There is only one reason you get traffic to your website (excluding SPAM based initiatives as we do not use or support any black-hat techniques). It is not about functionality, it’s not about good graphics or design. These are important but are all after the fact aspects as they do not come into play until a visitor has already landed at your page. You might only do minimal market research and analysis and you might even have started form the point of pushing a new idea or product that no one knows anything about.
In a paper presented by sociologist Mark Granovetter in 1973, “The Strength of Weak Ties”, he postulated that when it comes to new things it was not so much the people you knew that best promoted these things it was those you didn’t know who were most important. To explain this very simply, those we know are a close-knit circle of groups and all the information known by these groups as a whole is known by those in the groups. To find new information or to spread such information we need to go to new groups. So, to get back to my original point; we want to find “The Secret” of attracting traffic to your website. Well as with most secrets, it is badly kept and in fact it isn’t much of a secret at all, we simply fail to see what is before us.
We have our blinkers on and are so busy looking for the deep and meaningful explanation. It simply boils down to offering something that is of sufficient interest to a group of people that they then want to share this “new information” with others of a similar ilk who also knew nothing of this new information.
This is the principal of “viral marketing” as extolled by Seth Goddin in his book “The Purple Cow” (a must read for everyone – read my review here)
Some of the highest traffic sites for businesses attain such traffic not directly through their products or services but by simply including something on one of their web pages that is highly attractive or of interest to wider community. Many thousands of web sites use this to drive traffic to their sites with offers of free services but make their money from referral traffic. You probably won’t have anything as big as these types of sites but you can create something as simple as having a book available form your site.
So if you need traffic – just think of putting something on your site that is of “viral” interest.