How To Get Traffic To Your Websites

It’s probably the most sought-after topic in Internet marketing – how to get more traffic to your websites.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling your own products, promoting affiliate offers or looking for AdSense clicks, you’re not going to earn a single cent if there’s no traffic coming to your site.

There’s more to the process than just getting more traffic, however. You not only want traffic, you want targeted traffic – people who are going to be interested in what you have to offer.

In this article we’re going to look at a number of ways – both paid and free – to get more visitors to your website. Some of these methods can generate almost instant traffic while others will take longer to gain momentum.

By diversifying your traffic generation over several methods, you can get fast traffic while gradually ramping it up over a longer period of time.

Let’s jump right in…

Getting The Right Kind Of Traffic

Before we look at any specific methods for generating traffic to your website, we should really discuss what kind of traffic you should be targeting.

Because there is a right and a wrong kind of traffic.

The right kind of traffic is visitors who are not only interested in what you have to offer them, they’re willing and able to take the action that you want them to take. The wrong kind is simply the opposite – visitors who aren’t likely to take your “most wanted action.”

Let’s look at a couple of examples…

First, let’s say you have an affiliate review website. You post reviews and other content on your site, with affiliate links for those products. Whenever someone buys one of the offers, you get paid a commission.

If you generate a ton of traffic, but not very many of those people are either willing or able to spend money, you’re not going to generate much profit from them. A good example would be a market where your visitors are mostly teenagers. While they might be very interested in the subject, and willing to buy what you’re promoting, a large percentage of them won’t be able to buy because they don’t have credit cards and their parents may not let them use theirs.

A market like that might be better suited for a site that displays AdSense ads, which brings us to our second example. Let’s say you have a site that is monetized purely with AdSense. In this case, it doesn’t matter so much if your visitors are able to buy, since you get paid when they click an ad, regardless of what they do once they leave your site.

If the market has a lot of “clickers” who don’t turn into buyers, the ads aren’t going to pay very well, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.

From a pure conversion point of view, you’re going to want visitors who are looking for a solution to their problem – and hopefully the ads displayed on your site offer that solution. Again, you want to target the right people to get the maximum number of clicks on those ads.

If you’re generating a lot of traffic looking for free solutions, or just looking for information, you may not get many clicks. So more traffic isn’t necessarily going to be more profitable.

Before you start doing any kind of traffic generation, make sure you’re targeting the right people for your offer. Otherwise you’re going to be spending a lot of time, money or both with little or no return for the efforts.

Free Traffic Methods

Free traffic is certainly the more popular of the two choices (the other being paid traffic). Many Internet marketers just don’t have the capital to start paying for traffic, so free traffic is a better way to go.

Some marketers don’t really understand the economics of paying for traffic either, which is an entirely different problem. If you can make a profit, or just break even on what you pay to get traffic to your website, it’s really not costing you anything. It’s common for marketers to see the cost side of the equation without considering the profit side, but we’ll get into this in a little more detail when we discuss paid traffic sources shortly.

When it comes to getting free traffic, there are two types – short-term and long-term traffic. Some methods can generate visitors to your site in a very short time, almost instantly in some cases. Other methods will take longer to gain momentum, but these tend to keep driving traffic to your site for a longer period of time once they get going.

Short-Term Traffic Generation

We’re going to look at three sources of short-term traffic that can work very well if you implement them properly:

1. Forum marketing
2. Guest blogging
3. Article submissions

Forum Marketing

Forum marketing is one of the easiest ways to get short-term traffic, particularly if you’re already active in any popular forums in your market.

Note: In this report, many of the examples will relate to the Internet marketing niche, since most people reading it will be somewhat familiar with it. All the strategies work equally well in other markets, so don’t let yourself get caught thinking “this only works for Internet marketing websites” – that’s just not true.

Most forums will let you add a “signature” to your profile, which gets added to the end of every post you make. You can include a link to your website in your signature, along with a short call to action to get people to click through to it.

If you’re active on the forum, and provide good value in your posts, people will click on your signature link. Particularly if you offer them something of value that’s related to the market, like a free report, webinar recording or some other type of incentive.

The key here is to be an active part of the community and provide value first. If you just sign up for a forum, add your signature link and starting posting randomly with stuff like “Hey, great post!” then don’t expect much in the way of traffic.

Give value first, and people will respond by checking
out what else you have to offer them.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is another great way to “siphon” traffic from a community of people interested in your market. A blog is a little less interactive than a forum, but it has many similarities.

Find some of the most popular blogs in your market and see if they accept guest bloggers. Some sites are up-front about this, with a page that explains exactly how to become a guest blogger for them. Other sites don’t advertise it, but if you spend a bit of time reading through existing posts, you’ll be able to see if the same person writes them all or if the site has used guest posts in the past.

Generally guest posts will have a resource box or author byline that gives more information about the author, as well as a link back to their website. If you see any of these, it’s a good indication that the site accepts guest posts.

