Everyone wants free traffic – Especially when you first start a new website.
You first started a new website, you almost always struggle to get visitors to your site. How to promote your website? I have compiled a complete list which includes all the best free traffic sources your site can get new visitors from.
Promote Your Website with Free Traffic
Get the Complete List as a PDF Document
To get free traffic, it requires you to put enough efforts (i.e. time) to the work.
The benefit of free traffic sources: When you have done right in the first place, your website will benefit from them for a long time.
Another benefit is you don’t have to spend any advertising money.
Let’s examine the best free website traffic in this article.
Get free traffic for your website by communicating and working with people.
Start with your friends, your clients, other bloggers, people in your local community, and people who are in your industry.
Tell friends by sending them an email about your new website. Their email addresses you can pick up from your default email (e.g. Gmail). So they are really your friends, people who you know (in real life), or people who you have contacted previously.
This is effective and should be quick to implement. This will give your new site an instant one-time boost of traffic.
Open up Whatsapp. Send your website’s URL to your friends and Whatsapp contacts with a message telling them you have launched a new website. Briefly explain what they can do on (or can get from) your site.
Ask a friend who has a blog to add a link (pointing to your site) under his “link exchange” or “friends” section. When I say “friend”, he/she obviously doesn’t want you to pay him for doing you a favor like this one. For courtesy, you may have to link back to his/her blog (from your site or blog).
It depends. Your friend’s blog may already have some consistent traffic on a daily basis. Some of his/her blog’s visitors may click the link and land onto your new website.
This is quick to implement and depends on if most of your friends have blogs.
Ask a friend who has a blog to write an article, post it on his/her blog, and include a link pointing to your new site. Again, for courtesy you may have to link back to his/her blog.
This method can be more successful for friends who have deeper connection with you, or if your friends run blogs in the same niche as your new website.
If you run your own business and have clients, ask your clients to put a link on their website or mobile app pointing to your site.
Some clients do not mind adding a link on their site giving credit (a backlink) to your website, if you have been doing a great job for your clients.
Connect with bloggers who are located in your city. Most bloggers who leave their contact details (i.e. emails, contact forms) on their blogs. Let them know about your website and what you do. Ask if they are willing to put a link on their blog, or write a guest post about your website.
This depends on the willingness of other bloggers.
Get to know the people from your local community. Just a few examples: the local church, the brick-and-mortar store, etc. If they already have websites, you should offer help to them. Examples:
In exchange, you can ask them to link from their sites to yours.
Will have to put in time and effort in advance, with your creativity.
Attend events (or conferences) including internet marketing events, social marketing events, SEO events, or product events hosted by local tech companies, etc. At the events you should actively get to know other attendees. Do not be over aggressive to promote your website to them (as it is probably the first time you met them), but exchange contact details with them, and let them know about you and your website.
After the event, pick out contacts who are within your niche, and ask if they are willing to add a link (pointing to your site) on their websites.
Will take time to meet people, especially meet the right people, and then filter the suitable people.
Do link roundup with the following conditions:
Link roundup is when you see someone’s blog has a section for “more related articles” that link out to other blogs or sites. You will have to first identify the blogs that are likely to provide link round-up, and then send emails to the authors.
The amount of traffic your site will get depends on how much traffic this blog has, how relevant his/her blog’s content is to your site’s content, where exactly your link is placed within the blog article, and a few other factors.
This may be quick to implement if you can find the right blogs with very responsive and supportive authors.
Blogs are a type of websites. Having a blog, you can publish articles which provide information about a niche you are working with. You can post many topics on your blog about your niche including breaking news, new technologies, rare techniques, DIY guides, and more.
Blogs are platforms for building up free web traffic through SEO and content marketing.
It may depend on your niche. For example, if you have an ecommerce site selling products that are complicated to use, you may post product guide content on your blog and link to your ecommerce site’s products.
