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If you want to attract a decent level of traffic to a brand new website in a short period of time, it is almost a necessity that you use pay-per-click on one of main search engines. If you don't, then growth of your traffic levels will be painfully slow and inconsistent at best.
When I launched my very first websites I invested heavily in pay-per-click advertising. At one point, I was spending over $6000 a month on Google Adwords alone!!! Seriously I really was spending that much money. It was a constant battle to tweak website sales copy and continue to test advertisement text just to make sure that my sales were covering advertising payments each month. At time I was probably just about breaking even but buying traffic in this quantity meant that I was able to fine-tune my sales pages and start to build up a list of mailing list subscribers.
Once you have got to stage where you know your sales pages are converting visitors into buyers, then you can start to gear up with other methods of getting traffic to your site - writing articles, linking strategies, viral methods (ebooks etc), using your eBay 'About Me' page, using your link as a signature when you post on forums etc. All of these methods will win you traffic (and in most cases it will be completely free) but it will take time for traffic to build to a worthwhile level. If you rely solely on free traffic, you really will be building your business one hit at a time.
Of course, once free methods of gaining traffic start to pay off, you can begin to wind down your paid methods, though you may not want to - after all, if you are earning more in sales than you are paying for your pay-per-click traffic, why stop it?
As your portfolio of websites grows, you will also be able to share traffic around a bit by linking to your own sites and of course, if you are capturing your visitors email addresses, you will be building a mailing list of people interested in products you are offering.
Like I say, I appreciate that above may not be ground-breaking secret that you were hoping for but as with so many things online, there really is no secret. Achieving success is simply about taking action and whilst you can succeed online by spending very little money, chances are that you will succeed a lot quicker by making a bit of an investment. You don't have to be spending thousands of dollars a month as I was but any new business owner should be prepared to invest a few hundred dollars a month in order to get things off ground....
Richard Grady has been helping ordinary people earn online since 1998. He writes a free newsletter which is published every two weeks. To subscribe (and claim your free gifts), visit: http://www.thetraderonline.com/newsletter.html