Forest Software

Web, SEO and IT & Business Advice for the Smaller Business

How do I get traffic to my website?

This is a question we are asked many times, both by existing and prospective clients.

There are several ways to get people to visit your website, many of which will cost you either time or money. This article looks at the most commonly used methods and makes a few suggestions that you may want to consider.

1. Search Engine traffic.

Increase Website Visitors : ?? Photographer: Robert Mizerek | Agency: Dreamstime.comThis is the "holy grail" of web sites. Good positions on search engine results should mean a good number of visitors to the site, and hopefully a good number of these visitors will convert into customers (after all they are looking for the product or service that your web site deals in).

Many people see this, organic listings, as free traffic, however they forget that they may have had to work hard to get their websites onto the first page or they may have had to pay a SEO professional or company to do the work on their behalf. The other thing to consider is the number of search phrases that you would want to appear on the first page for (notice we said phrases, very few people search for single words in search engines, with the majority using between 2 and 4 words in a phrase), can you get your site to the top of the results for each phrase?

2. Pay Per Click traffic.

These are the adverts that appear on many of the search engines (normally displayed as sponsored links or some such wording) and other web sites. An example is the Google Adwords system where you appear on the Google sites and external sites that display Google Adsense adverts. In the main, you decide on a list of key phrases and how much you want to pay each time someone clicks on your "advert". Many of the PPC companies allow you to set either a daily or monthly budget for the campaign.

Again, you also have to factor in the cost of either running the campaign yourself or paying someone else to do so. It is important that results and costs are monitored on a regular basis (some would argue daily) to get the best from the money being spent.

An advantage of PPC is that it can be turned on and off very quickly and can be useful if you have special offers or need a boost in sales at the end of the month for example.

3. Links from other websites

If you can get good links from other relevant high traffic sites you may well find that you get a considerable number of visitors. You may be very lucky and have a site that is mentioned on the BBC website in the UK for example, maybe related to a news article. Sites such as the BBC get a very high number of visitors and if it's a major news story you may well find that your site gets many new visitors looking for more information. You may even find your site or business discussed on blogs around the world.

Of course, such a thing is not likely to happen very often. However, if you can get press releases onto newspaper or trade magazines this might be a way to increase traffic to your site.

It is even possible to buy links from other web sites, although you should be careful that the sites you are purchasing links from are relevant and will provide good quality traffic to your own site. You should also remember that any links that are brought should be marked as no follow as failing to do this breaks the Google guidelines as they see it as an attempt to manipulate rankings (which it may or may not be), you can read more about the guidelines on the Google site here.

4. Buying traffic

There are many web sites that offer to sell you traffic to your own site. These can be either targeted visitors (for example if you are launching a new site about Real Estate you can sometimes find sites willing to sell you traffic from people looking for new houses). This targeted traffic is much better than the second option which is untargeted. In this case the site will send a given number of visitors to your site, some of whom may be interested in your site but many of whom will not be.

5. Off-line adverts

It may be that you can run an advert in a national paper or trade magazine that will generate traffic to your web site. In this case, as you are controlling the wording on the advert you are more likely to get targeted traffic to your site. Of course, adverts in national papers or magazines are likely to cost several thousand pounds.

6. Competitions

Here in the UK recently Walkers Crisps ran a competition to win a i-pod every 5 minutes for a month. They had a special website built and would have attracted 100,000’s if not millions of visitors to the site during that month.

Likewise, recently a competition was held on Classic FM radio where you had to log on to a website to answer a question to win a keyboard. While this is unlikely to have attracted the same number of visitors as the Walkers Crisps competition it is also unlikely to have cost the same to have run and provide the prizes.

It may be possible for you to run a similar competition, for example if you are a car hire company you might be able to provide a top range hire car for a week, if you are a garage maybe you could provide servicing for a year, a theatre could provide tickets for a show etc. If you publicise the event event well and get the local press involved you could end up attracting a large number of visitors.

7. Viral marketing

This term relates to you having something so good on your website that people tell others about it. Maybe you have a game that is just too good to stop playing, or you may be the only source of a product that is very popular (do you have access to this Christmas’s "must have" toy for example).

The trick with viral marketing to to provide something that others want to tell their friends about.


The saying "If you build it, they will come" used to be true for web sites, sadly nowadays you need to be able to attract people to your website. As can be seen above, there are many ways to do this, each of which has a cost involved.

Of course, getting new people to visit your site is only the start, what you really want is those people coming back to the site time and time again. This is where good website design and content comes into play. If the site is easy to use and gives the visitor what they want people are more likely to come back again.

Follow us on Twitter