The key to getting your post accepted is to offer a high-quality article that the blog owner would be crazy not to accept. Spend even longer than you usually would researching, outlining and writing these posts. While it means an extra investment in time, you can get a lot of traffic clicking through to your site if your guest post goes live on a high-traffic blog.

And while this click through traffic will slow down once the post has been live for a while, it can continue indefinitely as that post gains traction in the search engines. Plus that resource link pointing back to your site will also help you with SEO in the long term, so this is a powerful strategy.

Article Submissions

Article submissions, or article marketing, can be another powerful traffic strategy that will provide you will both short-term and long-term benefits. Much like guest blogging, the short-term traffic will come from people clicking through on your resource box links to visit your website.

By submitting your articles to high-authority websites, you can leverage their power with the search engines to get your articles ranked quickly and generating traffic. This direct traffic can actually continue for the long term if your article gets some traction with Google and the other search engines, but it also helps your own site rank better so it starts generating search engine traffic of its own.

Which brings us to longer-term traffic strategies…

Long-Term Traffic Generation

We’re going to look at three longer-term strategies for getting traffic to your websites:

1. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization
2. Social Media
3. Relationship Building

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is probably the most common free traffic strategy. There are dozens of techniques for improving your rankings in the search engines, and just as many products that teach you how to implement them. Some of these methods work year after year while others are more short-lived.

You’ll also see a lot of methods that would be considered gray hat or ***** hat meaning they might go against the terms of service of one or more search engines, or even cross legal lines.

You’ll need to decide for yourself exactly what lines you’re willing to cross in the interest of getting traffic to your website, but keep in mind that the stuff that crosses those lines tends to be the techniques that are more short-lived. They may require less work up-front, but in the long run you can wind up spending more time or money to maintain your traffic because things keep changing.

SEO is a huge topic that goes way beyond the scope of this report, but let’s just look at a few of the most important principles.

There are two main factors to SEO – on site and off site optimization. On site optimization is things like using your keywords in strategic places on your pages:

-The TITLE tag
-In the page content itself
-Image ALT tags
-etc.

At one time, repeating your keywords over and over throughout the page (known as keyword stuffing) would improve your results but the search engines have evolved well beyond that. Don’t do this, just use your keywords and other related terms naturally in the content.

Off site optimization really comes down to links pointing to your website. The more links you get, from related sites that also have some power of their own with the search engines, the better your site is going to rank (and the more traffic you’ll get as a result).

This is where the short- and long-term strategies start to overlap a bit. If you’re using any of the short-term traffic strategies we just discussed to get quick traffic to your sites, they will also help you with SEO in the long term.

The links in your forum signatures, guest blog posts and submitted articles will all help push your site up the search engine rankings so while you might get a short-term jump in traffic when they first go live, they will keep working for you for a long time.

This is why it’s a good idea to keep doing those things, even when your site starts to get traction in the search engines. It will continue to drive both instant and longer-term traffic.

Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a relatively new way to get traffic, and as a result they tend to be misunderstood. A lot of marketers use them as a kind of “announcement” service, posting links to new offers, affiliate promotions, new blog posts and anything else they want people to visit.

But that’s all they ever post, and then they think social media doesn’t work because nobody ever clicks through on their links.

The fact is, social media is a longer-term traffic strategy. You need to build relationships with the people you follow before you can expect them to click on any of the links you post.

Example: Think of it in “real world” terms. If you went to a party or some kind of meeting, would you just make a sales pitch to everyone you talk to? Or would you have a conversation first, so you could get to know one another and what you could offer?

Treat social media like you would a “real life” meeting – offer value first and build up some trust with your followers before you start hitting them with a bunch of offers.

Relationship Building

Building relationships isn’t really a traffic generation method in and of itself, but it applies to virtually every other strategy to some degree. If you build relationships with the visitors to your website, or to the other places you post your content, you’re going to be a lot more successful in the long run.
When you have strong relationships with your visitors, they’re a lot more likely to return. And return traffic is one of the keys to a really successful website.

Look at it this way. If you get 100 visitors per day and you have no way of getting them to come back to your site after they click an ad or an affiliate link, you have to find 100 new visitors every day to maintain your results.

But if you get 100 visitors every day and get 10 of them into your “relationship funnel” so they return to the site, you’ve increased your future traffic without having to find “new” visitors. It’s over-simplified, but let’s assume that they come back the next day. Now you’ve got 110 visitors, of which 10 will again become return traffic.

Every day that goes by, you’re getting more traffic while you’re still only having to generate 100 new visitors. Over time, your traffic will continue to grow even if you don’t do any more work to find new people than you already are.

One of the best ways to build these relationships and generate return visitors is with our next traffic strategy – list building.

Generating Traffic Through An Email List

One of the biggest advantages of building an email list is that it lets you control your own traffic. If you have a list of people interested in your market, it doesn’t matter if Google, Facebook and every other traffic source shuts off tomorrow – you can still generate traffic just by sending out an email to your list.

