threads started by people asking what the best way to generate traffic
is, and we've certainly gotten some interesting responses.
Well, it's time that somebody told the REAL truth about traffic generation
because it's not what most people think it is. For one thing, if you're looking
for that magic bullet that's going to bring you a boat load of visitors to your
site quickly and cheaply, it doesn't exist. Of course how quick and how cheap
will also depend on your niche. Traffic generation is very niche dependent as
you will soon see.
I'm going to try to make this thread as complete as I can without boring
anybody to death. I'm not going to cover every form of generating traffic
because we'd be here all day. So I'll just cover a few of the more popular
ones and point out the good, the bad and the ugly of each of them. There
is no perfection, so get that out of your mind right away.
I'll be rating each method on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best) for speed
and for effectiveness.
Thanks to Travis Sago's Bum Marketing, this has become very popular
among those who don't have a lot of money to spend. I'd been doing
article marketing long before Bum Marketing ever became a household
word. I'm glad I did, or I'd be having a very hard time today.
Article marketing is cheap, no question about it. Hell, it's free. But it's also
a slow process. You can't write one article and expect to get thousands
of people to your web site UNLESS you're in a niche that is virtually
unknown. But then, if you ARE, how much traffic do you REALLY think
you're going to get? If there is that little competition, then more likely
than not, there isn't a lot of traffic to begin with.
Article marketing requires you to write constantly. Naturally, if you're in
a niche that isn't too saturated, your articles will get indexed higher in
the search engines. If you're in a competitive niche, not so high. The only
views you'll probably get are the ones from people going directly to the
article directories themselves. I'll touch on search engines last so don't
worry, we'll get there.
Article marketing can be very effective in any niche, provided you write
good articles and submit to places that get a lot of traffic, like Ezine
Articles. All my niches, regardless of what they are, get good amounts of
traffic from submitting there. So from my experience, it's safe to say that
you'll get a good amount of traffic just by doing this. However, you have
to write a ton. There is no way around that unless you outsource all your
articles. Then, it's no longer cheap.
Effectiveness Rating - 10
Speed Rating - 5
Pay Per Click
This can be the best or the worst form of advertising in the world. The
problem with pay per click is twofold.
1. The cost factor, depending on your keywords.
2. The skill factor, depending on how well you can write a 3 line ad.
I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this because there are a zillion
books written on this subject, but I will briefly touch on the two points
above so you understand why pay per click can be such a bitch.
1. The cost factor - Some niches are dirt cheap. You can get a 3rd
position listing for 5 cents with no problem. Have a good landing page, as
per Google's "definition" and you can clean up. My friend Juan Walker
makes a fortune on his acne product using Adwords because he has the
most relevant product for those keywords and has been around a long
time. Look up acne cure and you'll find his product number 1.
However, some niches are a fortune. I don't use Adwords for my IM
products because the CPC is about a buck.
Let's do some math.
Let's say your product converts at 2%. That means, in order to make 1
sale, you need 50 clicks. That's $50 at a buck a click. If you're selling a
$19 ebook, you better have one hell of a backend that converts like
crazy, or you're going to go broke. That is just simple math. There is no
way around the law of mathematics.
So the cost factor of pay per click can make it so that it's just not
feasible to use for your business model.
2. The Skill Factor - In the few niches I am in that are not IM where the
CPC isn't so bad, there is still another problem...how well your ads are
worded. I split test all my ad groups and you'll be surprised how just ONE
word can make the difference between a CTR of 1% and a CTR of 5%.
I am no expert on 3 line ads. I have to work very hard at it. Somebody
just starting out with no copywriting skills at all is going to get buried
by a low CTR. Why? The lower your CTR, the higher your CPC.
Is pay per click highly targeted? Yes and no. Yes, it is if your ad exactly
matches the page that the prospect is landing on. But if it doesn't, you
run a great risk of having that prospect close up your page because it
doesn't match what he's looking for.
Pay per click is NOT for the feint of heart, regardless of what anybody
tells you. There is a ton to making it work just right, which is why there
are so many books on the subject. I know very few people who have
figured this beast out themselves.
My ratings below are based on the AVERAGE PPC user, NOT an expert.
Effectiveness Rating - 5
Speed Rating - 10
So many people say, "Participate in forums" to promote your product. Well,
guess what? This doesn't work in every niche. Some niches don't even
have forums. Other niches are so strict that they don't allow signatures
at all and even a hint of self promotion and your butt will be thrown out
of the place.
So forum participation is a very select method of promotion. And even
at places where they do allow signatures, you still have to follow the
I'm not going to get into rules and etiquette here. I want to focus
strictly on the effectiveness and speed of forum marketing. It isn't the
magic bullet people think it is, even at forums that allow promotion.
When you first arrive at a forum, unless you already have a big name in
your field, you're a nobody there. You are unknown. So the first thing you
have to do is introduce yourself. Now, don't think that once you've done
that, people are going to come flocking to your sig file. They won't. You
have to establish a presence there. You have to build trust. This takes
time...LOTS OF TIME.
