As dedicated bloggers, we are all looking for ways to generate more traffic to our sites. From a business standpoint, the more traffic you have to your Web site, the greater chance you have of someone clicking one of your ads. From a creative standpoint, a writer is nothing without his or her readers. Furthermore, with an estimated five million blogs floating around the Internet, we can’t simply rely on search engines to funnel visitors our way. That’s why it’s important to create your own traffic streams. One way to do that is through traffic exchange sites. While there are quite a few of this type of sites, there are more specialized sites that focus on blogs and these are the services I want to discuss here.

The way these sites work is like this: For every blog you visit through whichever service you’re using, your blog will receive a visit in return from someone else. Most of the time, it’s not a 1:1 ratio. You’re more likely to find 2:1 ratios, meaning for every two blogs you visit, your site will receive one in return. The traffic exchange site keeps track of your blog surfing through a special javascript program that runs in your browser. Once you activate the program, it automatically loads a random blog. A 30 second timer counts down and then a security question pops up to ensure you’re actually surfing and not having a bot do it for you. The timer is there to give you a chance to read the blog before moving on. The idea here is that you might find something you enjoy and now that blog has a dedicated reader. And the same goes for you when someone randomly views your blog through this system.

There are a few problems inherent with blog traffic exchange sites. The biggest problem is that the community is full of bloggers. By nature, bloggers want readers, not to become a reader. So, more often than not, you will have people landing on your blog who are just waiting for the timer to countdown so that they earn their credit. Even if this particular surfer is making a genuine effort to read blogs, you only have 30 seconds to sell them before they answer the security question to view the next blog. This problem of non-reading is further compounded by these traffic exchange sites completely randomizing their pool of blogs. It’s not surprising to run into the same blog three or four times during your surfing for credits.

Two of the more useless blog traffic exchange sites are BlogSoldiers and BlogMad. BlogSoldiers took forever to get an admin to approve my site. Once I was finally approved, any time I made an alteration to my preferences for my blog credits, it required the same interminable admin approval. Lastly, I think their community might be dead, because I’ve set my preferences to use 100 of my earned credits a day, meaning I want to have 100 visitors see my site through BlogSoldier surfing a day. Instead, I get maybe one view every two days. Last I checked, I had over 400 credits waiting to be used.

BlogMad is just as dead. While their system gives you plenty of ways to earn credits, like challenging other blogs to fights, credit lotteries and referrals, I don’t think there’s enough people using that service anymore. Once again, I only get one or two hits every two days. Sadly, they’re usually from the same few people.

The biggest, most glaring problem with these two blog traffic exchange sites is that you can permanently resize the window while you surf for credits. I was able to earn over 400 credits in one day on both sites while at work, just by keeping the surfing windows as small as possible and answering security questions every 30 seconds or so. People using those services are now truly only surfing for the credits and not for the reading.

The best bet is to stay away from traffic generating gimmicks like these altogether. They’re time consuming and don’t produce any quality visitors.