I am a web developer. In the last year and a half, I've been working on several ideas, one after the other. I found that as much as I enjoy developing them, in the end, I keep bumping my head against a solid brick wall - I can't seem to attract users \ customers.
What tool-sets do I have to attract audience? I know this is a very general question, but I'd like to hear from people who succeeded, what did you do? How did you become known?
MBA here, and web developer.
Remember, it's not just about building a better mousetrap. It's also about the breadth and depth of your influence.
They are more likely to give you money for your products. It's manipulative yes, but it also adds value to the universe, and it's also likely what your competitors are doing.
Now go read the collected works of Al Ries, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin.
You're misunderstanding your problem. It's not that you can't get traffic, it's that you're doing it backwards. This is extremely typical, I've done it myself.
You don't build what you think is a good product, then try to get people to come to it. You first find an audience to validate your assumptions about there being a market for your product, then you build the solution they want/need.
This happens as you open your mouth, share your idea with whom you believe to be your potential customers, then based on the research and validation you get with this process, proceed to build the product they'll buy (assuming there is indeed a market).
It would be awesome if we could just build great stuff and on its own merits people would come and buy, but that's not the reality.
If you're not good at this sort of thing, you may want to partner with someone who is.
The days of simply coming up with something interesting and throwing it on the web are long gone. When you do that, as you and countless small businesses have found, no one knows you're there or visits.
It's akin to asking your phone company to install a business phone line and, three months later, wondering why you have no customers.
You need to give them a reason to visit, and to let them know you're there.
So you need to start marketing, networking and building your site as JBB has mentioned. You need to keep adding content to give the search engines more content to index. Hence the popularity of suggesting adding blogs to startup sites You have to regularly work at all of these, tuning your offer and conversion as you go.
Only once site #1 is getting traffic and conversions and isn't so much of a workload is it time to think about site / service #2, otherwise you're probably just building a portfolio.
What problem are you solving for the target market? What are you doing that makes your solution better than anything else? (Easier, cheaper, faster kinds of things)
If you can't answer these in one sentence, start over.
Everything starts with a client pain point.
It is not "if you build it, they will come". Instead, it's "if you make their lives / jobs significantly easier, they will find you".
It takes time, patience and a lot of work. Sorry, there is not a silver bullet for this.
Also, developing and releasing web apps out there in hopes that one of them will be successful is not the answer either, you'll better off by focusing on one application that you know at least 30 people are interested about.
How to do this? Interview with small business owners in your area and ask them about their major pains that can be solved with a web application of some sort. Before you even build it, get at least 30 people who will be interested in actually trying it and willing to pay for it if it solves their problem. This how you want to do this, do not build the application first.
If what you are looking is exposure to a lot of people because you think you have built something great, then sign-up for a startup incubator in your city, these places will help you get your company formed and expose you to potential clients and partners.
It's hard to say without knowing more about your situation, but if you have very few customers, then I'd suggest finding 3-10 people who may find the app useful, asking them to use it and making all the improvements they suggest. Not only will your product work for others in their situation, you'll have also gained some strong advocates.
As others have mentioned, blogging, Twitter, etc, are useful if you have a loyal user base which you want to grow.
Here are some basics for getting traffic:
The primary tool you should reach for is a marketing-focused co-founder. Your genius is for getting from idea to functioning web app, so find someone whose genius is getting the word out, bringing in new users and engaging them, all that jazz.
Alternatively, find someone like that and ask them to give you thirty minutes worth of advice. (I do this for startups in Cambridge, UK - anyone who's willing to buy me a cappuccino and is willing to go for a time and venue that suits me gets half an hour of my undivided attention!) You don't have to take the advice, but it will get you thinking about the kind of activities you need to get done, by yourself, by hiring service providers or through informal and formal partnerships.
First the bad: the definition of a good product is a product that people are buying.
Now, maybe you should think of building an affiliate program if all your efforts have been pure loss. Moreover, if you cannot find affiliates, it means that your products are not good, because the good thing with salespeople is that they refuse to sell something which is not worth the effort.
I have a plain notebook full of good ideas that I buried after asking to my friends in sales if they were willing to sell it for me for a commission.
Not to reiterate what everyone else said, but just because you think your product is awesome doesn't mean your end users do.
I don't know if it's relevant to your location, but at Tel Aviv University, they advertise startup events where you can display your product and get feedback from students (who usually are more into tech and likely to be early adopters). Could be a good place to get feedback.
I'm also a big believer in video, create videos that demo why your product is awesome and put it on your site and YT. Even if it takes you all day to create one decent cut, it will be worth it.