And if you have a brand new page or website that you want to direct traffic to, you can do that as well.

You could set up a website in the next half hour, send an email
to your list and see traffic to your site within a few minutes.

Even when you’re paying for traffic, it’s pretty tough to get visitors within minutes of finishing a new site.

List building as a traffic strategy is a bit of a Catch-22, however. You won’t be able to generate that “on demand” traffic until you’ve built a list, and to build a list you need to get some traffic from other sources first.

That’s why it’s important to use all the strategies we’re discussing, but get those visitors to subscribe to your email list so you can contact them over and over again in the future.

Paid Traffic Methods

A lot of Internet marketers are intimidated by paid traffic. They might have been burned in the past, or they might be afraid of losing a lot of money. This is definitely a concern, so you need to approach paid traffic with a certain amount of caution.

But the fact is, if you do it right, paid traffic doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to test, and once you figure out how to make it profitable (or just breaking even) it isn’t actually costing you anything- you put X dollars in and get Y dollars in return.

There are lots of different paid traffic sources so we can’t discuss them all in this report, but let’s look at a few of the most popular (and effective).

Pay Per Click

Pay per click, or PPC, advertising includes sources like Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. You pay a certain amount for every person who clicks on your ad and visits your website. That amount can range from a few cents to several dollars, depending on the market and the keywords that you’re targeting.

If you’re not careful, PPC advertising can chew through a lot of money in a pretty short time so it’s important that you approach it correctly.

Make sure you’re not targeting really broad keywords that are going to get a ton of clicks but poorly targeted visitors.

Example: You probably wouldn’t want to target the keyword “lose weight” because it would cost you a fortune and those visitors could be looking for any number of things when they arrive at your site.
You would be better off targeting the keyword phrase “how to lose 10 pounds in a month” (assuming your website can help solve that problem) because while the amount of traffic wouldn’t be nearly as high, those people are looking for a very specific thing.

You should also set your daily budget to something you’re comfortable with. That way, if your ads just don’t convert for some reason, there’s a limit to how much you can lose.

Once you find a keyword/ad combination that is profitable, you can start to expand on it. Being successful with PPC advertising requires a lot of testing and tracking.

Banner Ads

People have been saying banner ads are dead for over 10 years, but the fact is they still work if you use them properly. If you just blast a bunch of banners with “punch the monkey” kind of stuff to as many websites as possible, chances are it’s not going to be very profitable.

But if you pick the sites where you want to advertise based on how relevant they are to your target market and design your banners effectively, they can still product a lot of traffic for relatively little cost.

Like PPC advertising, start small and track your results. Once you find a banner and/or website that’s working for you, start to expand those successful campaigns to other places.

Paid Ezine Ads

Paid ezine ads are another “old school” traffic generation strategy that can still work very well. Basically, you’re paying for an ad to another marketer’s email list. This could be a small ad placed in a longer newsletter or it could be a “solo” ad that is nothing but your offer.

This is a great way to leverage someone else’s list to get traffic to your own site (and hopefully onto your email list in the process).

The key here is to target your offer to the audience. Make sure you subscribe to that marketer’s list yourself and read several of their emails to see what kind of tone they use, and what sort of offers they promote.

You want to tailor your ad to appeal to the people who receive that person’s emails, so make sure you offer something of value and that what you’re offering is going to be appealing to the people who get the email.

Facebook

Facebook is a fairly new source of paid traffic, and is constantly changing as more and more people start to use it. But with hundreds of millions of users, and the ability to target very specific interests and demographics, you should definitely include it in your paid traffic strategy.

The key to using Facebook effectively is to remember that most people aren’t there to be sold to – they’re there to be social. Most Facebook users aren’t doing business there, even though it might seem that way to us internet marketers, so if you hit them with a high-pressure pitch (paid or not) it’s probably not going to go over so well.

Once again, it comes down to building relationships with people first so they know and trust you. Once you establish that trust, you can start to ease them over to your websites and other offers.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you a bit better idea of some of the ways that you can generate traffic to your website, but also what you should be doing with that traffic once it gets there.

New traffic sources constantly come and go, but most of the strategies we’ve discussed here have stood the test of time. While it never hurts to test new strategies and add them to the mix of what you’re doing, don’t let yourself get caught up in the latest “shiny object” that promises unlimited traffic with little or no work.

Those kinds of promises are generally too good to be true, and even if they do work as advertised it’s usually going to be short lived. Once all the people looking for a magic button start abusing the technique, it won’t take long for it to stop working.

If you build your traffic generation strategy on a solid foundation, you’ll be seeing more and more visitors coming to your website for years to come.

Highway Traffic Two: Collective Behavior

Traffic rates as one of the more annoying experiences of modern culture.  Highways have provided some relief from traditional traffic congestion, i.e. that occurring at stop signs and traffic control signals, but highways themselves have spawned new types of congestion.

