Traffic is the essential lifeblood of any online business, ecommerce website, or blog that is being monetized. Referral traffic, responsible for those visitors who come after finding information and a link to your site (and not through a search engine,) is a powerful source that is often overlooked, with such an obsession over SEO.

Since referral traffic can be a game changer to your site, let’s examine some of the best and most reliable sources of referral traffic.

1. Pay-per-click (PPC) Traffic

The fastest way to more traffic is to run a pay-per-click campaign. You can run a PPC campaign through Facebook, Google, Bing and many other excellent sources of referral traffic, to get targeted visitors quickly. Each site where you can run PPC ads will have different advantages and disadvantages. Facebook allows you to laser-target based on the user’s info, since they have an incredible amount of information related to demographics, interests, etc. On the other hand, Google’s AdWords program is best for targeting keywords searches. LinkedIn is great for B2B, and so on.

Since you’re paying for the traffic, it’s basically up to you to determine how much you want. If you have a budget, this may be the way to go. If your budget is limited, most PPC campaigns allow you to determine a daily ad spend amount, and it won’t go beyond that. Another common feature of PPC campaigns is the ability to pause and resume campaigns very easily.

2. Social Media Sites

Social media sites are another great place to generate referral traffic, as Internet users spend more time on social than anywhere else. As a referral traffic source, this is separate from any PPC or other paid advertising at social sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. Since content on social has the ability to spread virally, engaging content should consistently be published at all available (and appropriate) social networks.

Beyond the big social networks, social news sites such as Reddit and social bookmarking sites are other social sources that should be leveraged.

#3 Other Blogs in Your Niche

Other blogs can help give your site a boost in a couple of ways. First, there’s guest blogging, which can give you exposure and grow your credibility to a new audience. While you get a platform for some exposure, the blog owner gets fresh content from you, so it can be a nice trade off and way to build strategic partners.

Blog commenting is another way to siphon traffic from other sites in your niche. For commenting to be effective, the comments have to bring something new and interesting to the table. Spammy or generic looking comments rarely make it past moderation, but it’s a simple and quick way to grow exposure, if you leave solid comments.

#4 Related Forums and Message Boards

Somewhat of a hybrid between blog commenting and social networks, forum posting can be used to get attention and some eyeballs. Forums were where conversations were held online before the mass adoption of social networks, and many boards still exist with large and extremely active users. Finding a forum or message board in your niche can be a great opportunity.

While there are many other ways and places where referral traffic can be generated, this is a good start and should get you thinking about how you can get more from this powerful traffic source.