“Website traffic” is a phrase that you probably hear all the time. I know I do. And for those of us who own businesses, traffic to our website is obviously very important. A great website that doesn’t receive any traffic is literally useless.

But that being said, just “driving traffic” to your website isn’t the answer. Because all traffic isn’t created equal.

Now, you wouldn’t necessarily know this if you listen to all of the companies out there that promise to send thousands and thousands of visitors per day to your website. But if you stop to think about it for a moment, it’s common sense.

If you sell high-end IT systems to large businesses, it doesn’t help you to have 500 teenagers each day landing on your site. If it isn’t targeted traffic, it’s useless.

So stop thinking about traffic to your website—and instead, aim for targeted, qualified traffic. How can you drive targeted traffic to your website? I’m glad you asked…

Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. As you build a presence on these social media sites, you will gradually build an audience of people that are interested in what you have to say. These people “self select” themselves—because if your business is irrelevant to an individual, he or she is simply not going to pay attention. As a result, when you post links to your site on social media, the vast majority of those who follow the link are going to fit within your target market.

Use pay-per-click tools, such as Google AdWords. Pay-per-click tools allow you to display ads to individuals as they browse the internet. And, they give you ability to precisely target who sees the ad. For instance, if you want your ad to show up only to female viewers in your city, you can do that. And you can set your ads to target only users who have searched for specific keyphrases on Google or other search engines- for example, a landscaper could have his ad triggered only when someone in a specific zip code searches for “lawn care.”

Write blog entries and articles that your target market is interested in. Blog entries and other content that interests your market is an effective way to draw targeted traffic. Just make sure that this content has value to potential clients—for instance, a photographer could write a blog entry entitled “The Perfect Portrait: Five Ways to Have Your Child Looking His or Her Best.” When an individual clicks on a link to that blog post, whether it’s through social media, through a search engine, or somewhere else, there is an extremely high chance that he is interested in photography services. Otherwise… he wouldn’t care enough to click.

As I tell my clients, it’s not how many people visit your website that matters. It’s how many potential customers visit your site which you then convert to customers that really counts. Going after them is the best way to use your online resources.