With this in mind, here's a brief and broad overview of 10 of today's most productive traffic sources, along with some tips for utilizing them. As for specific venues for each of these categories, the XBIZ Business Directory and community resources will provide you with countless choices.
"Pull" Promotions: Let Customers Find You
This first group of traffic-building tools is intended to ease the process of allowing your potential customers to "discover" your content offerings. In these examples, the prospect is actively seeking out what he or she desires, and it's vital that your offer is at least seen, understood and considered. After all, having the best website in the whole world means nothing if no one sees it, so these tools will help you to get noticed.
1) Search Engines
Given the volume of adult-related queries being performed daily at the world's search engines, it makes sense to include marketing via these engines as the foundation of your traffic-building plans. While this is an amazingly competitive arena, the rewards can be staggering — as can be the losses from a poorly executed campaign.
Traffic from search engines is of the highest quality and obtainable organically through the proper optimization of your website or via paid placement, where good rankings are usually a function of the almighty dollar. In either case, professional help can make a huge difference in the profitability of your search-marketing efforts.
2) Link Exchanges
Often considered too "old school" to bother with, good, old-fashioned link exchanges are beneficial to both parties in the exchange by possibly providing a boost in your organic search-engine rankings and by sending "dissatisfied" surfers from the linked site to yours.
And that's one of the keys to maximizing the effectiveness of link exchanges: the reason the prospect clicked on your link is because he didn't find what he wanted on the site your site was linked from. By targeting your link text and/or graphics and tailoring their linked landing pages, you have a better chance of reaching this visitor. For example, if you run a "blonde teen" site, showing a blonde teen on your link button will pull more clicks than showing a brunette MILF; and likewise, showing the same model prominently on the landing page, especially with free samples, reinforces the surfers' belief that you have what they want.
While not required, the use of trade scripts can keep the traffic flow equitable between sites with different traffic volumes — mitigating much of the historical concern over a higher volume site sending more traffic to a lower volume site than it receives in return.
3) Link Lists, Directories and Review Sites
Although traffic from link exchanges is typically comprised of surfers who were initially dissatisfied with their search for specific content, the prospects that come from link lists, directories and review sites will have a different mindset. These surfers are at a "guide" to the material they are seeking — they view this guide as a "trusted source of information" — and they are using that guide to help make comparative choices between competitive offers. For example, visiting every listed paysite in the "buggy whip fetish" category and then choosing the one that bests suits his tastes.
For the purposes of easy marketing, you can consider link lists, directories and review sites to be essentially the same type of site, presented with increasingly broad levels of information. For example, a link list may feature only a site name and URL, while a directory may add a brief description and other information, and while the review site will add commentary and perhaps user ratings and feedback. Building a cohesive promotional campaign that provides ready descriptions, reviews and targeted links and landing pages for these sites is a vital part of modern traffic building for many types of websites.
4) Blogs, Gallery Posts and Tube Sites
While the previous examples focused on helping prospects discover your website, the use of blogs, gallery posts and tube sites as promotional vehicles will help prospects discover your content — a distinction that can be leveraged to your benefit and to build your brand — which can be an important consideration for studios and other producers and providers of exclusive content.
It's important to understand that the majority of visitors to these sites are in fact freeloaders who will rarely, if ever, purchase porn — but that doesn't mean pursuing these venues isn't profitable if done with care. Many paying customers use these sites as a quick visual guide to the content currently "making the rounds" of the adult Internet and base their purchase decisions on the free samples you give them via these sites.
5) VOD, Clips and Download Sites
Like blogs, gallery posts and tube sites, video on demand (VOD), "clips" and download sites offer individual access to premium content; however, they do so for a price, which could be a flat fee per clip or other download or based on a per-minute or token/credit access plan. Since customers have to pay to access this content, they will naturally form a higher quality prospect pool for you to market to.
Because these sites frequently do extensive promotions and offer affiliate programs, they tend to provide reasonable levels of traffic and can also be used for product/niche testing purposes. For example, uploading test shoots of a new solo model to a clip store can help assess her marketability before committing to building an entire site around her, while adding your videos to a VOD site is a great way to build a studio's visibility, and while leveraging the VOD site's existing technological and affiliate infrastructure to expand its web presence a with minimum investment of time and capital.
"Push" Promotions: Seeking Out Your Customers
In contrast to the more passive "pull" promotions outlined above, where the customer is doing all the work for you by looking for you, the following "push" promotions require you to reach out to the prospects and get their attention — whether they're "looking" for you or not.
