Unfortunately, when it comes to your website, the “if you build it, they will come” strategy just doesn’t work. Fortunately, there are several ways to drive high-quality traffic to your website for little to no cost. The following 7 strategies will show you how:

1. Optimize your site for the search engines.

You’d have to be a full-time search engine optimization expert to keep up with all the changes the major search engines make, but there are a few basic things you can do to help your site come up for relevant searches. Here are some to get you started:

a. Define your keywords – this is how people will find your business online. The trick is to find keywords that are highly relevant to what you offer and popular enough that they will attract decent traffic to your site, but not so competitive that you can’t rank well using them. Use your keywords in your web page copy.

b. Create your metatags – this is how the search engines “read” your site. Put your keywords in your metatags on each page of your website.

c. Don’t use lots of graphics or Flash, frames, or “alt” tags in HTML for pictures – search engines don’t like them because it makes it hard for them to “read” your site.

d. Submit your site to the search engines (see #2).

e. Get links to your site – create a page in your website and call it either resources or links and add GOOD links, meaning relevant links. Linking is the second biggest indicator of how your site is ranked.

2. Submit your site to the search engines.

Why wait for the search engines’ robots or spiders to find you? Submit your website (it’s best if you submit every page individually) to at least these three major search engines manually. It’s easy and only takes a minute.

Submit your web pages to:

3. Use pay-per-click advertising.

Google Adwords or Yahoo Overture both offer pay-per-click advertising options. You can create a PPC campaign for a very small investment, and because you have complete control over your budget, you can set it for whatever amount you feel comfortable with. It’s very difficult to get to the top of the “organic” search results (on the left side of the search results page) but can be very easy to get on the first page of results with a PPC, bringing targeted traffic to you. The best part is you only pay when someone clicks your ad that takes them to your website.

I’ve been told that Overture is actually easier to learn for a beginner, but I personally use Adwords. I spend less than $50 a month on my Google campaigns at the moment, and it consistently brings visitors to my website who are interested in what I have to offer.

4. Place or swap ads with other ezines in your niche.

Seek out other ezines in your niche whose publishers might be interested in swapping ads. They can either be formals ads, or just a recommendation within the content of the ezine itself. I’ve used this strategy myself, with the result being lots of new visitors to my website and new subscribers to my ezine.

In addition to or instead of swapping ads, you could also purchase ad space in an ezine in your niche that has a large circulation. If you pay to place an ad, I usually suggest running it for a minimum of three consecutive issues for the best results.

5. Be a bonus participant.

You’re probably aware of the tactic of adding valuable bonuses to your offerings to encourage people to buy. As a traffic-building technique, you could do the same for someone else’s product offering. For example, when Andrea Lee released her second edition of “Multiple Streams of Coaching Income” print book, one of my audio products was offered as a bonus to those who bought the book. I received loads of new visitors to my website and had a nice spike in ezine subscribers as well as a result.

6. Become an “ask the expert” on a high-traffic website in your niche.

Seek out websites that are information portals for your niche, and see if they offer an “ask the expert” section (and if they don’t, you could always suggest they do). Offer your services as an expert, to answer questions from their visitors about the challenges they face.

7. Be an active participant on a large discussion list in your niche.

Research and join a handful of discussion lists in your niche, and schedule time every week to check in and see if you can offer any valuable advice to the conversation. Be careful to follow the list rules about promoting your website, though. Most lists are intended to be a place where people can ask for help without worrying about being sold to. However, most lists also allow you a couple of lines in your email signature where you can promote your business. Use this space to point people in the direction of your website.

These 7 ways of attracting targeted traffic to your website are tried-and-true, meaning they do work. You may have to do a bit of thirsty work and give it some time, but the end result will be more high-quality traffic to your online business.