Anyone developing an online business, no matter what their subject or niche, has one thing in common with every other online business developer, and that one key component is traffic. Everything you read or hear on the net about creating a successful online business will always stress the importance of generating traffic. We all know this to be fact – without traffic, we have no business. Naturally, a good product and a sound business plan are essential for success, but assuming these to be in place, getting traffic to your site is probably the number one issue facing most online businesses. So, as everyone is in agreement about this key need, let’s get down to the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of how to increase traffic flow. You may be just starting out with your new site, eager to tell the world about your product, or you may be a well-established ‘old-timer’ trying daily to find new ways of getting your message out there. Which ever you are, the fact remains that you are faced with a very competitive marketplace. To succeed requires constant re-evaluation of your market and to find new and improved ways of getting that traffic to your site. Whenever possible, the best place to be is one step ahead of your competition. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and improve on them. Don’t just copy others’ ideas, find a new twist, a new angle a unique way of drawing people to you. It’s so often the most simple measures that carry the gold and within a very short time, your site can be receiving hits like never before. To get things rolling and start prompting a stream of ever-increasing awareness (and therefore traffic) to your site, here are some essential tools for making that truly possible; 1. Write some good, useful, inspirational articles to direct traffic to your site Do your research, See what information people are searching for, both through the search engines and in the forums. Submit these articles to article directories, ezines and to other sites who are in a similar market to your own. Always, include your details and the all important URL of your site, in the resource box. Try not to make the article appear as an obvious advertisement of your product or business , but as a source of valuable information which others will find of use. This way, you will be respected for your knowledge and promote interest in both you and what you’re involved with. People will want to check you out! 2. Spend a little money and start some good advertising campaigns This is by far the fastest and most effective way of directing targeted traffic to your site. Both Goggles’ Adwords and Yahoos’ Overture are the indisputable leaders in this field. An ad with either of these guys will give you immediate exposure to a waiting world of budding customers. Just follow the simple rules and guidelines laid down for each and you could soon be receiving a vast return on your initial investment. Start slowly with a small daily budget and ‘tweek’ as your campaign unfolds. 3. Optimize your web pages Again, do your research and make sure that you have the best keywords on your pages. Search engines look for these keywords and with them, determine your sites’ ranking in their lists. The right words in the right place can shoot you to the higher listings and get you seen more easily when people search. There’ s lots of information on the web on how to achieve this if you want to do it for yourself. Alternatively, you may wish to use a paid service for even better results. 4. Trading Links with other sites By getting your site listed on another person’s site you are multiplying your exposure in an instant. Any visitor to either site is immediately presented with the other persons’ URL after just one search. Each sites efforts have a double effect by generating potential traffic to either site. Apply this across a few sites and you can see how dramatic the effect can be. 5. Start Some Viral Marketing As the name suggests, this is all about starting a virus, spreading from person to person, site to site – only, you are the source of the virus and it has your name on it! Write a report, ebook, article or whatever and give it away for free. Just ensure that your link is on or within the report, etc. so that all people who have access to it are directed back to your site. This can be one of the most effective free traffic-generating methods available to you. Be creative, send it out and wait for the results. 6. Start An Ezine or Online Newsletter Once you begin to tell people about yourself, they soon begin to develop a relationship with you and feel that they can trust you. Keeping people informed through a newsletter will depend this relationship, create long-standing customers for you and will encourage these customers to tell others about you, bringing further traffic to your site. 7. Participating In Forums Forums or online communities are places where people of a similar nature and interest come together to share news and exchange ideas. In these places, it is possible for you to show your expertise and skills and establish yourself as someone worth listening to. People start to trust you and look to you for some of the answers to their needs. Through this, traffic to your site will naturally occur. Again, be yourself, do not try to sell in these places simply allow others to seek you out. 8. Offline Advertising Often overlooked by web-based businesses, this can be a highly effective way of boosting your traffic. Bumper stickers, business cards, ads in shops, fliers are but a few ways of getting your word out. Be creative and let people know you are in business. 9. Email Signatures. Every time you send an email you are contacting a potential customer, whether they know it or not. By placing a simple one line ad with your URL at then end of every email you are projecting your existence to anyone curious to find out more. Don’t miss out on this simple but powerful free tool. Getting traffic to your site does not have to be an expensive business. With consistency and patience, using just a few of the above techniques can have traffic knocking at your door in no time at all. Structure your approach and follow a plan, learn from your efforts and reap the rewards.