You have to constantly add to the community while at the same time, not
step on any toes of the long time members. Some may take offense to you
coming in and offering your 2 cents on every subject in discussion. So you
have to tread lightly and carefully. This is one hell of a balancing act and
trust me, I am speaking from painful experience, it is NOT an easy one to
Point is, while forum participation can eventually make a name for yourself,
provided you REALLY have something to offer, it is not an overnight thing.
It can take months before you're "accepted" by the community, if you're
ever accepted. Sometimes, people just don't like you and there's not a
blessed thing you can do about it.
Effectiveness Rating - 10
Speed Rating - 3
Safelists & Traffic Exchanges
Now we run into forms of traffic generation that ONLY work in the make
money niche. Forget about trying to get somebody to buy your get out
of debt product through safelists. This form as well as the others that
follow is just not targeted to anything other than opportunity seekers.
The reason is simple. The people who join safelists and traffic exchanges
are interested in just one thing...promoting their business. They are NOT
your prospective customers in any manner, shape or form UNLESS you
have a way for them to improve THEIR business. Otherwise, don't even
waste your time.
So, if you are in the "make money" niche, the way you reach these people
is by giving them free info on how to get more traffic to their site and
make more money. Don't try to sell them anything. You're wasting your
time. Then, once you have them on your list and have gained their trust,
then you can try to sell them.
The following ratings apply ONLY if you are in the "make money" niche.
I have built some decent sized lists using these methods. The good thing
about them is that they are free and used correctly, they do work fairly
Effectiveness Rating - 6
Speed Rating - 10
This is a relatively new gimmick. Truth is, it can be very effective or it can
be a total waste of time depending on your niche and what you have to
There is no question that in the right niche and with the right keyword
tags for your videos, you'll get indexed at Google damn fast and as you've
seen, some videos have hundreds of thousands if not MILLIONS of views.
But...in order to have this happen, your video better be something that
people are going to talk about and pass around. If your video doesn't get
somebody's attention right away, you're dead. Nobody has any patience
anymore. They want instant entertainment and excitement and that's
what your video has to bring them, otherwise, they won't watch. It's
There are a few good books out there on how to create videos that will
make people want to watch. And don't go by my videos. I'm just a tell it
like it is guy and my videos are far from entertainment and don't get many
views. I do mine strictly for a very select groups of people.
Now, there is another problem with video. Even if you get a lot of traffic,
you will find, depending on your niche, that a lot of this traffic is worthless.
Why? They're just surfers. They're not really looking for any great solution
to a problem OR they're looking for a free one. You will find many reports
from people saying that their video traffic doesn't convert well, if at all.
Bottom line: Video is a crap shoot, even WITH a great video. Depends on
your product and what you're offering.
Effectiveness Rating - 2
Speed Rating - 10
I'm not going to go into a long spiel on this because my experience tells
me that this is not a quick fix. In order to get any significant results from
social bookmarking sites like DIGG, you have to constantly bookmark the
articles on your blog, site, whatever, and write constantly. Over time,
you'll see some results. But again, just like video marketing, which at least
is fast, the traffic is pretty crappy unless you're bookmarking something
that is really so incredible that people have to have what you're selling
in relation to it.
Effectiveness Rating - 2
Speed Rating - 4
Ultimately, this is what it all comes down to.
Bottom Line: Somebody types in "How To Fix My PC" and your site ends
up on page X.
That's it. That's all that matters.
I've been fighting the search engine wars for over 5 years now. With
some keywords, you'll find me on page 1. With others, you'll find me
nowhere. It all depends on the competition and how much time you want
to spend working on:
Optimizing your page versus the other guy
Doing link exchanges
Off Site SEO
And so on. This is the slowest traffic generation method in existence,
trying to win the SE wars. Good luck. I don't even bother trying anymore.
Instead, I focus on using promotional techniques that get my message in
front of my prospect quickly and cheaply. Over time, these methods do
build up momentum and do bring me in a nice income.
Here is the breakdown, percentage wise, of my monthly income.
Article Marketing - 67%
Safelists, TEs, FFA Sites, Message Boards - 20%
Forum Participation - 13%
My monthly advertising expenses - $200
My average monthly income - $10,000
I'm cheap, but my ROI is also ridiculous.
Do I work a lot of hours? Yes. If you look at my above analysis of traffic
generation methods, you'll see why.
Now, I haven't covered everything as far as traffic generation. I've left
out things like buying leads, classified ads, banner exchanges, solo
ezine ads, and a few others, either because they are insignificant, don't
work or are just not cost effective enough. Solo Ezine ads actually can be
very good if you know some tricks. I'll cover that in another thread
someday because they'll take a whole thread to explain properly. There is
an art to solo ezine ads.
Anyway, I know this was long (took about an hour to type out) but I
hope it was helpful to somebody.
As you can see, there is no magic bullet to traffic generation.
I doubt that there ever will be.
** DISCLAIMER** The above is based on my own personal experience. Your mileage
** Further Reflections** It appears I've ruffled a lot of feathers with this post. It wasn't
my intention. Sorry about that.