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Are Traffic Exchanges a Viable Way to Build Your Online Business?

Updated on November 14, 2008


For the webpreneur who is looking for another way to get more traffic to their website, traffic exchanges offer a number of advantages. But to make the most of the benefits they offer you need to understand exactly how they work.

What is a traffic exchange?

A traffic exchange is a website whose members surf other sites in exchange for credits which allow their own sites to be viewed by others. It is a simple system which works well and is used by many online marketers to boost awareness of their products and generate more page views and sign ups.

Many traffic exchanges also offer the opportunity to promote banners and text links for your site (or for any other site or opportunity you are promoting). This enables you to utilise different methods of promotion to discover which ways work best for you.

The best type of traffic exchange is the manual exchange, which requires you to click an icon or button of some kind to earn your credits after viewing each site. Auto exchanges are not generally thought to be worthwhile, as they can be set to surf and require no input from you during the surf session.

It's easy to rack up the credits on an exchange like this, enabling your site to be shown many times over, but this doesn't automatically mean your site is seen by a human being. The best advice is to stick to the manual exchanges as they consistently offer better results in the long run.

How do you join a traffic exchange?

There are usually several different types of membership to these sites, some of which require parting with some cash on either a monthly or a one off basis, but for the new webpreneurs who are looking to keep costs down the vast majority of free memberships are more than suitable in order to start seeing some results.

Use a search engine to find some traffic exchanges and see what's currently available before deciding which ones to join. It's definitely advisable to join more than one; three or four is a good number as you can take advantage of several ways to earn and receive traffic, without becoming bogged down with too many different exchanges to handle.

The popular traffic exchanges will keep cropping up again and again - websites such as TrafficSwarm have been around for years and are used by thousands of members to boost the traffic to their websites. Generally speaking the more members a site has, the more sites you will be able to surf and the more credits you can earn each day. A long standing site is also unlikely to disappear without notice.

New traffic exchanges pop up all the time, and many of them offer extremely tempting bonuses for joining. If you get in early you may be able to get an early membership for free which allows you to advertise unlimited URLs. This is very valuable as the majority of traffic exchanges have a strict limit on the number of sites you can promote - ten is usually around the maximum for a free member and it can be much lower.

While many traffic exchanges have been around for years and are still going strong, some new ones only last for a few weeks before disappearing without trace. Bear this in mind when selecting which exchanges to join.

Paid traffic exchange memberships come with a number of advantages, such as increased cash rewards for referrals, free monthly credits, more sites to promote and free banner impressions every month. The best advice is to take out a free membership to start with and see how it works for you. If you find one particular exchange works well you can then upgrade if you feel it would be worth it - but test it out thoroughly first to make sure your money is well placed.

How can you tell which traffic exchange is worth joining?

Personal preference counts for a lot - some traffic exchanges are loved by some marketers and hated by others - but those who offer a bounty of free credits to all new members should be shortlisted as possibles.

Look for a good surf ratio as well. The way a traffic exchange works is very simple. In exchange for every site you surf, you receive a credit or partial credit. Each credit then gives you a single view of your site to others on the exchange.

So an exchange which offers a one to one ratio is just about the best you could find, as for every site you view, your own site will be seen once also. A 2:1 ratio means that you'll need to view two sites for your own site to be seen once.

Some sites offer better ratios than this - TrafficSwarm generally gives between one and five credits per site seen, although you can get up to one thousand credits per site viewed. Web Traffic Genie is also extremely generous with its credits, giving away up to ten credits for every site you view.

How do you get the best from your traffic exchange memberships?

Even if your membership is free, you will still need to invest some of your time in order to surf for credits. These credits then allow your site or sites to be shown to other members. This is where a high surf ratio comes in useful, as you can amass credits far more quickly on the more generous exchanges and they will last a lot longer as well.

Regular effort and input is the key to maintaining consistent results from your traffic exchanges. Block out some time on a daily basis for surfing, perhaps during coffee breaks or during moments when you are waiting for your computer to do a back-up to disk for example.

