From all the traffic possible we can divide it in many ways, but most people separate free traffic from paid traffic. That is a good way to distinguish traffic that you pay cold hard cash for, PAID TRAFFIC, from web visitors that you haven’t paid cash for, FREE TRAFFIC.
There is no Such Thing as Free Traffic
The fallacy is that with the exception of a few meagre visitors there is really no free traffic just as there is no free lunch, what you don’t pay for with money often requires lots of time and consistent effort, the most common amongst these are social media and to some extent SEO. Or probably a more correct term would be “attempted SEO”, I mean attempted because there is far too much misinformed DIY SEO and pseudo-SEO that is more SPAM than SEO… Are you still with me? Good!
As I was saying, in short free traffic is just traffic that you pay for with other type of capital, TIME. So you need to decide whether your time is best spent doing what you do best and leave the traffic, conversions and design to someone that knows what they are doing and are hopefully as good at it and as committed as you are at your job, passion or specific talent.
I prefer to segment traffic into traffic from the web and traffic from the real world.
Traffic From The Web
- E-mail – E-mail marketing and
- Display Ads – Banner ads on other sites
- Affiliate Marketing – Banners or links on other sites
- Natural Search – SEO – aka free search traffic (good luck with that)
- Paid Search – PPC – Pay-Per-Click – Adwords on Google, Ads on other engines
- Social Media Ads – e.g. Facebook ads, sponsored tweets
- Social Media Posts – your content shared on social sites
- Links From Other Sites – This will normally come under SEO and link building, very few sites have the popularity to earn natural links from other sites without having to put some thought and effort in acquiring those links.
Traffic From the Real World
- Your Business Card – some have done away with those all together
- Your Business Stationery
- Flyers - aka Junk Mail
- Your Shop Window – If you have one
- Word of Mouth – Most people will go with a friend’s recommendation
- Advertising Boards
- TV and Radio
- QR Codes
- Anywhere Else You Can
Is Traffic and More Traffic Really What You Want?
For many of us that have been working in the industry for some time and have a permanent flow of traffic from Google organic listings, it is obvious that traffic is not the end goal, while you do need some traffic, more is not always the solution to your problems and you can in fact get too much of it or the wrong type of visitor to the point of draining server resources and affecting your bottom line.
So what you really want is traffic that is relevant to whatever the goals of your website are. We call this a conversion, for example if you are selling physical goods, Ecommerce, you want visitors that place orders and pay for them, conversion.
Enter the Conversion World
A conversion may also be any other action you want a visitor to preform, this could be subscribing to your newsletter, RSS feed, share a page on Twitter or any other goal on your site.
Having traffic and the overused PR (PageRank) for SEO as benchmarks or KPIs, are a poor measure of your objectives, what you need is more conversions, if you can achieve that with your existing traffic the better, in the end most sites are there to make some kind of return, in the real word that means Pounds, Dollars, Euros or Bananas… just checking you’re still awake…
That’s what your web design, web marketing and social media efforts should focus on, as a business your ego and any other rankings or traffic analytics shouldn’t get in the way of juice banana bunches.