Here at the Daily Fix and throughout the Internet, there's been tons of discussion...
...built on one premise: increasing Web traffic. I think it's time to step back from the hype and review the situation. What works and what doesn't? I hope lots of people will leap in, but for starters, I want to throw down the fruits of my (openly opinionated and shamelessly subjective) experience.
Nota bene: I acknowledge that what has worked for me won't necessarily work for everyone. Conversely, I admit that techniques that have failed may reflect my own weaknesses, not flaws in the tactics.
Google AdWords: The pay-per-click stuff. Not a big winner for me. "Copywriter" and "copywriting" are just too expensive for me to be serious player; and I'm afraid that were I to invest (and it would take lots of investment) in the most obvious keywords, I'd attract lots of spurious, unqualified traffic.
I recognize that to proceed with this approach, I'd have to narrow my market and proposition, and target more precise keywords appropriate to my desired niche. Right now, I consider this a future possibility, not an urgent need.
Keyword stuffing: Lame-o. I'd rather have quality content qualified prospects WANT to read than artificially juiced copy that lures in the tire-kickers.
Blogs: Big win! But not in the way you might think. The big-time bloggers on this site may jump all over me for saying so, but I don't think blogs are all that successful as "conversation" builders with key constituents.
Why? Because most of the people I want to talk to (and this is true for many of us, I suspect) are just too damn busy to screw around reading blogs all day. Much of this "relationship" stuff is entirely one-sided; we marketers are serenading under lots of windows while the objects of our affection remain indoors, stuffing fingers in their ears.
That said, I find that my blog does serve an important role .... as a traffic builder. Blogs serve up a constant diet of keywords and content to hungry spiders, bots and other bloggers. My stats have significantly improved since I started blogging.
E-newsletter: Not really a traffic builder. But a great way to capture visitors who have arrived. And those that sign-up tend to be on the more qualified end of the prospect spectrum. In my experience, the e-newsletter fulfills the relationship sustaining role that blogs are alleged to have, and it does so in a less intrusive, less time-intensive way.
Articles: Another big winner. Every publication on a legitimate site sends a significant wave of traffic my way. Since most of these articles are archived, the articles maintain a relatively constant stream.
What about article marketing on reprint sites? Yup. That works, too. Though not as effectively as running with a strong publication site.
Public speaking: So-so for traffic. But many event participants who do visit will sign up for the e-newsletter, which is a big plus.
URLs in print ads, direct response vehicles, etc.: For print ads, I just don't know .... I don't run ads myself. Direct mail? That's been a huge winner for many of my clients who've measured huge surges in traffic after mailings. Collateral? Sure, of course you should include your URL in your materials, but I wouldn't expect much from it.
I'm sure there are many other options I've neglected to mention. But it's a start. What say you? What works, what doesn't and why?
Take the first step (it's free).
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