Google’s Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/) is a blogging platform which allows anyone to create a blog for free with a Google account (or Gmail). When you create a new blog on Blogger, your blog will be hosted on a “Blogspot” sub-domain by default. For example:
When you have an ecommerce website, you can complement it with a blog hosted on Google’s Blogger. You blog should provide additional information about your products that isn’t found on your ecommerce site.
WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com/) – Not to be confused with WordPress.org. On WordPress you can get a free blog which will be hosted on a WordPress.com sub-domain like below.
Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com/) is a mini blog platform which is similar to Blogger and WordPress. Create a new blog for free on Tumblr, and it will be hosted on a subdomain:
Medium.com (https://medium.com/) is another blogging platform in which you can create a new blog for free. On Medium you may find many blogs that is in the information technology niche.
Hubpages (https://www.hubpages.com/) is a blogging platform. Hubpages previously purchased another blogging platform Squidoo.
Search engines are usually the first traffic sources type people (including bloggers & marketers) will use to get free traffic to your site.
SEO traffic: Your website should start getting free organic search traffic if you have optimized your site for SEO. In most countries, Google gets more than 90% of search queries (among all the search engines).
Good thing about search engine optimization (SEO) is you complete all the on-page SEO techniques on your new website, and the SEO applies to all the search engines.
Google (https://www.google.com) can give you the most organic search traffic, and your priority should be to optimize your new website for Google SEO.
Apply search engine optimization for your website to maximize organic search (SEO) traffic from Google, the world’s largest search engine. Google SEO includes:
Use the feedback in Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to help you grow organic search traffic (i.e. Search Analytics), find out your website’s technical issues (i.e. Crawl Errors, Index Status, Mobile Usability), and understand your site’s search results appearances (i.e. Structured Data, HTML Improvements, Accelerated Mobile Pages).
To optimize your website for higher Google organic search ranking (especially for mobile search ranking), refer to my Mobile SEO Best Practices guide.
Bing (https://www.bing.com/) is the second mostly used search engine in the United States. Maybe the 2nd is still Yahoo, but technically Bing is much more of a proper search engine than Yahoo. Get organic search traffic from Bing. If your site does well on Google organic search, it should also do well with Bing.
One benefit is: Yahoo uses Bing’s organic search results. This means when your web page rank top 10 on Bing for a keyword, it is also ranked on Yahoo’s organic search results pages (SERP).
Yahoo (https://www.yahoo.com) was once the number one Internet portal site in the past, and used to drive lots of organic search traffic to many websites.
Yahoo uses Bing’s organic search results. If your web pages are already ranking high up in Bing’s SERP, they will also appear in Yahoo’s search results pages.
DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com/) – Once you have done SEO for your website and submit your site to DuckDuckGo, you may start getting free organic traffic (for your niche’s audience).
Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/) is a bookmarking and sharing site for photos, and a search engine for image files.
Good practices when working on Pinterest Boards and Pins.
Social networks (or social media): Connecting and socializing with people through social networks may take up a lot of time, especially there are many social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
Several social networks are among the top 100 website traffic sites. The benefits in return may be huge in the long run, if you can put enough effort and time into it.
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/) is the world’s largest social network. On Facebook, users post all types of topics which cover content from all industries and niches.
On Facebook you can explore your new website in multiple ways.
With Facebook, posting content is very important and it should be made a consistent operation. For example, once in a few days you should post (in your timeline). In other days, you should post in groups or your Fanpage.
LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/) is a professional social network in which you can show people your expertise.
Twitter (https://twitter.com/) is a social media platform which allows you to post short sentences, and in your “Tweet” you can include your website URL.
When posting on Twitter, use a URL shortener tool such as Bit.ly for your URL.
Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/) is a topical sharing social site. On Reddit you will find all types of topics submitted by the users (i.e. Redditors). Redditors can upvote or downvote content. If you post a content other redditors like and upvote, you get Karma. Karma is very much a user’s “authority” in Reddit.
All Reddit’s contents are organized under Sub-reddits. You should find the most suitable Subreddit to post your content (i.e. link). Posting in the wrong subreddits, you risk your content being removed.
