Every website stands or falls on the traffic it receives, regardless of the tool you use to build the site.

A first step is to submit your site’s sitemap to the search engines (SiteBuilder Elite does this for you) but it is only a first step. You can also submit sitemaps through Google’s Webmaster Tools.

The search engines love active sites (especially Google); that doesn’t just mean the number of new pages added to a site on a regular basis, but the number of inbound links to the site. If a site keeps getting new inbound links (links from other sites pointing to it), then it must be popular, and that’s reflected in the page rankings in the search engines. Higher page ranks mean higher positions in the search engines and more traffic coming to your sites through natural searches.

However, getting traffic isn’t enough. You need the right kind of traffic and you need to give that traffic some useful information. Basically, you should think of yourself and your sites as being in a service industry that provides information to people. The better the information, the more likely people will revisit and the greater the chance that they’ll buy products or click ads listed on your site.

So if submitting a sitemap is just a first step, what other methods are available for getting traffic?

In this post, I’ll look at the free options (the next post will look at paid options):

1. Submitting articles to article directories

Google loves many of the free article directories, particularly EzineArticles.com (PR6), GoArticles.com (PR6) and SearchWarp.com (PR4). Write an article about the topic of your site and submit it to each directory. Don’t submit the same article to each – vary them a little. EzineArticles does a search of the web before accepting an article to see if it’s been published elsewhere. If it finds one, even if you’re the author, it will reject the submission. So, if you can’t be bothered to write three variations of your aticle, submit to EzineArticles first. Then, once it’s accepted, submit to the other directories.

EzineArticles in particular are touchy about authors doing too much self promotion in articles, so I recommend you only put one link to your site (or a page on your site) into the article itself and one link into the author bio box. Don’t stuff links into your author bio box on the other directories either. Two links are enough. Use something like: Your Name writes about <a href="[page url]"]Keyword at http://www.domain.com (replacing [page url] with the web address of a page on your site and www.domain.com with the web address of your home page).

Other article directories to consider are ArticleDashboard.com (PR5) and ArticleCity.com (PR5).

Spread your article submissions out over days or a couple of weeks so you drip-feed the inbound links from them to the search engines.

2. Create a page at Squidoo

Another thing to do is create a page about your topic at Squidoo. It doesn’t cost anything. A Squidoo page is just that – a single page of content with some widgets you can add to monetize the page or add extra content. Add a link or two pointing to your site’s home page and/or a page on your site. Squidoo is ranked very highly by the search engines (PR7) and some of that link juice will be passed on to your site through the links on your Squidoo page.

3. Create apage at HubPages

Basically, repeat what you did in setting up a page for Squidoo. It’s best if you use a different article on the page to avoid any duplicate content penalties. Like Squidoo, Hubpages is ranked at PR7.

4. Add Posts & Links To Your Blogs

If you run any blogs, add a post about the topic of your money site (if it’s relevant to the topic of the blog) and include a link back to your site in the post. Add a link to your site into the blog’s Blogroll list of links.

5. Submit Your Site to Link Directories

There are thousands of link directories out there. You’ll find a selection by running a search in your favourite search engine for your topic of interest and “link directory”; e.g.: dog training link directory

Pick the ones you like and add your site to their listings. Some will require a reciprocal link be added to your site. You decide if those are directories you want to list with.

6. Submit your RSS Feeds to RSS Directories

If your site creates its own RSS feed, add the link for your RSS feed to various RSS directories. At the very least, submit the link to Feedage.com.

You should also submit the RSS feed links of your blogs to Feedage (and others) as people will see the links to your money sites listed in your blog’s Blogroll. It ties things together.

A word of warning: WordPress creates its own RSS feeds for a blog using this web address: http://blogname.com/feed/
This link format will not be accepted by Feedage (and possibly others). Use this link instead: http://blogname.com/wp-rss2.php
Just replace “blogname.com” with the webaddress of your own blog.

Here’s a list of other sites you can submit your RSS feeds to.

7. Use Traffic Exchanges

TrafficSwarm is one of the best-known traffic exchanges. These are more like classified ads sites, but for advertising websites. You create an ad for your site (headline, ad text and link) and enter it into their system. With a free account you can enter up to 10 ads. It’s a credit-based system. You need credits for your ads to be displayed on their site (one ad display costs one credit). You have to surf their site and click on ads to earn credits. Clicking an ad randomly awards you between 1 and 5 credits.

Pro members pay $30 per month and are given 2500 credits at the start of each month. And there’s no limit to the number of ads Pro members can create. Surfing earns between 2 and 7 credits per ad clicked. You’re only limited by how quickly your credits are used up. If you need more, click some ads.

8. Forum Signatures

Most topics will have a forum or ten dedicated to them somewhere online. A great way of getting your links in front of a lot of interested people is to join such forums and post messages on them. Put your site links into your Profile so they show up at the bottom of your posts. Make your posts relevant to readers and write meaningful and useful posts. If you’re replying to someone else’s post, give useful information. Don’t do “Me too”, “Yay!”, “I’m with you”, etc. posts which just clutter up the forum and are a waste of everyone’s time. If you have something intersting to say or offer, people will be more inclined to click on your links rather than just ignore everything you say (as well as your links).

9. Email Signatures

Put some links to your sites into your email sigantures. All email software allows you to create signatures that are automatically appended to an email. Don’t expect a lot of traffic from this method. But it is free and worth doing. Don’t stuff your signature with web addresses as that’s just offputting to people. Use no more than 5 web addresses.

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