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My 2003 Top 10 Traffic Sources

By Jim Daniels
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2004

About half-way through each year I like to take a close look at my stats to get a handle on my best traffic sources. My two busiest websites, and receive thousands of visitors a day, and WHERE the traffic comes from is always changing.
As usual, this year has brought a few surprises. Of course, I still rely on low-cost and no-cost traffic sources, but the top performers are not the same as last year. I'd like to share those sources with you today.

I think you'll find this list interesting. And who knows, you may even find a new way to get targeted traffic to your websites.

1. Affiliates
My number one traffic source again this year is my affiliates. In fact, my affiliates send thousands of visitors a day to my sites. Perhaps that's because I keep my affiliate network small by inviting only my customers to participate. This keeps competition to a minimum and rewards active affiliates more handsomely.

If you have not started an affiliate program for your best products and services, I highly recommend you do so. Although there are some costs involved with starting your own affiliate program, it is well worth it. Justify the expense by telling yourself that you are hiring thousands of sales people and paying them only when they sell. A web based affiliate program is just that.

Note: The software program I use to run my affiliate program is called Your Own Affiliate Program - Paul Galloway, the creator is a real wiz. Incidentally, if you run a rather large site and need someone to handle technical issues, Paul has just gone "for hire" at:

2. A Traffic Network?

OK, why the question mark? Well, this one even surprised me. I've never been a big fan of start networks or traffic exchange programs, but I'm glad I tried one called TrafficSwarm. It quickly developed into my number two traffic source of the year. There are lots of traffic networks to choose from on the web, and the few I had tried never impressed me. But this one now delivers an average of 500 highly targeted visitors a day to my sites. I now have a PRO account and at just thirty bucks a month it has been a self-propelled traffic generator. I do nothing. It sends traffic. I recommend it to any webmaster on a tight budget. TrafficSwarm

3. Repeat Visitors
A perennial top performer is "repeat visitors." You know, people coming to my site who have already been there before. This is something you used to hear marketing experts talk about a lot. Now, it seems that the value of repeat visitors has been overlooked. Yet repeat visitors are usually the people who end up making purchases at your site. And there are lots of ways to get these valuable repeat visitors. I get most of mine through my follow-up autoresponders ( thank you ) and also through my free ebooks and my BizWeb eGazette opt-in newsletter. I suggest you look at these strategies closely and try similar strategies if you are not already doing so.

4. Google
In fourth place this year, and still delivering heavy traffic is Google. The web's top search engine really delivers a high quantity of high-quality traffic to my sites. In fact, I've managed to help a growing number of my members grow their google traffic as well. There are no tricks to it either. It really is as simple as taking the recommendations directly from Google's site and then making sure your site is properly optimized with the right keywords for your niche. If you are a member of my private site, you'll find a case study of one of my client sites and her google efforts at (Non-members see to get a two year membership.)

This one is new to my top 10 list this year, primarily because it did not exist a year ago. Ken McArthur and I dreamed it up and implemented it in 2002. In a nutshell, it is a web based resource that automates the tedious process of affiliate marketing. And it can generate some serious traffic to any site you want. Since it is viral, it is something you can set up and then let run on auto-pilot. And that's pretty much what I've done. Yet it continues to grow a steady stream of traffic to my sites. At the very least grab the no-cost version and give it a try.

6. Reciprocal Links
Do not let the number six ranking here fool you. Trading links with other webmasters has far more value than just the direct traffic they deliver. In fact, every targeted link you secure from a related website will help you improve your ranking in the major search engines. So if you do not have a link strategy in place already, NOW is the time to start. In my opinion, the very best place to start is the URL I introduced last week -- a site that shows people ethical, legitimate, REAL methods of getting great links to a website, no matter what their site sells...

7. Yahoo
OK, maybe I get still a lot of traffic from Yahoo because they are still using the Google database in their search results. But I do not regret paying their hefty submission fee a few years ago. They are still one of the web's highest traffic sites and a good listing there is still worth the money. I expect that as they change things over the coming year, the value of that listing will increase even further.

8. MSN

Yep, is finally making a dent in the search engine market, and they are making a concerted effort to expand in that area. In fact, I've already seen traffic to my sites from grow steadily, especially over the past few months. So if you have not added your URL to their engine, you may want to consider doing it soon. You can get your site into the MSN search engine as well as HotBot, Overture, Excite and About by using Inktomi's submit service. (Currently $39 for the first URL.)

9. Paid Advertising
Yes, I do actually spend money on advertising occasionally. In fact, I receive a few hundred visitors a month from PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. The sites I use are and They do deliver solid traffic but my conversion rate seems to be lower with PPC advertising than with my other strategies. Therefore I do not rely too heavily on it. Another source of paid advertising I use is Topica's opt-in email newsletter network. Though results from them have hit somewhat of a plateau, they do still deliver cost-effective traffic. I also use a variety of other opt-in email newsletters. To find newsletters that reach your target market, check out:

10. Articles
I have to admit, I've been lazy with this promotion strategy this year. I only write a newsletter every month (a few years ago I wrote one every week) so I have not submitted articles to other ezines as often this year. But this strategy still works well when I find time to do it, and I highly recommend it to other grass-roots web marketers. In fact, even though I have submitted only a few articles all year, I still get quite a bit of traffic from my archived articles across the web. That just goes to prove how effective this strategy is for long-term traffic, as well as establishing expertise on your topic of choice. If I ever decide to spend more time at the computer than on the golf course I'll make this one of the things I pick up the pace on. ;-)

2004 Traffic Sources Being Tested...

Naturally, in the fast paced web environment, things change quickly. So I am already trying new traffic sources for next year's report. I'm confident that a few new techniques will make the list.

So you can get an idea of what other strategies I'm trying, see the example below. (You may want to try this too, while it is still new...)

ExactSeek Feature Listings:
If you have not heard of ExactSeek yet, it is just a matter of time. ExactSeek has an Alexa ranking of 2,355 surpassing WhatuSeek, ScrubtheWeb and many other second tier search engines. I chatted with the owner Mel Strocen and he is shooting to reach the Top 500 in the next 6 months. (And he has a knack for reaching his web marketing goals.)

Mel's ExactSeek now offers "Featured Ad boxes" that are seen on two other engines, and Plus, the ExactSeek search form can be found on thousands of other web sites. That is the main reason I'm trying this strategy. Not only can I capitalize on ExactSeek's rising prominence, I can get my ad on literally 1000's of other sites in the process.

If you want to try ExactSeek's Featured Listings, Mel set up this special link so my subscribers could get a few added bonuses:

About The Author
Article by Jim Daniels of BizWeb2000. If you're interested in starting or growing a business on the Internet, Jim's sites will help you save time and money. He's been making a living online since 1996 and knows the ropes. Visit Jim and get your free help!


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