There are several ways of getting traffic for free.
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Search engines are a major source of free traffic. This is why you need to work at optimizing your site to ensure it ranks well for your targeted keywords. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most powerful method for getting free traffic and you have to invest time and effort in optimizing your site.
Update site content frequently
One of the basic steps for getting traffic is simply to get great content and regularly update it. In SEO, content is king. If you have quality content which is regularly updated, you will have a following of repeat visitors who will frequently come to view what is new. Search engines will also be drawn to your site.
Utilize social bookmarking sites
Social bookmarking sites, particularly the most popular ones, are a great way of getting free traffic. Such sites include Digg and Delicious.
Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts
Social networks are another source of free traffic. If you have a following on networks such as Facebook or Twitter, the traffic you get from these sources can easily exceed the traffic from search engines such as Google. Building a large network of targeted supporters on Facebook and followers on Twitter takes much time and effort, but the results are worth it.
Link with related sites
Getting links with sites in your niche is good for SEO, especially if you get links which don't have the nofollow attribute. But even when the links are nofollow, thus useless for SEO, they can still help attract traffic to your site. If you can position your link in a visible place on a website with high traffic, you can receive hundreds of hits from this link only. However, caution is necessary because linking with bad neighbors can cause trouble.
Use every opportunity for free promotion
Free promotion is always useful, so don't ignore it. There are many methods of promoting your site for free and some of the most common include submission to directories, free classified ads, and inclusion in particular listings. It is a fact that not all free methods of promotion work well, but if you choose the right places for promotion, this can bring in lots of traffic.
Create a free service or product
Content draws most traffic when give away something useful. There are many kinds of useful content you could create and they mostly depend on your site's niche. You cab have articles with lots of advice, but a powerful way of getting traffic is creating a free service or product. When the service or product becomes popular and visitors start coming to your site, it is likely they will visit other parts of the site as well.