There Are Two Kinds of Web Traffic
The first thing everyone should understand is that there are only two fundamental types of traffic: paid and unpaid. Paid traffic includes: online advertising such asÂ pay-per-click marketing, and banner advertising. Unpaid traffic or natural traffic is traffic that your site receives without you having to directly invest in getting it there. Examples would be a wellÂ optimized websiteÂ showing up in the search results for terms a phrases people are searching for, social media traffic that has resulted from people taking an interest in what your business offers, any press or coverage you receive from bloggers or main stream media that was not paid for.
A couple of quick thoughts on the two types of traffic:
- Ideally, every website would be promoted with a combination of the two.
- Natural traffic (unpaid traffic) still has a cost in terms of time and energy invested to create the content people are visiting in the first place
- Paid traffic is often short term while natural or unpaid traffic often continues to bring in traffic for an extended period of time. For example, a banner ad only brings in traffic as long as you pay for it but a well written blog post or nicely put together video on Youtube may continue to bring in traffic for years to come.
Investing VS Spending
Another fundamental concept is that every time you do something to grow your web presence, it should be seen as an investment and not an expense or cost. This may not be the proper way to look at it from an accountantâ€™s point of view but I find that if you look at putting the money, time, and effort into marketing your site as an investment itâ€™s easier to do. Your online marketing especially should be seen as an investment that needs to pay you a return. If thereâ€™s no potential return then whatâ€™s the point? I bring this up because many people still have the old advertising mentality that thinks that advertising and marketing is an expense that may or may not pay off.Â
Aside from making it easier to do, there is another reason for adopting this line of thinking. That reason is that on the web, just about everything you do to promote your site can be tracked and if it can be tracked and quantified then a return can be calculated.Â
Over time as you test methods of traffic generation against each other, you will build a portfolio of â€œinvestmentsâ€ you can choose from where the return on investment (ROI) and expected results are clear ahead of time.Â
Test Everythingâ€¦then test some more!
The third fundamental concept of Internet marketing is testing. While you may not be able to afford every possible method of generating traffic, leads, and sales online at first, you can always start small, pay attention to the results and track your progress.Â
Everything should be tested; from the color of your website, to your photos to your offers to various ad formats and advertising platforms etc. The list is truly endless but donâ€™t let this overwhelm you. The key is to pick a few things (marketing tools or concepts) you are going to focus on and then make it a habit to test the various aspects of how you apply each one. For example, if you choose to build an email list and write a newsletter like this one, you might test various ways of asking people to join your list. You might test different subject lines, different content ideas, different calls to action and different offers. The key is continual testing and tracking of your results.
Really itâ€™s about practice and refinement. The more times you practice a sales pitch to a prospective client and the more prospects you see and the more variations you use in the shortest amount of time possible the faster you will arrive at your destination. The great thing about the web is that just about anything can be tested, changed, updated and tracked and this can all happen in a relatively short amount of time. The other interesting thing about the Internet is that small adjustments in how you do things can often bring huge improvements in results. Case in point, in some of the Google Adwords ads Iâ€™ve written for my clients, simply by using a variation of a word â€“ e.g changing the word â€œneedâ€ to â€œwantâ€ in the body of an ad â€“ Iâ€™ve seen an ad pull 20-30% more clicks. On the web it is often about the small details and each of these details can be tested.Â
You can also flip that statement on its head and come at it from another angle which is to only test huge changes. Itâ€™s sometimes too slow to vary every minute detail of a campaign or website for example. In this case you might be best served by making drastic changes and monitoring the results. They key again is to test, test, test!
Test your ad copy, test your landing page copy, test your email copy, email subject lines, and so on. If youâ€™re launching a new site, test what domain name you will go with, test different page layouts and so on. There really is no limit. Yes, you have to be practical about how you use your time, just know that sometimes huge performance increases are a small change away. Also know that by testing and refining each aspect of your site and online marketing, as long as you track your results and keep what works, in time you will end up with compounded, positive results.