Organic Or Paid Traffic? Which Path Should You Choose?
In the previous post about affiliate marketing, I mentioned the two basic methods of obtaining visitors that you can sell something to – ORGANIC and PAID. Let’s take a closer look at both of them – what are the differences between them and what are the pros and cons of either method.
The basic difference is pretty obvious, you can get organic traffic for free, paid traffic is obviously coming at a price, the height of which depends on many factors. From this point of view, organic traffic would be the obvious choice, but it’s not so easy, as paid traffic offers many benefits too. Let me describe both of them in more detail.
Let’s start with ORGANIC Traffic : Organic visitors are people, who come on their own, so to speak. To work with this type of traffic, you will need something that attracts visitors – a website. There is a ton of site types that you could build, but the easiest one to start is a BLOG – so something as the site you are on right now 🙂 When building a site/blog, it’s always good to choose a subject that you know a lot about, that’s why I’m working on a blog about affiliate marketing as that is my bread and butter.
To start getting visitors, you need to write useful content, that people actually want to read. Visitors who like what you have to say, will recommend your site to their friends, they might share it on facebook or twitter and send more visits. These shares and links are signals for the search engines like google, that will make your site part of the search results for related keywords. This results in more traffic and more readers. This is a very simple summary of what growing organic traffic looks like.
As you can guess, this process takes time, sometimes a lot of time and it can fail too. Writing quality content isn’t easy either, but your time is basically the only investment needed – you need to build a site too, but many of the tools are free and hosting your site will not drill a hole in your wallet either. You really don’t need more than $20 to start a blog, it’s that cheap these days.
But what if you don’t want to wait months for your first visitors?
The answer is PAID Traffic : Pretty much any site or app uses ADs to earn revenue and basically anyone can buy traffic this way. Ever noticed that the first results in google are marked as “ads”? You can buy these placements too. How about the small banners popping up in your favorite free smartphone apps? Yup, you can buy these too. Or how about the “suggested” posts in your facebook feed? Again, these are paid ADs that you can buy as well.
So let’s say you started a blog, you already made a few quality posts, but the visitors are not coming. Buy a “suggested” post on facebook and the first eyeballs will land on your blog quickly. You can actually accelerate the organic traffic growth with properly chosen paid methods.
But the TRUE POWER of paid traffic is not in boosting visits of your blogs or sites. The truth is, in order to buy traffic, you don’t need any site at all. You just need a product to promote – these are called OFFERS in the affiliate world. Let’s say you choose to promote some android phone application. Basically all you have to do is buy traffic from google and send it to the app page in the google play store, and in case you choose the right keywords or make the right banners … you will make some $.
Obviously, I wrote this in a VERY simplified way so it is easy to understand. In reality, you need advanced tracking solution, you have to spend a lot of time with optimization, choose the right keywords … but the principle itself is simple and all the tools you need are out there, ready for you to use.
The biggest advantage of paid traffic is the fast start, once you have all the tools you need prepared, it is literally a question of hours, even minutes in some cases, and you are running. This is something that organic traffic guys can only dream about. Another mega advantage of paid traffic is the scale at which you can run. Once you know what you are doing, only the sky is the limit. I’m regularly buying 10s or 100s of thousands of visitors per day, when working with PPV (pay per view) traffic, it’s millions of impressions per day sometimes.
I know it all sounds nice and easy, but running paid traffic is not just about positives. First of all, you need money to invest and as with any other business, you will be loosing at first. This is absolutely inevitable, every affiliate I know, lost some $ initially when starting with paid traffic. You also need to learn how to buy traffic, how to optimize it, how to analyze the data, how to make creatives etc … there is a learning curve you need to go through.
As I mentioned in my introductory post, one of the thing that keeps me buys is the moderator role on the StackThatMoney forums, where I help aspiring affiliate marketers with their problems related to paid traffic. Due to this, I’m well aware of the problems they face and I will be writing about many of them on this blog. So in case you are interested in paid traffic, definitely watch my blog in the future.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both Organic and Paid traffic generating methods. If there was only one advice I could give you regarding what traffic to focus on, it would be : “Work with both”. Organic sites can provide very stable month to month revenue, but the monthly income will most likely be lower. Paid traffic has ups and downs all the time, but when you properly “HIT” it, it’s not unusual to see profits in the $XX.XXX range in a single day! Obviously , this is the true top league, but I have many affiliate friends who reach $X.XXX profits per day.
Whatever path you choose, affiliate marketing has the potential to become your full time job. It’s what I do for a living ever since I left university and I know many other people who have similar stories to share.
Thanks for reading 🙂