This article explores that topic, i.e. highway traffic and congestion.  This is the second of a two part series.

The first of the series (titled “Highway Traffic One:  Collision Avoidance“) delved into one traffic characteristic, namely the maximum traffic flow a highway can sustain at different speeds.  We focused on two basic, but fairly universal, determinants of driver behavior.  A characteristic driver desires to go as fast as possible while 1) avoiding a ticket and 2) avoiding a rear end collision.

With those determinants, and a little math and physics, we built a quantitative model.  That model gave a “required following distance” and a “maximum sustainable traffic flow” at each of a number of speeds.

That modeling revealed a paradox.  As average speed increased, the sustainable traffic flow also increased.  In other words, our model indicated that a highway can sustain a higher traffic flow at moderate speeds (30 to 50 miles an hour) than can be sustained at the typical “heavy” traffic speeds (zero to 20 miles an hour).

Why then does traffic flow drop to the low range under extreme congestion, if the low range provides the worst flow?  What forces traffic to drop from highway speeds, i.e. 60 miles an hour, down to a standstill, if a highway’s maximum flow occurs in the 30 to 50 miles an hour range?  We likely experience this frequently, particularly as traffic merges at entrance ramps.

The key lies in the dynamic nature of merging traffic.  The first article, on maximum sustainable traffic flow, dealt with static, aka constant, conditions.  Vehicles traveled at the same speeds, and drivers maintained the same distances between cars.  We asked one question – at those constant conditions, what following distance would the characteristic driver set?

Entrance ramps create dynamic, aka, changing, conditions.  As cars merge, following distances change, drivers slow and accelerate, and different vehicles have different speeds.  These dynamic conditions can push traffic right past the speeds with maximum flow, down to the all too typical highway traffic crawl.

So let’s focus on that phenomenon, of how entrance ramps impact traffic flow.  We will do that first qualitatively, just describing what happens, then quantitatively with a bit of mathematical modeling.  In doing so, we will obtain a better sense of how the dynamics of entrance ramp merging cause traffic flow to degenerate to such low, and less than theoretically optimum, speeds.

Entrance Ramps:  Qualitative Look

Imagine traffic flowing at 60 miles an hour, with cars spaced on average 200 feet apart, with our highway two lanes wide in each direction.  From the first part of this series, we found that the characteristic driver had a required following distance at 60 miles an hour, of about 150 feet.  Thus absent any disturbances to traffic, our highway can sustain traffic at 60 miles an hour, given the 200 foot spacing, and our drivers should comfortably maintain their highway speed.

Imagine now entrance ramps.  We will have two ramps, one entrance ramp into the left lane (not common but certainly occurs) and a second entrance ramp into the right lane.

Now a set of two cars enters (one from each entrance ramp).  As they merge into traffic, these entering cars cut the following distances, front-to-front, of the trailing cars behind them on the highway, down to 100 feet.  The entering cars in many, if not most, cases are traveling at a speed only a fraction of that of the main highway flow.

As noted above, our modeling (in the first article) calculated a required following distance of just over 150 feet at 60 miles an hour.  Given our model reflects how drivers think in real traffic (i.e. the required following distance indicates a driver’s judgment of what is required to avoid a rear end collision), the driver of the directly trailing cars will slow down to increase the following distance.  This will be a quick deceleration, since not only will the following distance be insufficient, but the trailing drivers will find themselves quickly closing in on the slower-traveling entering cars.

What occurs then?  As this first set of trailing cars slow, a second or so later the next trailing cars slow, and another second later the third trailing cars slow.  This sequence of slowing creates a congestion pulse that ripples rearward as each subsequent set of trailing cars slows due to the slowing of the cars in front of them.  Now if only two cars are inserted (i.e. one in each of the two lanes), the cars will all sequentially accelerate back up to 60 miles an hour, and the merging causes just a transient backward ripple.

But what if another set of two cars enters behind our first set of trailing cars?  The first set of entering two cars creates a backward ripple that slowed the main traffic.  This second set of entering cars inserts itself into the ripple, further cutting traffic speeds.

We can see where this is going.  What if a third set of cars enters?  This third set further cuts down vehicle speeds.

So while the entry of one set of cars causes a transient ripple, we can see that the continual entry of cars increasingly slows traffic.  Traffic quickly reaches high congestion, and speed descends downward.

This scenario highlights what causes traffic speeds and flow to descend from a stable level at 60 miles an hour, right past the maximum flow range (i.e. between 30 and 50 miles an hour, where a highway can maintain the highest flows), down to bumper-to-bumper.  The cause lies in the sudden and unavoidable discontinuity at the merge point.  At that point, merging traffic abruptly cuts following distances, which triggers an abrupt slowing of traffic.   Vehicle speeds decrease right past the speed range of maximum flow.  Traffic flow can not stabilize in the maximum range since the merge dynamics push speeds down so quickly.

