April 11, 2008
Driving traffic to your site is one of the first requirements to a successful online business. Without traffic, your site may as well not exist. There are numerous ways you can drive traffic, so let’s take a look at some of them and evaluate them. Keep in mind, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it is some of the more successful ways. . I invite you to share any other ideas that have worked for you.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Affiliate Programs
- Article Syndication
- Press Releases
- Blogging Banner ads
- Joint ventures
- Offline campaigns (that drive traffic to your site)
- Advertising (on other sites, ad networks and industry publications)
Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few of the methods, to help you determine what methods are viable for your business. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, as we work our way through the list above and determine the pros and cons.
You can drive traffic quickly — that’s a good thing!
Your traffic is targeted if you select the right keywords — also a good thing!
You can use PPC to test things (headlines, landing page copy) — great way to use PPC, in addition to just driving traffic for sales. Be willing to sacrifice some profits and use PPC to test ideas before you fully role them out.
You control the settings and can turn it on and off any time — control is good.
There is a lot of research and set up required (unless your outsource it) — not necessarily a bad thing, unless you don’t have the time to learn and implement or the budget to outsource. Your best bet is outsourcing, if your budget allows it. You should be running your business not becoming a PPC expert.
The cost per click can be very expensive on some words — in some industries and on some words it is prohibitively high. In other cases it’s just annoyingly high. You have to determine where your keywords would fall and if you can afford it. How much is a lead worth to you? How much is a sale worth to you? You should figure this all out before your start.
You have to worry about click fraud — bummer! There is software out there to help.
Once you’ve reached your daily spend (the amount you are willing to pay each day) your ads are turned off and your exposure disappears — that’s just how it works. It means there is often a good part of the day where your ad isn’t showing, unless you have a large budget.
- Organic search listings have a higher click through rate than PPC listings. — Getting the most clicks out of any listing is a good thing. Major pro!
- Traffic from the organic results converts at a higher rate than PPC traffic. — Another major pro! Conversion is what it is all about, so getting traffic that is more likely to convert is your ultimate goal.
- Your traffic is targeted if you select the right keywords. — That’s a good thing.
- It is more cost effective than PPC (usually, depending on the cost of your keywords) — Just run the numbers and determine if that is true for you. In many, many cases, $300 of SEO will bring in more traffic than $300 of PPC.
- Your listing appears 24/7 and doesn’t turn off after you’ve reached a certain limit (like in PPC). — Constant exposure is definitely what you are striving for.
- Search engines are the prime source for finding information and websites, with more than 8 out of 10 people using them to find products, services and information. — Makes it a no-brainer. If you aren’t ranked in the top of the engines, you are losing out on traffic.
- You can get content, videos, images and news indexed. — Cool!
- There are unethical companies out there and many people have been burnt before. — True, and very unfortunate. The good news is there are also good companies out there. Find a company that will share references, has a good history and is willing to talk with you and share their action plan.
- It can take a while to get results, depending on the keywords and the history of the site. — True. SEO doesn’t happen overnight. However, I’m sure you’d rather get rich slowly than not get rich at all. It’s the same here, get rankings slowly or don’t do anything and get no rankings.
- It requires a lot of time and attention to detail (unless you outsource it). — As with PPC, this is only bad if you don’t have the time or the desire to spend the time. Outsourcing is a solution.
- Knowing what the “right” keywords are is a little tricky for the average person. — It’s true. If you aren’t outsourcing and are going to handle it yourself, spend some time learning about keyword research. It will be time well spent.
- You tap into other people’s ideas, creativity and circle of influence. — Always a plus, you may even get some ideas from you affiliates.
- You have people out there working for you, and you can leverage their efforts. — Leverage is the key factor most successful, wealthy business people understand and embrace.
- You can’t put your business in someone else’s hands, so you can’t rely solely on affiliates to grow your business. — It’s true there are concerns about how affiliates will represent you, but that is not a reason to avoid setting up an affiliate program. It should be part of your marketing plan ‘ but don’t rely solely on it.
- You can’t offer a duplicate version of your site to affiliates anymore, or the engines won’t like it, so you need different content to provide the affiliate or let them come up with their own content. — This is a change from how things used to be, but if you didn’t run an affiliate program before, you may not have even known that, so it’s definitely not a reason to not proceed now.
- You have to be careful people don’t misrepresent you or cause any harm to your business and reputation. — Very true. Have a strong and direct affiliate agreement, so your affiliates understand the rules.
Stay tuned for part 2, where we look at Article Syndication, Press Releases and Blogging.
Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing and co-owner of http://www.EcomBuffet.com Since 1998, her expertise in online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue and achieve their business goals. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on Search Engine Optimization and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications.