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Graphic © WealthPowerBoost.com Yes, that’s a real screenshot from my Adsense Account. Genuine statistics!
“He who controls the traffic, controls the keys to the kingdom” – Mike Filsaime
“Content may be king, but distribution pays the king’s mortgage” – Wilson White
My most profitable day online so far generated over $6,800 (Adsense revenue). On that day my health blog got over 325,000 pageviews. Yes, that was one day. I’d made over $1,000 before I even got out of bed! Good times.
If you are going to be able to make money online, you need to learn how to drive web traffic – and if you can drive traffic, the kingdom is yours.
Traffic and money are very strongly correlated: If you do not know how to drive traffic to your web site, your offers or your advertisements, you might as well forget trying to make money on the internet. Without traffic, you might as well not even bother having a web site!
What would be the point if no-one visits it?
However, if can generate traffic, you will pretty much always be able to generate revenue.
This is what can happen when you get the traffic (this was all via social media traffic, no paid advertising was used):
Genuine screenshot from one of my Clickbank accounts
And this (Adsense total income):
My All-time Adsense from 2009 to 2020; this account is now closed as I moved to another country and was required to start a new account
Driving traffic is an art-form! It is really the magic key to online success, the “difficult part”. Once you have the traffic, it is relatively easy to turn it into money. Give me a million “real human” visitors a day, and I will make bank.
The first essential rule-of-thumb of the internet marketer is this: Don’t just expect the traffic to suddenly start appearing by itself. It won’t – unless you start doing the right thing. I learned a hugely important fact early on: That the old saying “if you build it they will come” does not apply to the internet. You need to put it in front of them. There are 1.5 billion websites on the internet and you should assume that nobody will go out of their way to find yours.
Getting traffic is intimately connected to the art of getting people’s attention and interest. The world is saturated with advertising, free content, and web sites. You have to stand out. As Seth Godin said, simply being good, is not enough – you need to be “remarkable”.
You need visibility and you need to grab attention – or you will simply not be noticed.
Here are my 10 Essential Secrets Of Driving Massive, Profitable Internet Traffic:
Traffic Secret #1: There Is Unlimited Traffic
There is more internet traffic than you could possibly ever buy.
If you had enough money, you could get BILLIONS of visitors per month. I’m not at all joking!
(You could also lose a ton of money, if your page / offer does not “convert” the traffic into customers.)
There is no shortage of traffic. Many hundreds of millions of people are using the internet at any given moment and you ultimately have the potential to reach them.
You are also not limited at all to one traffic source. Too many people think that traffic means “Google Traffic”, or “Pinterest Traffic” or “Facebook Traffic”. There are hundreds of thousands of websites that can send enough traffic to make you rich.
Traffic has two factors – quality and quantity. You want both. Quality, simply, means that the traffic is comprised of the kind of visitors who are likely to buy – and there are innumerable ways to “narrow the targeting” and distill the traffic down to “ideal visitors” – whether it is by geographic location, age, gender, or interests – such as the kind of web sites that they already visit.
Traffic Secret #2: Free Traffic Is Not Free
Even though people talk about “free web traffic”, it’s good to understand that there is no such thing as free traffic.
Even if you do not buy the clicks, assume that the traffic has a cost – one way or another. It will be either time, money or other resources. Be prepared for this.
Essentially, you can buy it, you can attract it through creating something people share, and you can build an audience. But whatever you do, you will need to invest resources into.
For example – even when I get “free” visitors from Google, I had to invest a ton of time and money in creating the content and doing the SEO / link building.
When I make a post to Facebook, I don’t have to pay to post, but I had to spend a lot of money, time and effort building a big audience first.
The price of the traffic is not what matters. The return on investment is what matters!
What matters is a) how long will it take? b) will I earn more than I spend? c) how aggressively can I scale it? and d) How long will the window of opportunity be open for? (assume that the window WILL close at some point).
If the traffic cost $10, but I only made $11 back, and it took 2 days for the visitors to arrive, that would NOT be cheap traffic (small profit and slow!)
If the traffic cost $1000, but made back $1500 and delivered the visitors in 30 minutes… now THAT is cheap traffic. (Good profit and fast turnaround!)
As an internet-based business owner, you are not here to scrounge for the crumbs from Google’s table, and be proud of the fact that you got the visitors for “free”. You are here, essentially, as a kind of traffic broker, testing different ways of moving traffic around, until you find one that creates a positive ROI… and then you hammer it as hard as you can.