So while the highway overall, if vehicles were all at an ideal speed and separation, could handle more traffic, the abrupt changes at the merge point prevent traffic from settling in at those ideal conditions.

But do entrance ramps present us with an all or nothing situation?  For a given set of conditions, will the merging at entrance ramps always produce the same level of slowing and congestion?  Or rather can driver behavior improve (or maybe exacerbate) the vehicle speeds and traffic flow at entrance ramps?

Traffic Merging:  Impact of Driver Behavior

We have certainly seen, or directly experienced, how events unfold when a vehicle runs out of “runway” on an entrance ramp, and gets stuck, stopped, at the end of the ramp, with no further room to accelerate.  In heavy traffic, the driver will find no gaps for entry.  Having little choice, the driver will just jut into traffic, at a slow speed, cutting off traffic, and causing oncoming vehicles to slow, in cases severely and suddenly.

But if the driver wasn’t entering from a stop, the oncoming vehicles wouldn’t need to slow so much and so quickly.  The faster entry would allow traffic to maintain a higher speed.  So from this example we see that driver behavior can affect, possibly significantly, highway congestion.

So let’s look at this.  While many different driver behaviors can impact the level of congestion at merge points, we will focus on three major ones.  They are:

  • Speed matching
  • Velocity priority
  • Smoothness

Speed matching picks up on the example just mentioned, a vehicle stuck at the end of an entrance ramp.  As that stuck car enters, that merging not only cuts the following distance of the vehicle right behind in the main traffic flow, but the low speed of the merging car causes the following vehicle to close quickly.  That following car must slow sufficiently to compensate both for the reduction in following distance and the subsequent closing due to the speed mismatch.

If the merging car can match the speed of the main traffic flow, that merging still cuts following distances, but the speed matching means the following car does not close any further.  The following car can maintain a higher speed.

Velocity priority relates to which of two variables merging and trailing drivers react more strongly, specifically velocity difference (relative to the leading car) verses following distance (again relative to the leading car).

Consider two different merging drivers, both entering at slightly less than the speed of the main traffic flow.   One driver focuses more closely on the velocity difference.  Since traveling more slowly than the lead car, this one driver accelerates slightly upon entering the highway, increasing speed to that of the main flow, while letting the slight temporary speed difference build an increased following distance.

The second driver reacts, alternately, to the short following distance.  Since that distance has dropped well below the required distance, this driver, instead of accelerating, slows down to immediately lengthen the following distance.

We can clearly see the differing impact.  The first driver, by accelerating, keeps traffic moving, while the second driver, by slowing, triggers the following cars to slow.

Note however, velocity priority may not always be best.  If merging cars enter at very low speed, then a velocity priority causes trailing cars to slow to that low speed, instead of gradually compressing following distances to maintain speed.  So one approach does not fit all situations.

Smoothness means just that, how gradually, or alternately how abruptly, a driver responds to changing conditions.

At first look, one might conclude that fairly quick reactions would allow traffic to flow faster.  However, faster reactions can turn out to be counter-productive.  Why?  Strong, quick responses can cause a driver to over shoot their target for speed or following distance, or both.

An example helps.  Let’s say a driver sees that at a given point their following distance exceeds what they judge needed.  They accelerate quickly and strongly.  But in congestion conditions change often, and as the driver accelerates the leading car slows.  The quick acceleration, combined with the slowing of the car in front, causes the trailing car to close too quickly on the leading car, creating too short a following distance.  The trailing car driver now brakes quickly and strongly.  We can see where this leads.   The strong reactions cause continual speeding and slowing as the driver over shoots the speed and following distance needed.

Entrance Ramps:  Quantitative Look

Let’s model what we have just described.

Now in the first article, we assumed, and could assume given the goal of the modeling, that every driver traveled at the same speed and maintained the same following distance.  We could thus model one car, since that one car could represent all the cars.

Here, for entrance ramps, we decidedly can not assume conditions remain similar across vehicles and across time.  The merging cars trigger continual changes in vehicle speeds, distances and acceleration/deceleration.  And it is these very changes we desire to study and understand.

Our model must thus track each car, at each instant, for multiple variables, no small task.  To keep the model understandable, then, we will focus on the core interaction, the merging, and have just a one lane entrance ramp merging into a one lane highway.  True, actual entrance ramps can have more than one lane, and actual highways almost always have more than one lane.  The extra lanes, however, primarily add a different phenomenon, lane switching, which does influence merging impacts, but in a secondary way.  Our simplified one lane highway and one lane entrance ramp, while not all encompassing, will still provide sufficient scope to explore our focus, entrance ramp merging.

So how will we start?  We need some initial conditions, simple enough to comprehend but representative of actual traffic.  We will thus start the main traffic speed at 60 miles an hour, with 200 foot front-to-front distances.  The model will insert a merging car between each of the cars in the main traffic flow, at a speed at a percent (that we can vary) of the main highway traffic.  For “required following distance,” we will use the equations and relations from the modeling in the first article.  The model will have 160 vehicles, 80 on the main highway and 80 merging sequentially.

