15 Best Free Traffic Sources to Scale Your Website
If you’ve got a website, you need website traffic. Fortunately, there are plenty of free traffic sources that can help bring visitors or customers to your site.
In this guide, we’ll break down the fifteen best free traffic sources to help your website grow and be profitable.
- 🏆 Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Build an email list
- Write guest posts
- Use social media
- Use Pinterest
- Utilize Reddit
- Start a YouTube channel
- Start a podcast
- Don’t sleep on direct traffic
- Answer questions on Quora
- Write an eBook
- Leverage influencers
- Forum marketing
- Publish a press release
- Raid the comment section
First, let’s take a step back and define some key terms, starting with what I mean when I say “free traffic sources.”
What Are Free Traffic Sources?
A free traffic source is anything that drives traffic (i.e., users) to your site without you spending a dime. Free traffic sources can be anything from another website to a search engine to a business card with your website’s name on it. Basically, anything that connects people with your website is a traffic source.
On that note, every time someone visits your site — whether they typed in the URL, searched on Google, or clicked a link in an article — there’s a traffic source that got them there.
As a website owner, it’s your job to capitalize on these sources to make your site as accessible and profitable as possible.
The good news is that you don’t need to cough up money to do this effectively. Free traffic sources are readily available and can help you improve your engagement without spending a dime.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s take a look at the most effective free traffic source strategies that you can implement right
15 Best Free Traffic Sources for Your Website
Here are our top free traffic sources for websites.
🏆 1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy with a single aim: to get your website as high as possible in Google’s search results.
It’s a simple concept and probably the best free traffic source you can hope to find. Google alone estimates that it fields more than 5 billion searches per day. The more visible your site is to search engines, the more likely people are to find it.
Website views resulting from a Bing or Google search are known as organic traffic — and that’s precisely the type of website traffic you want. Customers who find you through a search engine are already looking for what you provide, leading to higher conversion rates.
On the other hand, paid traffic is when you pay for ads that viewers click on to view your website. Paid traffic can still be a very effective monetization strategy if you understand how media buying works.
Truth be told, SEO isn’t easy. Working your way up to a top-ranking term takes a lot of time and dedication. In other cases, it’s downright impossible to rank for certain terms.
This is because bots and algorithms power search engines, and it requires constant attention and fresh content to stay on their radar. Also, in some cases, millions of other websites are competing for the same coveted keywords.
To get started with SEO, here are a few key things you should do:
- Publish new content regularly
- Do keyword research and incorporate relevant keywords into your content
- Research and understand search engine algorithms
- Find a niche — the more unique your content is, the less competition there will be
- Always produce useful, high-quality content
- Ensure that your website is SEO-optimized using a tool like Yoast
2. Build an email list
Email is one of the most effective ways to attract people to your site. By building a list of email addresses, you can keep your audience engaged and let them know about special offers and new content.
Unlike SEO, email marketing focuses on retaining your current audience rather than attracting a new one. With this in mind, the two strategies are best used together — SEO to get them in the door and email marketing to keep them there.
Sounds great, right?
But let’s address the obvious question: How do you get ahold of all those email addresses?
If you currently run a website, chances are you already have an opt-in form to collect contact information. The key is to make it worth people’s while to hand over their information, which you can do with a lead magnet.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a lead magnet is anything that entices your site visitors to sign up. It could be a discount, access to exclusive content, or free entry into a raffle — whatever you want.
Once you’ve built up a solid list, you can look into email automation tools like Constant Contact to routinely send your subscribers relevant content. You can even create a referral program that offers readers an incentive to share your website with their friends.
3. Write guest posts
Appearing as a guest blogger on a popular site can have a huge impact on your site’s traffic — especially if your content is complementary.
This will take some networking since you can’t just walk into any website and demand a guest spot. The key to guest posting is to make it mutually beneficial. You’ll want to make sure that the content you provide is high-quality and will help drive traffic for the site you’re writing for.
And of course, the more views you can generate on your guest post, the higher the chance that you’ll get hits on your site through backlinks. This is what’s known as referral traffic.
