Traffic Building Tools And Websites: Social Marketing And Link Building For Designers

A lot has changed now and social media is changing rapidly. This article will help you see hidden gold mines you can discover to build a lot of back links, bring huge social media traffic and enjoy the whole process along the way. I participate in social media mainly because I need traffic, but I also enjoy that I am able to communicate with a lot of people, find good articles I would never find otherwise and learn a lot of stuff all the time! And this skill always comes handy whenever you deal with the Internet – everybody needs more traffic, more buyers, more visibility and good brand built online!

In this section you won’t find advanced explanations how to use each of the services, just basic tips, you’ll get a glimpse of everything. I am creating this article for my own one stop place while doing promotion. Work hard on bigger networks and submit your links to small social sharing sites, submit news and in the end you’ll get good back links, good visibility and social traffic! My own 1stWebDesigner success is built through these websites, which allowed me to get 50,000 unique visitors to my site in its first month of existence. Now I have developed my skills and I am giving you tools and sites which work today (however I also added comments on sites, which are popular but are hard to master, be aware of these too).

1. Twitter

Twitter, undoubtedly is the largest source of visitors for many blogs and websites nowadays. Do it the right way and you’ll see how the conversion rate rises. Twitter can be a big waste of time so check out some of the tools I recommend to automate some of the tasks and spend your precious time just on things that really matter and produce the greatest benefit to your company.

There are some great tools to use to effectively automate your account and easily follow up conversations.

My top picks are:


This online application will help you in your daily browsing by allowing you to schedule your posts to Twitter any time you visit a worthy link, article, picture, video – and the best thing is this app will analyze your Twitter followers and will schedule tweets at times when your audience is the most responsive and active. I tried several apps for tweet scheduling, but this is by far the best I’ve found so far!

If you own the blog as I do you will want to promote your articles on Twitter, Facebook and more with ease. automates this process by tweeting and posting articles on Facebook automatically once they are published. Small app is a huge time saver! This site also has a lot more built in features such as analysis, automatically adding a hash tag and more. Irreplaceable tool in your social media promotion toolbox.



Since Twitter purchased Tweetdeck they have released a new version together with the new Twitter. The new version of Tweetdeck is stripped down, but for me it still fulfills my needs and if Twitter owns it I am sure they will maintain top quality and fix any bugs it might have. I love Tweetdeck’s multiple columns, the previous version wasn’t running smoothly on Mac, but this one certainly is!

My suggestion is to use Tweetdeck for closer communication with your followers and getting to know more people.  Be sure to also check @ replies to thank you for retweets and engage in conversations you started.



This is a lovely ‘invite only’ community which is built all around the concept of tribes. The basic idea is to become a part of a like-minded tribe, where everybody is interested in a particular topic. There you just add your RSS feed and other people in your tribe will see your updates and will tweet your posts if they find them interesting. It’s like a link exchange service, only you choose what to promote, of course you need to be in the right tribe with people who don’t just spam their users, but search for value – and these people actually will help you the most if they choose to tweet your article! Friendly community and it was the most buzzed about Twitter community project a few months ago. Worth a shot.

Ask on Twitter for invites or ask me.

2. Facebook

Facebook, the other social giant, and specifically Facebook pages are definitely a great way to promote your content. Note that FB is different from Twitter, for example, you need to post here just 1-2 times daily and here you need to work much harder to get attention and drive traffic. Focus on high quality – I usually curate Twitter tweets from BufferApp and post the top performing tweets on Facebook.

Also try to mix these updates with questions, ask your visitors opinions about trendy topics, create contests there – provide value! Ah and by the way I am using for 1WD Facebook page to automatically post new 1WD articles there.

3. StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon was a serious traffic source before Twitter and Facebook flourished and I believe it will be back on track after the redesign.

Here are some quick tips on how to gain friends, get more shares and traffic in result.