Traffic Secret #3: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Is Overrated
Probably the biggest mistake I ever made was spending about 3 years trying to get traffic from Google.
SEOs are going to hate me for this, but I literally cannot be bothered now. I don’t care what Google is doing these days and don’t care if I get their peanut traffic or not.
I had a few minor SEO successes, sure – but overall… it was way too much work for way too little gain and when I got good at social media, it completely blew SEO out of the water for me. I’m glad I made good quality evergreen content – but with SEO, the light did not justify the candle. I made the big mistake that many others also make when “fresh” to internet marketing – and that was, to think “Traffic = Google”. Relative to what can be sent by Facebook or Pinterest, the amount you get is small, although on the positive side the quality is generally quite high. It’s just difficult. You are also up against must bigger and more established websites with high “domain authority” and a lot of links. It’s hard to catch up with a 100,000 page site that is already gaining links faster than you.
Another challenge is that SEO traffic is unreliable. They could decide that they don’t like your site and eliminate you from the results overnight – and you would be totally powerless to stop it. Of course, this applies to most other kinds of audience you can build online – but it’s particularly true for Google.
Getting top Google ranking for a competitive keyword can be astonishingly difficult and the table is now heavily tilted towards the large, well-established sites that have years or even decades of head start on you. Not only that, but it can take a lot of time and effort before you get ANY traffic. It’s s-l-o-w. You could be waiting months for the traffic to arrive. In the meantime, you have invested much time and money into a scheme that might not even pay off. If (and I really do mean if) you do manage to crack open the floodgate of Google traffic, there is the potential for some genuine auto-pilot income, perhaps even for a few years – as has happened to me a few times – but Google is notoriously both fickle and recalcitrant when it comes to the recipients of its gifts.
One more quick tip on Google traffic: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all you need to do is build quality content. Nothing could be further from the truth, actually – and it’s one of the sad truths of the modern world that crap content with good links will outrank good content with crap links. Back in the day, when I was getting started with this, I set out to build the best article in existence on my chosen topics.
I then watched in horror as… nothing happened. I still have those pages, and they still don’t rank – over ten years later! You should of course still make great content – otherwise your visitors will leave and not come back – just don’t assume that the content alone will be enough to put you over the top. It won’t. You need to promote your content and build links to it very proactively.
However I’m really glad I still have my old websites, and that I approached them as an investment in the future rather than as build-em-cheap-as-you-can throwaways – because fortunately there are other ways to get free traffic – regardless of what Google does. Also I have a few websites that still earn a bit of money – not much – ten years after having done any real work on them, so it’s essentially free money now.
Traffic secret #4: Social Media Traffic is Underrated
Whoever was it that said that social media traffic is “garbage traffic”? I have driven more sales and revenue through social media traffic than all the other forms put together! Fact. Pinterest traffic in particular is in my view excellent quality traffic – and for sheer volume, nothing beats Facebook. 300,000+ pageviews per day? Done it with Facebook several times. From other sources? Never.
The thing to remember is that a very wide cross section of humanity uses social media. The traffic that comes from social media is “real humans” – all with their own needs, desires and cares. It’s not just “tire kickers” and freebie seekers.
Traffic secret #5: Test Before Scaling
One of the best things about the internet is that all the data you need is already out there. You can see what works because it has worked for others.
Of everything you put online, assume that its success will be a “bell curve”. The majority of it will be “somewhere in the middle”, a few things will flop and a few things will do extremely well.
You will find that you probably need to test a considerable number of things before the winners become apparent.
If you find a traffic source that works, does it make more sense to start to find another traffic source, or to *scale up* the one you already have. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Do more of what already works.
So the big questions are:
How big can we scale this traffic?
And how fast?
And how much will it cost?”
And is it worth it?
If you are attempting to build big traffic through ‘organic’ methods such as a big presence on a website like Facebook, or Pinterest, consider that you will need to multiply your efforts in order to multiply your traffic.
Traffic Secret #6: Customer Retention Turns One-Off Visitors Into Repeat Visitors
Drive the paid traffic to an opt-in or subscribe of some kind, because then you can promote to those people again and again, rather than only once. Plus, you have targeted your list towards those who are already interested with a free product relevant to your topic. Email lists are fantastic, but typically email management platforms charge monthly fees (that can get quite steep if you have a high volume of subscribers). Social media audiences are less reliable but don’t have any monthly maintenance charges (you just need to keep on posting fresh content!)