Furthermore, when you publish content under your byline on a highly trafficked website, it helps your website’s SEO ranking. That’s because, in Google’s eyes, you’re likely to be a person of authority on that particular topic if you’re publishing content on a well-respected website.
To get started with guest blogging, make a list of sites you think would be a good fit. Be sure to understand what they’re about and reach out directly with a collaboration proposal.
4. Use social media
If you aren’t already using social networks to reach your target audience, you’re falling behind.
Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have billions of users and are huge free traffic sources that will continue to grow.
Of course, social media doesn’t drive the same quality of traffic as search engines. But as far as free sources go, it can be a highly effective tactic.
The best social network to focus on depends on your target audience. If your site is intended to attract younger people, you’ll probably want to focus on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. On the other hand, if your site is geared toward professionals, LinkedIn might be a better fit.
5. Use Pinterest
Bookmark sites like Pinterest can have a huge effect on traffic. By creating visually alluring pins, you can create a new traffic source and expand your rank on search engines.
The key is to use enticing images that encourage Pinterest users to click into them and share them on their own boards. By attaching the link of your site or blog to the image, you’ll get hits every time someone engages with it.
Pinterest is the best fit for lifestyle content – think fashion, cooking, interior design, or travel.
6. Utilize Reddit
With more than 50 million daily active users, Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the internet. The behemoth message board host is a hotbed of information and a great place to attract an audience.
Reddit consists of an endless variety of forums called subreddits. No matter what your subject is, odds are there’s a subreddit dedicated to it.
To use Reddit to drive traffic, you’ll want to be strategic. Find a subreddit that fits your website’s niche, and be sure to share quality content so that other users are encouraged to promote it for you.
You’ll also need to be careful. Certain subreddits have strict rules against self-promotion or marketing, so make sure that you understand the guidelines within any forum.
7. Start a YouTube channel
Another great way to direct people to your site is with a YouTube channel. Video content can help engage your current audience in a different way and find new people who haven’t found your site on their own.
Ideally, the content you put out on YouTube will directly align with your website’s subject matter. That way, you’ll be drawing in viewers who are likely to be interested in your website’s content. Of course, you can also embed YouTube videos directly into your site.
Building up a YouTube following can take some time. As such, you can’t expect to start pulling in huge numbers overnight. That said, if you regularly add engaging video content, you should see your views grow.
Your YouTube channel could consist of tutorials, reviews, or whatever is relevant with your subject matter. Once you have a decent number of subscribers, you can link your website or blog in the video itself and in the description.
8. Start a podcast
A podcast can serve as a form of content marketing in the same way a YouTube channel can. The idea is to draw people in with valuable content that incentivizes them to dive deeper into what you have to offer.
There are a couple of different ways that a podcast can help drive traffic.
First, if you can host the podcast on your site, subscribers will have to head your way to find it. You can also push listeners toward your site with the subject matter in each episode.
For example, maybe you refer to infographics that they can check out for themselves or a certain video that they can watch.
Ideally, your website and your podcast will work hand in hand. Each one should serve the other so you can increase your subscriber base on both.
9. Don’t sleep on direct traffic
Direct traffic results from someone reaching a site by typing in the URL or clicking a previously bookmarked page.
If you’re starting a new website, think long and hard about your domain name. Will it be easy to remember or will someone need to perform a Google search whenever they want to find it?
To capitalize on direct traffic, you also have to make sure that your website is well-formatted and properly functioning. If the user lands on your site and finds it confusing or has trouble navigating it, they’re likely to click away and visit a competitor’s site.
Aside from consistently producing quality content, your website’s name can make a huge difference on how much direct traffic you get. And remember that effective domains are short, catchy, and easy to remember.
10. Answer questions on Quora
If you’ve ever typed a question into a search engine, you’re probably familiar with Quora, which is a simple question-and-answer community that allows people to share knowledge and find answers.
Quora is the highest-ranking website of its kind and is now one of the most popular websites in the world. But how can it help drive traffic to your site?
Quora is free to use, so you can easily join the community and answer questions that relate to your website content or domain expertise. When you provide thoughtful answers, there’s a chance that thousands of question-seekers will view your Quora profile and want to learn more from you.
If this interests you, start by thoroughly answering the question asked, and include only content that adds value to your answer. With more than 300 million monthly active users, Quora is a massive pool of potential website visitors.