We now run the model, stepping sequential through time increments of about three-quarters of a second (with that increment representing how often a driver can adjust to changing conditions).  For each time increment, the model calculates each vehicle’s speed and location, as well each driver’s reaction to current conditions. 

The driver’s reaction consists of how much they accelerate, or brake.  Critically, we can vary that reaction, since as noted above it is just that driver reaction we want to study.  So the model permits variation in the “velocity priority” from very low to very high, and in the “smoothness” from very mellow to very aggressive.  And as just noted, the model permits variation in the entry speed of merging.

What will the model tell us?  Many (many) traffic characteristics, but we will focus on four key items.  These four items relate closely to the frustration level drivers feel in highway congestion:

  • Lost distance, i.e. how much farther back does the 160th car fall due to congestion
  • Average minimum speed, i.e. what is the lowest speed on average for each vehicle
  • Acceleration intensity, i.e. how much acceleration/braking occurs
  • Time at less than 40 miles an hour, i.e. how much time across all the cars in the model

Let’s take a sample run.  Merging cars will enter at 80% of the highway speed, and drivers will exhibit a moderate priority on velocity, and a moderate smoothness.  We run the model for ten minutes (model time, so about 800 time increments; the model itself requires only a second real time.)  We find the following:

  • The 160th car losses 18,600 feet, over three and a half miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for about 86 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 20 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience 3 hours at 40 miles an hour or lower

Some comparison points will help.  In the ten minutes, at 60 miles an hour, absent the congestion, a vehicle will travel 10 miles, or about 52,800 feet.  So the 160th car lost about a third of the normal distance, and cars beyond that (not modeled) will lose more.  Accelerate or brake quickly means to do so at greater than 50% of the maximum braking or acceleration allowed in the model, and the 86 seconds should be compared to the total 600 seconds of the model run.

Could the drivers do worse?  Yes, with a lower priority on velocity, but aggressive acceleration and braking, still with the 80% merging speed, we find the following:

  • The 160th car losses 31,500 feet, almost six miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for about 125 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 8 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience just over 5 hours at 40 miles an hour or lower

Can then do better?  Yes, with a strong priority on velocity, but gradual acceleration and braking, still with the 80% merging speed, we find the following:

  • The 160th car losses only 13,000 feet, a bit over two miles
  • Each driver accelerates or brakes quickly, on average for only about 18 seconds
  • On average, each driver experiences a slowing, at least once, to 28 miles an hour
  • Drivers collectively experience about 2 hours 20 minutes at 40 miles an hour or lower

These results reveal amazing differences in congestion severity for different collective driver behaviors.   Thus, with the advantage of a relatively favorable merge speed (i.e. the 80% factor), driver behavior, specifically attention to velocity differences and gradual acceleration/braking, can reduce congestion.

What if the situation involves unfavorable merge speeds, for example a merge speed of only 30% of the traffic flow?  While driver behavior can ease congestion some, under any driver behavior congestion remains high.

  • The 160th car always losses at least 25,900 feet, almost 5 miles
  • Traffic always slows to 11 miles an hour or less for at least one point, sometimes zero
  • The collective delay always reaches four hours or more

Slow merge speed scuttles traffic flow so negatively that no particular set of driver responses can prevent traffic from descending, at some point, to a crawl.  So if merging drivers practice “poor” behavior, i.e. slow merge speeds, driver behavior in the main traffic flow can not  significantly offset that.

In contrast, as seen above, if merging drivers achieve a good merge speed (the 80% rates as good, in fact almost as good as a 100% merge speed) driver behavior in the main flow greatly impacts the level of congestion.

Practical Steps

While possibly interesting (i.e. the relation of driver behavior to congestion), can anything actually be done to alter or align that driver behavior to relieve congestion?  Is there hope?  The answer is yes, traffic engineers, to a degree, can coax drivers in ways to improve traffic flow.

Entrance Ramps Signal Controls – Given that merging traffic in general, and poor merge speed in particular, contribute greatly to congestion, controlling merging via traffic signals can partially reduce congestion.

We likely have seen such traffic signals.  These signals don’t stop traffic like a typical traffic light, but rather meter it, spacing merging cars or groups of cars several seconds apart.  This gives each car sufficient time and room to accelerate to highway speeds (i.e. getting to our model 80% and avoiding the 30%).  Ramp signals also spread out the overall flow of merging traffic to prevent short-term backups that can degenerate into larger congestion.

Ramp controls, while useful, provide only moderate relief.  Traffic on the main highway improves incrementally, in theory and often (but not always) in practice, but the improvement becomes offset in part by the delays drivers experience waiting behind red lights on the ramp signals.  Also, merging volume where two main highways cross (and where merging traffic volumes generally render ramp signals impractical) can backup traffic so severely that ramp signals at upstream local roads provide no gain.