You cannot get anywhere with friends that are interested in the same topic you are and would want to exchange stumbles between each other. One way to increase your profile visibility would be just to stumble like crazy, leave reviews on another similar websites and hope you will be noticed, but I suggest you to take the  smarter route. Reach all the people directly, find the ones who are active and are interested in the same niche – approach them, explain how you can both benefit from being friends and if you’re lucky – you’ll get your first SU friend! Repeat this process until you are happy and you have enough people in your circle.

The second step is to actually fulfill your promises – stumble what your friends are sharing from the bookmarklet SU provides and ask the same back! However don’t go crazy, only promote really good stuff and remember that SU people have short attention spans – so focus on images or video instead of long text articles! Sharing is clunky, you need to click one by one to each person you want to share your website with, but you’ll get your rewards. Just be consistent and SU can be beautiful first traffic and ongoing traffic forever!

To let you dig deeper, here is a beautiful SU traffic guide.

4. Digg

Ah, there were good Digg days, when it was possible to get really good traffic easily here, remember the famous Digg effect and traffic spikes? Well, now everything has changed and if you’re super smart and knowledgeable, you can try Digg, but for most of us it is just a big waste of time.

Not recommended anymore for easy traffic – Twitter, Facebook, SU are much better ways to build your brand and together with it, drive traffic. With Digg mostly it was just about traffic, but now even that’s lost – they don’t have much traffic anymore even if you get on the front page, and believe me it’s super hard to get there anyway. I was a Digg power user and still 1WD only made it to the front page a few times where twice it was quickly buried and twice we got really good traffic, but it was very a small amount for the amount of effort we put in to get there in the first place.

Of course, despite all the bad luck with redesigns Digg is still a significant player in the game of social promoting if you really know how to play that game.

5. Designbump

Although it has become a little neglected Designbump still is a useful library to find tons of design related news around the web. I suggest this one especially for building links, you need to get 9-10 votes to get on the front page, but even if you don’t, you still show up in their database.

The traffic building tips on Designbump are the same as SU, write personal messages to like-minded, active people and work on exchanging votes. Do not waste too much here though, because traffic isn’t that great.

6. Google+

Yet not reached it’s potential till now, Google+ is a powerful social network the largest bloggers are already using actively. Google+ is the newest player in the social media field, but it’s been growing quickly and it is predicted it will reach 200 million users in 2012.

Here it’s all about the people and the circles you establish – if you can build up a strong following, you will get great rewards!

7. Reddit

Reddit is tough one, because it is a very strong and private community which neglects outside promoters who just want to build traffic. My suggestion is – if you cannot blend in with the community and mix up your submissions and activity with promotion, don’t even start here. You’ll get burned quickly. But however if you love a geeky community and would enjoy spending free time there anyway, you can get high rewards, most of Digg’s traffic went to Reddit after it’s redesign, remember that!

8. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is changing all the time and actually improving, I’ve tried using their forums and promoted my articles through there and surprisingly got some traffic easily. But basically all you need to do is to provide value, be active and make use of that community! The same way as all other social networks: you need to communicate and approach many people to gain attention, nothing will come if you don’t ask for it and actually initiate the first step.

Here is good article explaining how to use the new LinkedIn company pages.

9. Ffffound

Ffffound is another image bookmarking service where you can submit your inspiration related content.


The community news is one of the major sections of All submissions will be moderated yet they’re charging a review fee of $2.99 so that may hold lot of people back.

13. Designflavr

14. Fuel network

Fuel network consists of 9 websites. Anyone can submit links with a short description which will then appear in the sidebar.

15. 10steps

17. Desizntech

18. Instantshift

19. Fubiz

Fubiz is a superb place to find inspiration and they’ve got a quick link feed in the sidebar where you can submit your links.

22. CSS Drive

23. Designrfix

25. Dzone

27. Tutorial9

Tutorial9 used to be a big Photoshop tutorial site, but David Legget decided to change it all and  now it’s more of a design article curation site with a growing community. Submit your best design related content here.

28. Zootool

Bookmarking services with search feature like Zootool can be a great way to attract new readers.

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