In a post entitled, Traffic Building Ideas, I listed out a bunch of traffic-building ideas that you could use to boost the number of users visiting your site. Today, I'll talk about traffic-building in general: The How and the Why.

First, the Why. Why do you care about traffic? Whether you write for pure pleasure or you have a website to generate income, you want your voice to be heard, your words to be read, your message to be received. The more people you get to your site, the better your chances of getting your point across. It's really just that simple.

Of course, if you have a website so that you can sell things (information, services, or physical products like books and music), you want targeted traffic. This means you want visitors to stop by who are ready, willing, and able to buy whatever it is that you're selling.

In any event, you want to boost your traffic numbers. That's the Why.

Now, the How. In my last post about building traffic, you saw that there are many ways to get people to visit your site. In fact, that post only mentioned a fraction of ways to reach more people.

However, there is one common thread among all of those methods, and it is this: Anybody who gets to your site got there through a referral.

Read that again. I'll wait.

Nobody got to your site by randomly typing in letters and numbers in their browser URL address bar. They all got there through a referral.

Now, that referral could have come from a search engine, a link on somebody else's site, an ad you put up, your signature line in an email you sent, or through a link you put in a resource box in an article you submitted to a directory.

Search engines, by the way, are an attempt to chronicle this referral system in such a way that when you type something in a search form, you will get back a set of results that is most beneficial to you. The web is all about finding information that you can put to use. That's what the search engines care about.

If you typed in “internet marketing,” for example, in Google, you should get a list of sites that are “authority sites” about internet marketing. You should not get a site about dog training, even if internet marketing is mentioned all throughout the site.

This is why in-context referrals are one of the best sources of traffic. Not only is somebody recommending your site to its visitors, but Google, Yahoo, Bing, and all the other search engines regard (or at least should, in my opinion) that link as more important than a banner, advertisement, or some other referral.

Most of your website traffic will come through the search engines, by the way. But it is those relevant links that pushes your website toward the top of the search engines because the SEs value them more than links in a blogroll or embedded in an ad.

In my next traffic-building post, I'll get into the specific how-tos for one of the methods mentioned in Traffic Building Ideas. As this series progresses, I will touch on most, if not all, of these traffic-building methods.


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