11. Write an eBook
Writing an eBook does a couple of positive things for your website.
First, it legitimizes your content and positions you as an expert and authority on your subject. And when your audience hits your landing page and sees that you have an eBook, folks will be more inclined to value your content.
A successful eBook also gives you an edge in driving new traffic. For example, if you publish your eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct, you can include information about your website in your author bio — creating yet another free traffic source.
I’m not saying that this is an easy route — writing a good book takes time, research, and a ton of editing. But if you can pull it off, it can significantly boost your traffic numbers.
12. Leverage influencers
As social media continues to expand, so does the impact of influencers.
Most influencers make their living by seeking out paid sponsorships, where a company pays them to talk about a product or service on their channels. But we’re here to talk about free traffic sources, right?
Not all influencers command high rates for sponsored posts. Only top accounts have this type of reach, so you can seek out smaller accounts for a better deal.
For example, if you have an eCommerce site, you can offer free products, discount codes, or guest blogging opportunities to the influencer in exchange for promoting your website or product.
The key is to target influencers that fit your particular niche. For example, if you sell clothes, you’ll want a fashion-focused influencer. If your site sells kitchen gadgets, a food blogger would be a natural fit.
13. Forum marketing
Similar to using Reddit, you can also seek out specific online forums that directly relate to your site’s content.
Forums are reliable because you can find an audience that’s already highly engaged with your niche. For example, if your website focuses on fantasy football advice, you can easily find forums where people are already talking about it.
Each forum has different rules on sponsored content, so again, it’s important to approach this type of outreach with a plan. Don’t just drop a link and say “visit my site.”
Make sure that any content you publish is valuable to readers and you’ll have a better shot at growing your audience.
14. Publish a press release
Press releases are a professional, time-tested channel for spreading the word about your business.
The goal of a press release is to generate buzz and drive traffic to your website through backlinks. Plus, press releases can easily compound into other traffic sources. You’ll cast a wider SEO net and new readers can easily share the information on social media.
To create a successful press release, you’ll need a few things. First, find a journalist or publication that’s willing to work with you and understand what you’re about. Keep it brief but exciting, and highlight your site’s particular story and the unique experience you offer.
In most cases, you’ll have to pay upfront for the press release — even if you write it yourself since you’ll have to pay for placement. But the traffic you’ll receive thereafter comes at no cost.
15. Raid the comment section
When all else fails, head to the comment section.
It might seem silly, but providing information and links in the comment section on applicable sites is a proven free traffic strategy. It’s quick, easy, and could help you find some high-quality visitors.
Comment sections will never get you the same level of traction as other sources. But they can still have an impact when used correctly.
In general, you should approach this method in the same way as answering a question on Quora. Address the problem, provide a solution, and drop a link. If the information is useful, readers will take advantage of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about free traffic sources.
What are the best free traffic sources?
Organic searches on Google, by far. Google Analytics indicates that more than half of all site traffic comes from search engines, making SEO the most lucrative target for free traffic.
That said, it shouldn’t be your only focus. As mentioned above, organic SEO is super competitive, and it takes years of time and energy to master. With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to put time into both SEO and other strategies.
How do you create a traffic source?
No matter which direction you go in, it all starts with content. Even the best marketing strategy won’t hold up if your content is sub-par, so crafting high-quality content should always be your first focus.
Like the saying from Field of Dreams, if you build it (i.e., a high-quality website), they will come (i.e., the readers).
Once you have traffic, you can collect emails of new users that visit your site to build a secondary traffic source: email marketing. It’s free to collect emails, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for email software like Constant Contact.
The Bottom Line
No matter what anyone tells you, you don’t need to shell out cash to start driving traffic right now.
You can generate free website traffic for your online business by implementing any of the ideas I’ve covered here. It won’t happen overnight, but with a careful strategy and dedication to quality content, there’s no reason that you can’t expand your audience.
If financial freedom is what you’re after, you’re already on the right track.
The online world is fast-paced, competitive, and ever-changing, but with the right plan, you can bring people in and make your mark.
What are you waiting for? Get after it — and I hope to stumble across some of your content soon.