This is a question I have pondered about many times. Not only that, I have changed my opinion a couple of times as well.
When I started on the internet back in 2004 I didn’t have a clue about how to get visitors to my site. It was a affiliate site built in HTML without any software.
I searched for solutions and specially after free solutions. Now when I think about it I it is a shame that I didn’t test adwords in the early days. Many marketers tell stories about how easy it was to drive traffic with Google then. Well…not me.
The method I decided to try was traffic exchanges. If this is new to you, I’ll explain. You visit two sites and you get one visit to your site. That is the principle and yes I got some traffic and I also got some sales after a while. It would have been better if I had failed completely as I hold on to this method far too long.
I was an early adopter for blogging and I started to get some traffic from the search engines. This was extremely interesting and I bought every course I found.
For many ears I thought that free traffic from the search engines was THE way to get people to my websites.
I have built over 100 keyword domain sites and they worked very well for some time. I had auto blogs generating fresh content several times a day and that was also a success.
Videos on Youtube were really easy to rank and actually they can still be used without massive link building if you use the right keywords.
So I had some results with free traffic but the results didn’t match my expectations. I needed more traffic, much more.
Main problems with free traffic:
– Difficult to scale as you are dependent on the search engines or other bots.
– Difficult to test landing pages and copy as most of the time there are not enough traffic
– Time consuming as you have to wait for optimizations and link building to get noticed by the bots.
Actually I did test some paid traffic but I failed miserably….or I should say that I learned a lot :-). Unfortunately I didn’t understand what I learned until years later.
The magic word that I didn’t understand or probably didn’t even know the word was: Funnels. I tried to drive traffic to a single book or product. Now when I think about it I am not sure when funnels became popular.
When you have a good funnel you are able to pay a lot more for every click. This is really important. When you combine/start the funnel with list building you should have a great system in place.
There are so many different paid traffic sources and you should not treat them equally. Facebook is what I have used most but it also depends on what you are selling.
As I have worked with eCommerce the previous 3 years, I found that FB worked great for me. The best results I got with short video ads.
In summary I would say that when you choose between paid and free website visitors it depends on the kind of product or service you offer.
Another great source of traffic that I haven’t mentioned is traffic generated from affiliates. That can be highly effective and something I will try when I release my new product with the help and advice from my mentor.
Mentor? Yes, I have finally decided to get help to be more focused in my business. That will be a topic for another blog post.
Let me know what kind of traffic you find best?