On Reddit, do not over promote yourself or your products by always posting links to your website. This will upset other Redditors and you will get downvotes which have negative effects on your Karma.
Start with posting links which are useful (or provide values) to other users. Only after you have gained sufficient Karma (i.e. Authority), by then you should try posting links to your website.
Google Plus (or Google+) (https://plus.google.com/) is Google’s social network site.
Whatsapp (https://www.whatsapp.com/) technically is an instant messaging app on mobile devices.
In Whatsapp, you can create groups and pull friends (i.e. contacts) in your new groups. In the groups, you can post/share your site’s web address.
Skyrock.com – Skyrock (http://www.skyrock.com/) is a French social networking site which allows users to create blogs, add profiles, and send messages to other SkyRock users.
VK.com -VK (https://vk.com/) is a Russian-based social network site which allows users to message each other publicly or privately, to create groups, public pages and events, share and tag images, audio and video.
Myspace – Myspace (https://myspace.com/) is a social network site that allows users to create personal profiles. On Myspace, you can connect with friends, share messages, photos, blog posts, and videos, and stream music.
Plurk – Plurk (https://www.plurk.com/) is a social networking and micro-blogging service which allows users to post Plurks (i.e. short messages or links). Each Plurk can have up to 360 text characters in length.
Raptr – Raptr (http://raptr.com/) is a social networking site and instant messenger intended for use by video game players.
People consume a lot of video content. Youtube is the world’s number one video sharing site, and up until 2018 it has the following numbers:
Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/) allows you to upload your videos for free. You should leverage from Youtube’s massive audience base.
To get traffic from Youtube, you will have to use videos as a “medium”. This means you will have to create videos that people like to watch and are willing to share to their friends.
A direct method is to introduce your products or services on Youtube. You can create a explainer video (to showcase your products or services) using Animaker or any other video creation tools.
A more passive way is to create a series of videos (as free courses or tutorials on topics about your niche) that provide values to or teach users on Youtube. This requires long term work from you, and will pay off over time.
In your videos you can mention your website’s name or URL vocally, or as printed text or sub-titles. In the description area of your Youtube video, write a description of what your video is about, and include a URL to your site.
If you believe your videos are great, remember to remind your Youtube video viewers to “like” your videos or share them to their friends.
Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/) is another video sharing site. Vimeo’s basic membership is free which allows you to upload 500MB of videos per week, or up to 10 videos per day. You may create 1 channel, 1 group and 3 album with the basic membership account.
Under Vimeo’s guidelines, if your videos contain promotional or advertising materials to a business or product, then you should upgrade to Plus, Pro, or Business memberships (in which you will have to pay small monthly fees).
Most forums are places for users and product vendors/owners to engage. through forums, product owners can often get feedbacks from users on how the products are being used, and/or how the products can be improved. Before buying a product, it will be helpful finding out how the existing users have rated the products.
To get traffic from forums, you will have to be creative and be helpful to other forum users. Build your trust in the forums, and over time you will get your traffic and even new business. Spending efforts in forums will pay off in the long run.
Warrior Forum (https://www.warriorforum.com/) has an Internet and digital marketing forum since 1997. If you have products which are designed for Internet marketers, then this forum is the right place to get traffic.
You will have to slowly develop your authority, trust and expertise for your niche in the forum.
Similar to WarriorForum, the DigitalPoint Forum (https://forums.digitalpoint.com/) is an online community started in the early years and is specialized in marketing and webmaster topics.
Quora (https://www.quora.com/) is an “question and answer” (Q & A) site. On Quora, you can:
For the answers and/or questions you have posted on Quora, other users can upvote or downvote, and write comments to them.
The best practices for using Quora include:
Google Product Forums (https://productforums.google.com/forum/) consists of forums where each forum is specific to a single Google product.
Forums are available for products including Chrome, Gmai, YouTube, Google Search and Assistant, AdSense, Allo, Hangouts, Google Drive, Google Maps, Webmaster Central, DoubleClick Publisher, Google Play, Blogger, Google Translate, G Suite, and more.
