I wanted to quickly post this today. In marketing there are a lot of easy routes, and plenty of hard routes to generate traffic to your site(s). In the early days there was simply Search Engine traffic and paid search arbitrage. So you begin to rely on basic SEO strategies (in those days it was link building) and using PPC from various search engines to drive traffic to your site assets and hopefully convert affiliate earnings or adsense clicks.
People, like myself, would spend hours and days, improving rank, building links, building link wheels and support sites to basically work the available system provided to earn maximum gains from it. I always disliked PPC, because in those days, it was the canary in the coal mine. PPC would “qualify” your ads and you could be punished or removed from programs if someone didn’t feel like your site met their standards.
Then the search algorithm changes occurred. This wiped out countless thin sites (like mine) from search index. Some sites were wiped, some sites recovered. During this phase a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that I was relying too much on things I couldn’t control.. and I hated that feeling.
Community was the key. If I was able to build a network of loyal readers and network of connections, connecting those readers to my various assets, I would add additional traffic streams. What was a low level priority, turned into a high level priority. I began focusing on the social networks. Building likes and building follows and driving traffic from those sources as a priority and then use search as a secondary mechanism.
Building a community, you get quality readers (or customers) so your rate of success increase at a lower rate of traffic. Basically, the 80/20 rule. You know you .. you get 80% percent of sales from 20% of your existing customers, etc. That can be applied in a bunch of ways. Instead of focusing energy on getting random traffic, focus energy on keeping your existing readers and focus on quality readers that will stay.
Besides the classic Social Networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, I also began to focus on mailing lists. To me, mailing list are HUGE and something that went out of favor a 10 years ago, but over the last 4 years or so, have been absolutely vital for maintaining connection with your readers and driving consistent traffic. I personally use MailChimp for all of my mailing lists. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers, and goes up from there. I pay a lot for it now, but is incredibly important to me now. I also use a secondary service called MailMunch to help capture more sign up on the site. This is very passive, and I’m always impressed with the number signups I get with very little effort.
Again, focus energy on community. Having a large community will increase the rate of success. They will share and promote your content (if you maintain quality content) and are worth their weight in gold in the long run. Community…
Let me know what you think by commenting!