1/8/08

How Not to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

I don't know if most bloggers want to make money online, but I'm one who does. A key element in getting people to click on your ads is driving traffic to your site, and that's what I'd like to talk about here--sort of. I'm a newbie, and as yet, while slowly building, my traffic is but a small drip. But I've already figured out how not to get traffic to your site. That's what I'd like to talk about here.

Like many others, I started a blog, put up a couple of posts, and then was disappointed that the hits didn't come gushing in. Off to Google I went, searching for methods to get more traffic to my site. I turned up many recommendations. Yeah, yeah, quality content. But that takes time, and I want traffic now! I don't really care whether people actually read my stuff, I thought, I just want them to click on the ads. (Google, I found out later, does not like accidental ad clicks, which is understandable, especially from the advertiser's perspective.)

To this end, I found sites such as blogexplosion.com, linkreferral.com, and freeviral.com, among many others. They all promise--and deliver--lots of traffic. Their basic functions are the same. You register, submit your site, and then earn credits by surfing other members' sites. This is how they get hits. The more credits you earn, the more hits your site will get, because credits affect how often your page is viewed by other members, who are themselves earning credits.

Blogexplosion has a mechanism by which you must stay at each blog for 30 seconds. Linkreferral just wants you to open a certain number of pages, and review a few. Freeviral has some sort of weird pyramid scheme involving links, pop-ups and pop-unders.

I developed a method of viewing multiple blogs at once, to generate as many credits as possible in as short a time as possible. I'm a slacker, after all. I'd log on to several of the traffic referral sites in different windows, and in each window I opened multiple tabs. I didn't read a single blog, not that I cared to, but got a boatload of credits.

Looking at my traffic stats, which showed a huge spike, I discovered that others were employing the same methods. Sure, I received many new visitors, but they all stayed for 0 to 30 seconds (depending on which traffic site they came from). No one read a single thing, and, of course, no one clicked on any ads.

In retrospect, I'm glad they didn't. Looking over Google's Terms of Service (TOS) for Adsense, it's pretty clear that using traffic referring sites such as the ones mentioned above is a violation. Many people have found out the hard way, losing all their meager earnings.

In short, while traffic building sites get you hits, they are a waste of time--time that you could spend building quality content.