Free online traffic is the Holy Grail of any online business. If you can get it, free traffic promises to pour out endless leads, nourish sales, increase the size of your audience, and quench the thirst of any struggling marketing campaign.
But is free traffic a real thing? And if it’s not a modern myth, how do you get it? And if it is possible to get, what's the best way?
Well, I’m going to answer these questions for you. So, grab yourself a cup of Jo, and let’s dive into this cup of dough.
The Truth About Free Traffic
First things first, we need to make sure you have a clear understanding of free online traffic, even if it seems self-explanatory.
As a broad term, free online traffic refers to any visits to your website that result from an unpaid source. It means the visitor “stumbled” upon your website somehow, as opposed to you paying to place an ad of some sort right in front of them.
Note that I put “stumbled” in quotations— because getting free traffic is all about pushing traffic to your site rather than a visitor stumbling upon it. It just feels like stumbling to the visitor. In actuality, you place the rock they stumble on in their path.
Most free website traffic falls under two categories of traffic: organic and social media traffic. You can think of them as the two most popular paths to place your rocks in.
Organic (Search Engine) Traffic
Visitors find your website by unpaid search engine results
e.g., They type something into Google and your website pops up.
Social Media Traffic
Visitors find their way to your website through links on Social Media platforms
e.g., They see a post on Instagram or Facebook that mentions your website,
and they go check you out.
It is possible to appear at the top of Google results and on people’s social media feeds for free. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to post on Facebook.
But that raises the question… if you can get to the top of Google results without buying ad space or you can reach people on social media without buying ads, then why do Google ads and Facebook ads even exist?
Is free web traffic even a real thing, or is it as elusive as the Holy Grail it’s touted to be?
Is Free Online Traffic a Real Thing?
Yes, free traffic is a real thing! You can get free traffic to your website a million different ways.
Some popular ways to get free visitors are to:
If you’re anything like my dad, you might be saying, “Nothing comes for free, Devon, and some of those things on your list cost money!”
Well, dad, you’re right, and you’re wrong. Yes, investing in SEO can cost (a lot) of money, but you can actually just invest time and do it yourself with free online tools and some instructional YouTube videos. But that’s not the point.
Remember, when referring to free website traffic, we’re referring to not paying directly for that “click” or visitor. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to invest any money into it or, more to the point, TIME!
We’ll dive into the TIME investment part of things more in just a minute, but I want to answer your other question first…
Free online is NOT as elusive as the Holy Grail!
In fact, there is a clear path that leads to free online traffic. The only hitch is, that path is very long!
The Free Traffic "Catch"
When you think of free traffic, I want you to think of another concept that you’re probably more familiar with: sweat equity.
Sweat equity refers to the benefits gained from investing time and labor into a project rather than money. The term is most often used when talking about increasing the value of your home. For example, taking the time to repaint yourself instead of hiring a professional adds sweat equity to your house.
Most people consider sweat equity as a way to add value to your house for “free.”
<Insert dad-voice here> “But painting your house yourself isn’t free, Devon!”
Yet again, you’re right, dad. But for the cost of a gallon of paint and a few hours of my time, I can get the same results as hiring a professional. And, I get the same results for A LOT less money. It mainly just cost me time.
Therein lies the TRUTH of free website traffic:
Free website traffic COSTS TIME
Just like sweat equity takes time, so does attracting free website traffic. You have to be consistent, and you have to be patient. You can’t paint half the wall and then schedule an open house. You have to paint the entire room to the best of your ability before you attract any buyers.
You have to invest a lot of time over a significant time period before you'll be able to get those 500 or 1,000 visitors a day you've been dreaming of. In most cases, you shouldn’t expect any noticeable difference in your website traffic for at least four to six months! In fact, if you see any significant increase in your traffic within a year, you should be jumping for joy.
If you’re not willing to invest TIME and BE PATIENT, you should just opt for paid traffic. Heck, you can get a side job at Mickey D’s to pay for the paid ads if you want.
BUT, if you do invest the time and are patient, you will reap huge rewards from free traffic. Because do you know the best thing about free traffic? (And no, it’s not that it’s free.)
The best thing about free traffic is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Once you achieve a top spot on Google results, the visits to your website will continue to increase. Once you gain traction on social media, you’ll continue to get shares.
With paid ads, you have to keep paying to get the same results! With free traffic, it starts to work for you at a diminishing investment!
How to Get Free Traffic to Your Website
As I mentioned earlier, there are a million ways to attract free traffic to your website: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, guess commenting on blogs, LinkedIn, Instagram, and a ton of others.
But before you get started creating accounts with all of these platforms, the first thing you should know is that MORE is LESS!
In other words, the more free traffic methods you try to do simultaneously, the shittier your results will be.
So whatever you do, do NOT try to do them all!
Heck, don’t even try to do three of them!
My advice to you is to start by focusing on ONE method.
Which method you choose will depend on one of two factors:
1. Where your audience is hanging out.
2. What your natural strengths/weaknesses are.
If, for example, your audience is women who are in the Arts & Crafts space, then Pinterest may be the best first place for you to focus on.
If, however, your online business has to do with teaching people how to workout properly & reach their fitness goals, then posting instructional videos on YouTube may be your best bet.
The point is this: Find out where your audience is hanging out, and start there. Just make sure your business isn't too broad or you'll never be able to find who you're looking for.
Assuming your audience is hanging out multiple places, then my advice to you is to to choose the free traffic method that is most appealing to you and plays to your strengths.
If you don’t like to be in the spotlight and are introverted, creating a YouTube channel probably isn’t your best choice. But, perhaps becoming really involved in online forums related to your business is the perfect fit.
If you love making how-to videos and being on camera makes you light up, then why waste your time on Twitter when you should be You-Tubing it up?
My point is simply that if you choose a free traffic method that involves daily tasks that you hate, then you'll never be consistent. So choose the one that is the easiest and most fun for you.
Once you've chosen the method you're going to focus on, find someone to show you how to do it properly. Seriously, don't try to figure this stuff out for yourself. This stuff is a pain in the butt to do right. A quick YouTube search will give you access to instructional videos that will show you how to shave months off of your learning curve.
Whichever method you choose, focus on it for 6-12 months. Because, to be honest, you’ll probably suck at it for the first 3 months. So, you’ll need to keep creating content (e.g., YouTube videos) and keep improving as you go. By the end of the year, you’ll have a full library of YouTube videos that started as okay but are mostly great now.
Once you get gangster as hell at that one method, THEN move onto another appealing method. I also recommend factoring in which method will tie in best with the method you just mastered.
For instance, if you mastered YouTube videos, now may be the time to master managing a Facebook Group where you can share your videos.
Now, for the next 6-12 months, continue to add to your first method but focus on your second method. Rinse and repeat, and the free website traffic will eventually (and often suddenly) start to pour in.
Just stay consistent and be patient, and you WILL get free traffic.
See How It's Done
Even though this is partially self-serving, I strongly encourage you to check out the Devon Brown YouTube Channel and Awesome On Stage Facebook Group. You can see how I am focusing on these methods (along with this blog) to drive traffic to my website. You can even see how I am improving over time.
So, check them out, join and subscribe for more great examples, tips, and encouragement.
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