The idea is to build up a reserve of credits in each traffic exchange account, so that your websites will continue to receive traffic even when you are not actively surfing. This is easier to do on some sites than on others, depending on how quickly each traffic exchange uses the credits you earn.

Some traffic exchanges - such as ClickThru for example - allow you to build up the credits at your leisure and allocate them to your sites as and when you see fit. This is a tremendous advantage as you have total control over how many people see your site and when they see it.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Using Traffic Exchanges?

The biggest danger of using traffic exchanges is that you can become hooked on surfing and forget to devote time to the rest of your business. They are best used to complement other methods of traffic generation and should not be used solely as a means of getting free traffic.

It should also be remembered that not every kind of site or webpage is suited to being promoted via a traffic exchange. All traffic exchanges use a timer which means you have to view each site for a specific amount of time before receiving credit for it. This is usually between ten and thirty seconds.

Your site has to make an impression during those few seconds in order to get the most from using a traffic exchange. You are unlikely to get a good response if you are trying to sell something on a traffic exchange. Your best bet is to use them to build your downlines in other exchanges, get free sign ups to any referral programs you may be a member of, or build your mailing list by giving away a free report in exchange for an email address.

Why build a downline in a traffic exchange?

Downlines are highly recommended as a way to leverage your time and enjoy more free credits - and therefore more page views for your website - for referring other members.

Most sites give you a bonus for referring someone, plus a percentage of the hits they earn. So if a new member earns five hundred credits per day by surfing, you might find you earn one hundred referral credits on a daily basis as well - and all for doing nothing.

If you can build a network of surfers beneath you, you can get to the stage where you no longer have to devote time to surfing yourself, as you will earn the credits you need from the surfers you have recruited.

Traffic exchanges can be a wonderful way to earn traffic and get your site up and running and enjoying a presence on the World Wide Web. But as with all forms of advertising it should not be relied upon as the only method for traffic generation.

Experiment with the traffic exchanges you join to see which ones work best for you. You may find you need to try a dozen or more before settling on the three or four best ones. Always be on the look out for new exchanges in order to take advantage of any opening deals or offers, and make sure the websites you are advertising stay up to date and don't have any dead links in them.

A traffic exchange can bring your website to a whole new audience, and can be highly beneficial if used correctly. As with all methods of traffic generation, time and experience will enable you to get the best from any traffic exchange you use.

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    • sitelaunchsystem profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      In my opinion, traffic exchanges may have been viable sources of traffic a few years ago. However, the problem with traffic exchanges is that they don't and can't provide truly targeted traffic. The traffic from these portals is just like what you're doing - visiting your site for the required amount of time just to get traffic to their own sites. These visitors don't necessarily have any interest in your offer. Sure, a few may catch on if your website is informative enough or your offer is enticing enough. But those chances are pretty slim. Not to mention, using traffic exchanges can get time-consuming when you have to visit other websites for a certain amount of time yourself in order to get the most benefit.

      Your efforts are better spent blogging for your business, building backlinks naturally or investing in effective paid advertising where you can target your ideal customers.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is good to build up a mailing list. I doubt anyone from TE will buy anything.

    • equealla profile image


      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Useful info, Thank you.

    • yoursuccesscoach profile image


      8 years ago from Singapore

      Great positive information about TE. And I love the fact you did point out the disadvantages people will be facing in using the exchanges.

    • J  Rosewater profile image

      J Rosewater 

      9 years ago from Australia

      I could use this information for one or two author sites I have. Thanks!

    • relache profile image


      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      You are aware that using traffic exchanges is a violation of Google's AdSense TOS, aren't you?

    • EarnMate profile image


      9 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      I believe you've gone through long experiences with several traffic exchanges. Your positive and creative point of views toward TE definitely confirm me to continue go in-depth experiences with using TE effectively.

      Thank you very much for your sharing

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the informations

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      I don't promote websites at all - this is just information about traffic exchanges for those who don't know much about them

    • bgamall profile image

      Gary Anderson 

      9 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      So I assume you do not promote sites with adsense. So what kind of sites do you promote?


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