The basic formula for making money online goes something like this:

Traffic * ConversionRate* Commission – Expenses = Profit

In that formula the commission is usually fixed, although if you get the other factors in good shape switching to a similar product with a better commission can have a great effect on your profit. Normally, though, you can more easily affect Traffic, ConversionRate, and Expenses.

I’ll focus in this post on using free traffic exchanges, to boost Traffic and lower Expenses at the same time. Note that traffic exchanges are not targeted traffic, no matter what they say in their advertising, so your conversion rate will be lower. But it’s free, except for your time. And I’ll talk later about how to improve your conversion rate when using traffic exchanges.

Boosting Traffic

The basic idea with a traffic exchange is that you agree to view other members’ websites and they do the same for you. Your hope is that your website will be so compelling that, despite themselves, they’ll buy something (or signup, or whatever your “conversion” is). Their hope is the same. Traffic exchanges generally have a timer that forces you to have a website up for a certain amount of time before you get credit for having seen it. The more websites you view, the more times your website gets viewed.

The archetypal traffic exchange is Traffic Swarm. You get 100 credits (views of your website) as a signup bonus, although you have to view some number of other websites to activate those free credits. While you can choose your interest areas in Traffic Swarm and other traffic exchanges, it’s a bit pointless. The object is not to find something interesting to buy (which would increase your expenses) but to view as many websites as possible while avoiding buying anything. So just check all the interest areas so you have as many websites to view as possible.

Traffic Roundup, and TS25 are two other traffic exchanges that work in the same way as Traffic Swarm. StartXChange is another Free Manual Exchange.

The cheapest way to earn credits on the traffic exchanges is to set your browser’s start page to the traffic exchange, so you earn a credit every time you open a new browser window (and get in the habit of using new windows, not new tabs). But if you’re working all three of the above traffic exchanges, how do you set your start page to all three?

A URL rotator will give you a single web address that cycles between some number of other web addresses. A very nice free rotator is available at the TEToolbox. The free version allows rotating up to 5 web addresses, which is plenty for traffic exchange purposes. So create a rotator that cycles between all the traffic exchange surf pages, and then set your browser’s start page to the URL of the rotator.

Increasing Conversion Rate

Traffic exchanges will get your traffic up, but typically are not good for conversions. After all, their purpose for viewing your website is to get traffic to theirs, not because they’re really interested in buying or signing up.

There are two keys to increasing your conversion rates through traffic exchanges: offer them something useful, and use a splash page.

The people using traffic exchanges are all interested in Internet marketing, so you could offer a free report of some sort on how to boost traffic to their website. This works well if you’re interested in building a list. Just make sure you’re offering something of value to them, otherwise the value of your list will be low since their trust in you will be low.

Splash pages are the biggest key to increasing your conversion rate through traffic exchanges. Traffic exchange members must keep your web page up for a certain number of seconds. They do not have to look at it for more than the half a second it takes to load, or the half a second it takes to close the window when the timer expires.

Send them to a page full of text, and they won’t bother to read any of it. Send them to a splash page with graphics and a clear message in large text, and you just might catch their attention long enough to get them to click through to your real website.

Creating a splash page is easy at the TEToolbox. They have a WYSIWYG editor and a built in library of cool clip art that’s free for your use as a member. You can easily point all your traffic exchanges to your splash page, and from that point on the TEToolbox will track how many people saw your splash page and how many people clicked an outgoing link from your start page.

For example, here’s a screen shot of the stats for a splash page I setup to promote Marketing Pond.

You can see that I have an 8.4% click through rate, which isn’t bad for traffic exchanges in my experience.  Of those 85 click throughs, about 25% converted for me, resulting in a bit over 20 signups.

The TEToolbox will also give you stats based on the referring traffic exchange, and how many of those people were repeat visitors.

Other Traffic Boosting Programs

There are some programs for boosting traffic that are not traffic exchanges, but are worth mentioning.

ClixSense pays you for viewing advertisers’ pages for a given amount of time. You can convert your ClixSense earnings into advertising credits, or you can just buy a certain number of hits. ClixSense has some nice targeting options based on demographics. You can target certain areas of the world, certain income ranges, etc.

Traffic Digger and Free Viral are both viral marketing schemes. People sign up in order to get their website viewed for free by thousands of other people. Each person who signs up must view the websites before adding their own. There are generally 7 pages listed, and when you add yours it goes into the #1 slot. As you refer others, your page will go into the lower slots, until it drops off the end. By the time that happens you’ve gotten a lot of views of your page.

These programs all have the same basic quality of a traffic exchange, in that the traffic doesn’t want to convert. So use a splash page to catch their interest.

Have any favorite traffic exchanges I haven’t mentioned? Leave a comment and let me know.  More traffic is always good!

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