Below are some online forums that have topics on specific niches. Obviously I cannot cover all the forums in the entire Internet.
Yahoo Answers – Yahoo Answers (https://answers.yahoo.com/) is Yahoo’s Q&A site.
WebmasterWorld – WebmasterWorld (https://www.webmasterworld.com/) is an online forum for the website administrator community to share and gain knowledge in operating and promoting websites.
World of Warcraft Forums – World of Warcraft Forums (https://us.battle.net/) is a forum for the popular game.
Etsy Forums – Etsy Forums (https://www.etsy.com/forums) is the official forum for handmade and unique items created by people all over the world.
Drupal Forum – Drupal Forum (https://www.drupal.org/forum) is the forum for web developers who do module development and write codes for Drupal, a CMS for building websites.
Raspberry Pi Forums – Raspberry Pi Forums (https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/) is a forum where you can find out how to use Raspberry Pi, get started with progamming on Raspberry Pi, find projects, get information on the hardware and peripherals.
Shopify Ecommerce Forums – Shopify Ecommerce Forums (https://ecommerce.shopify.com/forums) is the official forum to discuss topics including the use of Shopify CMS, ecommerce website marketing, ecommerce payments, shipping and fufillment, wholesale and dropshipping, accounting and taxes, and many more.
Stackoverflow – Stackoverflow (https://stackoverflow.com/) is one of the largest online communities / forums for programmers (or IT developers).
CafeMom – CafeMom (https://www.cafemom.com/groups/) is a community for moms to get advice and support on topics including pregnancy, health, fashion, food, entertainment, and more.
More Q&A Sites:
Social Bookmarking sites are tools for people to save their faviorite website URLs in an organized way for later use.
StumbleUpon (https://www.stumbleupon.com/) or now it’s Mix (https://mix.com/) is a bookmarking, social discovery and sharing site which allows users to thumbs-up (or like) or thumbs-down (or dislike) a specific website or a web page.
You can sign in to StumbleUpon with your Facebook or Google Plus account, and start using it to browse (or “Stumble”) the Internet.
Google Bookmarks (https://www.google.com/bookmarks/) lets you save shortcuts (or URLs) to your web pages. You can then navigate to your saved webpages from your mobile phone or desktop when logging onto your Google Account (or Gmail).
Dribbble (https://dribbble.com/), with triple b’s, not Dribble, is a beautiful bookmarking website for designers.
Pocket (https://getpocket.com/) has a mobile app. This means the website URLs you have bookmarked, other Pocket users can find them on their mobile phones.
Scoop.it (https://www.scoop.it/) is free for personal use. The free plan lets you host one topic page, one keyword group, 2 social accounts, and post 2 scoops per day.
If you are using Scoop.it as a marketing tool, you will have to upgrade to a higher plan.
When social bookmarking on Scoop.it, pin and RT other users’ content, and participate in discussions. You will have to build trust in this social bookmarking site before getting far.
On Slashdot (https://slashdot.org/), you can submit website URLs with technology news content including stories on Linux, computer hardware, devices, games, cloud, mobile, storage, security, management, book reviews, and more.
Digg (http://digg.com/) was very much like Reddit in the early years where where the front page was curated through the Digg’s users. Now this is done by Digg’s editors, while the social bookmarking function remains. On Digg, users can find new content and organize them.
Share photos (or images) with the public. On some of the photo / image sharing websites:
Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/) is an app for mobile. On Instagram, you can share photos and/or short videos.
To set up your Instagram account:
When you post photos or short videos, include hashtags that can describe your photos and/or videos. You can add up to 30 hashtags per post.
Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/) is a Yahoo-owned online photo album sharing site.
We Heart It (https://weheartit.com/) It is a a visual bookmarking site. On We Heart It, you can submit images, GIFs, videos and articles.
Share documents (or files) with the public.