This is the realm of "advertising" in a conventional sense, where you're trying to deliver your marketing message to as qualified an audience as possible, using as broad a reach as practical. At this level, the approach can transcend driving traffic directly to your website, as the offline opportunities are substantial, enabling point-of-purchase sales, phone orders and other prospect actions.
6) Direct Advertising
The easiest way to get traffic is to buy it; but since not all traffic is created equally, having it originate from a clicked online ad, or typed in by a prospect responding to an offline ad, is preferable to simply buying "bulk" traffic and non-clicked visitors such as 404 traffic, etc. Reputable brokerages can facilitate the buying and selling of ad spots on any number of high-traffic sites and help in developing targeted campaigns that will allow you to get the biggest bang for your traffic buying buck. And remember, online ad effectiveness is something that can be precisely measured.
When considering paid advertising, however, one should not overlook the offline arena, where print publications and even radio, television and billboard advertising may be a viable option, depending on the targeted market and appropriateness of the message and URL for such an "exposed" campaign.
7) Event Sponsorship
Although the value of being one of many sponsors of an open-bar event may be questionable, especially given the many attendees who may have no idea of who those sponsors are, the marketability of event sponsorship and indeed, of sponsored events, may be a compelling option for the right organization.
For example, a B2B organization with a strong local customer base might find weekly or monthly sponsored networking events to be worthwhile. Likewise, B2C operators may find many outlets for cost-effectively reaching their customers from a booth at a trade event to piggyback promotions with suitable companies and events.
Granted, offline advertising and event sponsorship are best at driving traffic to your website when you have a short and snappy URL that viewers will remember and type in without error, or when they have branded swag that was really worth keeping, but the opportunities are vast and vertical for those that can cover all of the angles, and they should be explored by all operators interested in maximizing their visitor volume.
8) Social Networking
It's no longer a mere nicety; today, performers are expected to keep up with all the latest fads including having and maintaining MySpace and Facebook pages, while Twittering up a storm about every last detail of their life or their company's latest offerings.
While performers using social networks seem to get all the buzz, it's the opportunities for operations of all scopes and sizes to leverage these networks as customer support tools that often go unnoticed. For example, Twitter is a great way to announce updates to your website, keeping your brand alive and growing while encouraging repeat visits.
There are also social bookmarking and other technologies, including community forums, which can be leveraged to drive traffic to your website. Just be sure to play by the often strict rules that these services impose on adult-content posting and promotion.
9) A Personal Push
In adult, personality is a plus, and "being out there," actively engaged in promoting your brand, is an often overlooked means of gaining new — and returning — visitors to your website. This is all about extending your brand into yourself and being the "face" of the operation, taking on more than a "work" responsibility and building it all into a lifestyle.
For example, "bar meets" were once a popular way in which amateur site operators would interact with their fans – holding a scheduled public rendezvous at a given time and location, and taking "group chat" out of the virtual world and into the real one. Larger events, where many performers gather, can drive significant website traffic if you're prominently mentioned in the show's press.
Good examples of operators using personality to drive their businesses today include Sunny Leone and Joanna Angel— people who don't miss many opportunities to gain exposure and get their URLs out there.
10) Meeting the Media
Given the private and publicity-shy nature of many of those involved in adult, making the effort to reach out to the media may require overcoming some personal inhibitions; but at the end of the day, a server-melting load of new visitors could result from any number of opportunities for media coverage, from being profiled in your local newspaper to appearing on television talk shows, to being quoted by news organizations and others. As long as your name and URL get out there, you're increasing the traffic to your site.
Of course, it doesn't take an appearance with Jerry Springer for you to leverage the media as a traffic tool. XBIZ, for example, offers its free Newscaster service, which allows users to submit press releases for publication on the site and its print magazines, as well as direct distribution to other adult media outlets; there's a very good chance that even more resources and news sites, some of them large mainstream agencies, will "scrape" your news from XBIZ — making this a very cost-effective promotional tool. While the XBIZ service is best suited to adult B2B news, its sister site, XFANZ, along with a large number of consumer-targeted industry news and gossip sites allow for media opportunities to match any operator's needs.
Looking over this list of traffic sources, it's easy to see the vast potential for creative marketers to extend their brand and drive visitors to their websites — and there are many more ways to obtain traffic besides those means outlined here. Consider this article a starting point for building website traffic, as well as for marketing and branding your site. Keep in mind, however, that the best results will be obtained by incorporating all of these efforts together, using a cohesive plan that delivers a consistently targeted message that results in bringing new prospects to your website — the first step towards making a sale.