HOV and Similar Restricted Lanes – Just like ramp signals, we have likely experienced these, i.e. special lanes for buses and/or high occupancy cars, or which are reversible to match rush hour traffic direction.  A twist on these lanes includes charging tolls, including variable tolls, to influence traffic flow.

In cases where these restricted lanes repurpose existing lanes, achieving some benefit generally depends on people changing to buses or cars pools, thereby reducing the number of cars.  Otherwise, these restricted lanes provide offsetting benefits, i.e. those individuals in a bus or multi-occupant car go faster, while single occupant vehicles go slower.

Note in some cases restricted lanes can create a benefit even without individuals switching commuting modes, by maintaining existing bus and car pool participation.  If buses and car pools did not have a privileged lane, individuals may revert back to single occupancy in a car.

For new highway construction, the added lanes often become specialized lanes.  The new construction can readily include advanced signaling, variable toll collection, specialized access ramps and other features to achieve maximum flow, and serendipitously good revenue collection.

Automated and Autonomous Vehicle Control Systems – With some presumptuousness, I will label this the engineer’s dream solution (note I am an engineer by background).  These systems relieve the driver from control (i.e. takes the wheel out of their hands) and use centralized and distributed algorithms and processors, plus real-time data collection, along with internal vehicle electronics and external highway sensors and transceivers, to guide individual vehicles and overall traffic via computer control. 

As a typical example, these systems could and would group cars into platoons with inter-car spacing of just a few feet, and guide the platoons down the highway at typical highway speeds.  The potential?  If we look at the first of these articles, we see that at 45 foot spacing, ultimately achievable by these systems, a highway can handle up to 8,000 cars per lane per hour, an enormous increase in flow.  Achieving only half that capacity would still provide great flow improvements.

However, while such systems represent exquisite engineering challenges, and promise elegant and extraordinary engineering solutions, these systems traditionally have posed equally extraordinary problems.  These include cost (including public funding, which brings in politics), complexity (real traffic poses intricate and pesky nuances), implementation (revamping miles of highway for sensors and controllers), public acceptance (drivers like to stay in control), and vehicle equipment (auto manufacturers generally resist adding modules to cars which provide a public good but increase the car’s cost to the individual).

But developments not related to such systems have opened up the possibilities.  What are these developments?  They are many and multiple, including the rapid emergence of GPS devices, the explosive expansion of cellular networks, the continued increase in on-board vehicle computers, and most recently, the penetration and, importantly acceptance, of vehicle driver assistance modules.  The later, for example, can, without driver intervention, parallel park the vehicle, pre-tension seat belts, adjust headlights, start brake application, give blind spots warnings, detect collision threats, differentially apply braking to avoid skids, and on and on.

These developments provide breakthroughs on which to build area wide vehicle control systems.  GPS provides positioning and thus highways will need many fewer sensors.  With the driver assistance modules, drivers will be gaining acceptance of autonomous vehicle control, and the vehicles themselves will increasingly contain the necessary automated control systems.  Given its now ubiquitous presence, cellular provides an infrastructure for communicating with vehicles and between vehicles.

A decade or more ago, creating area-wide autonomous and automated vehicle control would require creating all the piece parts from the ground up, against possible skepticism from the public, concern from politicians and likely resistance from manufacturers.  Now the piece parts are to a greater or less extent appearing unaided.  These developments by themselves don’t represent a system, but do make creation of the system and its implementation a conceivable and realistic possibility.

So next time in traffic, envision a world say a decade from now where you will peruse the news or the video of interest on your internet eyeglasses or vehicle heads-up display while the traffic-controller-in-the-sky whisks you along smoothly but quickly down the highway.

LinkedIn Traffic Secrets – 5 Simple Steps for High Quality Daily Buyer Traffic

Don’t chase after traffic. Discover where the traffic is already going and get in front of it. Then redirect the traffic where you want it to go, directly to your profit centers.

Get Your Wisdom Right Here

So many online entrepreneurs chase after traffic. Even veteran online entrepreneurs get caught up in this potential trap.

Chasing after traffic is especially dangerous for the beginning online entrepreneur. They throw money after traffic by buying traffic before they know what they are doing.

This can lead to lots of money going out with nothing to show for it.

Listen. I’m not against paid traffic. I use it.

I just strongly recommend that you create a proven system that takes a new person from prospect to customer before you pay for traffic.

Especially since there are so many great ways to get high quality buyer traffic for

Let’s Look at This the Right Way

Your mindset about traffic is critically important. When you view traffic the right way you are much more likely to do traffic the right way.

Before we talk about what the profitable traffic mindset is, let’s talk a bit about what it’s not.

Profitable traffic is not a one time event.

I hear this often as an excuse for not being successful with traffic online.