On SlideShare.net (https://www.slideshare.net/), you can upload and share your PDF and/or PowerPoint documents.
Many classifieds sites let you post ads for free which means opportunities for your product or service or website to get exposure or traffic.
Many classifieds websites are local i.e. They are sources to get local website traffic.
For example, a local classifieds site may only list information about Hong Kong. This enables marketers to include such local classifieds website for digital marketing in Hong Kong.
Craigslist (https://www.craigslist.com/) is an US classifieds site with sections including jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forums.
When a user visits your site for the first time, he/she often may not buy anything from you. The best practice is to make a reason for the user to subscribe to your mailing list. This way, you can collect his/her email address and start list building for your website.
This is often known as Email Marketing or Lead Generation or List Building.
Lead generation is about creating a mailing list in which a portion of the people in the mailing list will eventually buy your products or use your services.
People use the local search engines in the Chinese market including Baidu, Sogou, 360’s So.com, and SM.cn.
Refer to my SEO book (the China Mobile SEO Book) for more information on Chinese search engine optimization (SEO).
Get organic search traffic through China’s number one search engine Baidu (https://www.baidu.com/).
You should make use of Baidu’s webmaster tool to view data reports. You can find out which of your web pages and/or keywords are ranking well and are receiving organic search clicks from Baidu.
In Baidu’s Webmaster Tool, you can monitor your Chinese website’s crawl errors, indexed pages, and other technical issues.
To access Baidu’s Webmaster Tool:
Refer to my Baidu SEO Guide for more information.
360’s So.com (https://www.so.com/) is China’s second largest search engine for organic search traffic. The majority of users of So.com uses the search engine through desktop computers.
Sogou (https://www.sogou.com/) is the third Chinese search engine.
SM.cn (http://m.sm.cn/) is a Chinese search engine which is only available on mobile web browsers. The mobile search engine is owned by Alibaba.
In China, people use local social networks and/or local social apps.
WeChat (Weixin) is a Chinese app which has been developed by Tencent for mobile users. One of the main functions of WeChat is instant messaging.
WeChat Moments – Post your website URLs on your WeChat Moments. WeChat Moments is a feed. When you post a text message, 1-9 photos, etc, your friends (i.e. your WeChat connections) can see them. You have options to restrict a message being only seen by specific friends.
WeChat Friends – Send your website URL to your WeChat friends with an individual message. You can even ask your friends to forward your website URL on their WeChat Moments.
WeChat Groups – Create groups in WeChat. Groups are chatrooms where multiple people have conversations together. Start with pulling 50 people into your new group and share your website’s URL. Each WeChat Group can have up to 500 people.
WeChat Public Account – This is WeChat’s blogging platform in which you can publish one new blog article per day. Other WeChat users can follow your Public Account, and/or forward your articles on their WeChat Moments.
Weibo (https://www.weibo.com/) is equivalent to Twitter (of China).
QQ (http://www.qq.com/) is China’s main instant messenger tool for people of younger age. Most Chinese students and people who haven’t entered the workforce communicate through QQ messenger.
You can create QQ groups. In QQ Groups, you can start having conversations and share your site’s web address to other QQ users.
Chinese users visit of local websites, blogs, file sharing sites, Q&A sites, forums, local classifieds sites, and other local sites. You can always get traffic from these local sites for your Chinese website.
Zhihu (https://www.zhihu.com/) is equivalent to Quora (of China) and is a Q&A site in Chinese language.
You can use Zhihu as a blogging platform.
In Russia and Naver, people mostly use their local search engines.
In Japan, Yahoo (as a search engine or portal site) still has a fairly large market share.
Yandex (https://www.yandex.com/) – Russia’s number one search engine which provides organic search results in both Russian and English languages.
When your site is in Russian language, make sure it is optimized for Yandex organic search ranking.
Naver (https://www.naver.com/) is Korea’s major local search engine which shows organic search results in Korean language.
Yahoo (https://www.yahoo.co.jp/) is the second mostly used search engine in Japan after Google.
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