.

  12. Dalirin from Make money online says:

    You can also answer questions on

  13. Sash @ Watch TV Online says:

    Good overview and I think the weakest on there is Yahoo answers since the entire system is built for immediate answers and people are very unlikely to visit the sources linked especially because of the amount of referrals and self promotion occuring.

  14. Bill@Unix Time Converter says:

    Thanks for this article, I’ve had it bookmarked for a while as I’m always developing something and need to clue up on promotion and get some of that action too. It’s especially difficult when you create very niche/situational stuff such as (which I added to my comment link, thanks for allowing that!)

    The only tip I can offer in exchange is to have a ‘developer’ blog with RSS where you discuss/announce your sites and intricacies thereof. Perhaps publish interesting statistical analyses, as I’ve seen the social machine gobble that stuff up when it is fascinating or controversial enough.

    Also, partaking in relevant discussions on IRC so that you can eventually namedrop your site when called for.

  15. sarah@diy solar panels says:

    Very well put together list I must say. Though Yahoo does not pass Pagerank, I have found that if you can get the best answer you will get tons of “targeted traffic” to your site, such as if you were promoting a product of some sort.

  16. Budget Accommodation Niseko says:

    Great list of ways to generate traffic to a website. I believe focusing on just a few and mastering them. Well first before moving on to the next are ideal for best results. Doing too many things at once can lead to failure.

  17. James@portrait photographers arlington, wa says:

    There are lots of ways on how to drive traffic to your blogs and these list is more than enough. If you can do all these then you will be earning more than what you will expect in months to come.

  18. seo copywriting says:

    It’s all about consistency. If you have a dedicated outsourced blogger, you’ll probably reach your goals sooner than later. WebmasterLabor.Com offers outsourced bloggers at very inexpensive rates.

  19. Camden@Mens Gifts says:

    Great list! As far as press releases go, I’ve had good luck driving traffic with, which is free, and does allow links within the body of the press release. (Can’t do anchor text, unfortunately).

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