“Well, I tried to get traffic like they said. I create a (fill in the blank) to get traffic and nothing happened. This traffic stuff doesn’t work!”

This traffic stuff does work, it just might be you didn’t work it right.

Driving consistent, evergreen buyer traffic is a life long task. I’ve been at this full time for almost 10 years now. I still make creating new traffic one of my daily revenue generation rituals.

The correct view is for the long haul, getting immediate, long-term and evergreen buyer traffic.

While looking at traffic the wrong way is one of the common traffic mistakes, there are 3 other big profitable traffic mistakes you need to be aware of and avoid.

Mistake #1

As with lots of online success, there’s this myth about traffic. The myth goes something like this:

“Well really good traffic is for those people, and I’m not one of those people.”

On the surface it’s the magical thinking that profitable traffic and the success that comes with is just something that magically happens to a chosen few. And you are certain you are not one of the few.

This is at best a glorified excuse for failing, even for not trying at all.

At worst it’s a story some are committed to believing, because they are very committed, almost wed, to the notion that success is for other people, not them.

The reality is that every single one of those people who are enjoying successful traffic started with ZERO TRAFFIC.

Then they got the first person, then another, and then another and so on. They were willing to do the necessary things and work for the traffic they said they wanted.

Implement the correct and current strategies for building traffic, work at it, and you’ll enjoy lots of evergreen buyer traffic.

The bottom line is that building traffic works when you work, and when you work it right.

Mistake #2

Here’s another big profitable traffic mistake: relying on only one source of traffic.

Many entrepreneurs do this silly thing around many issues in business. This mistake is so prevalent in fact that master marketer Dan Kennedy has said:

“The worst number in business is 1.”

Back when I was a therapist in private practice I build many sources of referrals, which is the same as traffic offline.

When I started writing a weekly relationship column for the local newspaper that quickly became nationally syndicated my practice exploded with referrals. I was full with a waiting list and was filling up the practices of colleagues as well.

It was very, very tempting to stop nurturing other long term traffic sources and to not build any other sources of referrals.

Knowing the worst number in business is “1” I continued to nurture all my other traffic/referral sources and build new ones as well.

I wrote that weekly column for the local newspaper for 10 years. When that column, a major referral source, ended I was not panicked or affected at all because I had continued building additional sources of referral.

The bottom line online is you want to make building traffic a life long daily pursuit so that you have multiple streams of traffic coming in from multiple sources.

Mistake #3

Once you get good at generating consistent traffic it’s very easy to believe you can then go do the rest on your own.

And you will be able to do some.

The reality is that the profitable traffic game online is ever changing. It’s really too much to try to keep up with on your own.

For this reason and many more I will always have a coach and always be a part of a mastermind. I always want to have another set of trusted eyes on my business.

Other people whom you trust can always see the things you can’t see, simply because it’s your business and you can get too close to be able to see all your options.

The bottom line for you is to always have trusted eyes on the traffic generation part of your business.

The Power of Profitable Traffic

Remember when I said don’t chase after traffic, find out where the traffic is going, get in front of it, and then re-direct it exactly where you want it to go?

And where you want it to go is your profit centers like your blog, your opt in pages, your product resource pages as well.

The 3 types of traffic you want to build are:

1) Immediate traffic
2) Regular traffic
3) Long-term/evergreen traffic

Results Now Mini-Workshop

Now let’s get you some traffic with your content, shall we?

The steps are simple really:

Step 1 – Choose a specific topic in your niche – Interestingly enough, the more specific you can make the topic, the more buyer traffic you will pull.

Cast too wide a net and the less high quality traffic you get.

Cast a specific targeted net and the more high quality buyer traffic you get.

Step 2 – Come up with the 3 most common mistakes most beginners make around that specific topic. These can also be mistakes everyone makes, beginners and veterans alike.

Step 3 – For each mistake talk about how the mistake is made and what it looks like, how easy it is to make. You want to avoid making your prospect feel bad for making this common mistake.

Step 4 – For each mistake include what to do instead. You are not giving away the farm here, just offering one small tip.

Step 5 – Include a call to action to visit one of your profit pages and get your content out on Social Media, your blog and LinkedIn.

Major congrats! You’ve just created and shipped an Evergreen Traffic Machine that will bring your immediate, regular and long term evergreen traffic.

Profitable Genius Tip

“An evergreen traffic machine a day sends buyer traffic your way.”

I promised you a “traffic genius tip” and here it is:

You want to make creating your evergreen traffic machines something that you do daily. While that may sound like a lot, when you see the results it will feel much easier.

As you’ll see ETMs come in all forms – some as simple, quick and easy as an info-graphic, along with some that take a little more time such as blog posts, articles and videos.

Building ETMs is one of my DRGRs – how’s that for alphabet soup?

Said another way – creating evergreen traffic machine to build waves of highly qualified buyer traffic is one on my Daily Revenue Generating Rituals. I recommend it becomes one of yours too.