Traffic Secret #7 : Go Where The Traffic Already Is
If you wanted to get run over, would you go stand on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, or would you go and stand in the middle of an eight-lane freeway?
If you want traffic to come to your web site, one of the very best things you can do is to go to the biggest web sites in the world; the eight lane superhighways of the internet, and develop a strong presence. Do you want a signpost that is seen by one person per hour, or ten thousand?
Google can be a good traffic source – but it is not the only one! Google is only one of many huge web sites that are out there. All of those sites can deliver more traffic than your server can handle. In reality, Google is just one of many, many huge web sites which have such vast quantities of traffic available that there is the possibility to derive a nice passive income from any of them – if you know how to do it. ALL of the big web sites that enable you to build some kind of personal presence or contribute some content, are a potential traffic goldmine – if you can master the nuances of the platform.
To put things in perspective: Take a look at the
Alexa top 500 (Alexa has now closed its doors) Tranco List of web sites, ranked by popularity.
As I write this page, site #500 accuweather.com…. and according to some quick research online, the site is generating around 200 million pageviews per month.
Think for a second about how much traffic that is. That one website could send you enough to make you rich, if only you could get a slice of it. However note that in many cases getting traffic from other sites is WAY easier than getting Google traffic.
Of course, there are some sites (such as banking web sites) where there is no potential whatsoever to build a presence and funnel traffic. However, a very significant number of the top sites not only have the possibility for you to develop a presence, but actively encourage you to do so. There are hundreds or even thousands of sites with enough traffic to make you an income, if only you can provide sufficient value to their users and divert them to your site.
Also bear in mind that you cannot possibly be aware of them all. There are simply too many web sites! There are bound to be many sites which would be prime promotional avenues for you, which you have simply never heard of.
So it’s in your interests to comb through the top few hundred sites and pick out a number which seem to offer the most potential to you.
One of the other massive advantages of this strategy is that you are striving to create a “Google proof” business that has the potential to continue to generate visitors and income regardless of what Google (and Facebook and all the other unreliable giants) are doing.
The ironic benefit of this strategy is that it is what Google wants! It is relevant links from authority sites such as these that often have the most significant positive effect on search engine rankings.
My view nowadays is that it’s a really good approach to see Google traffic as a “bonus” for your other efforts rather than the main focus of your campaign.
Traffic Secret #8: Facebook Can Still Send Enough Traffic To Crash Your Server. YES It Can!!
My record is over 300,000 pageviews in one day from Facebook, which I have done I think 8 times now and yes the first time I did that (2013), it broke my VPS hosting (I had already upgraded from cheap shared hosting earlier in the year!) The most recent time I hit 300,000+ in one day was in 2020. Facebook is a lot more challenging than it used to be in some ways – and they are now notorious for deplatforming and shadow banning, which has de-incentivized people from investing heavily in building fan pages. But Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla of social media. Their MAU (monthly active user) count continues to grow (yes it does, despite the gossip – here is proof from Statista:)
Facebook has the most people on it all day of any website (more than Youtube, and more active users than TikTok and Instagram combined!!), and those people are all looking at something!
Powerful viral posts on fresh fan pages that are still in the accelerated growth phase (important) can still send monster traffic. Watch out for the often-absurd “fake news” bans and avoid the topics FB doesn’t like; as their algos will pick it up and shut you down. Average or even “fairly good content” is a waste of time. You are up against social media pros these days who know how to make a viral post.
A quick note on high volume traffic vs. cheap web hosting:
If you are going to send high-volume traffic – i.e. through banner traffic or Facebook viral posts: Make sure your server can handle the bandwidth.
Genuine screenshot from my Google Analytics realtime in 2020, URLs redacted to protect site ID.
This is Facebook traffic. You won’t see this on Pinterest – or probably anywhere outside of using paid advertising.
Content needs to be absolutely slam dunk viral for FB to release their full engagement cascade; but when it does, all I can say is, you better have a dedicated hosting package – otherwise your “best day ever” will turn into a nightmare! 😉
Cheap shared hosting will crap out way before you get to 100k per day (at a guess that’s probably around 300 to 500 “real time” for sustained periods). I originally broke my cheap hosting at 15k/day visitors, so I’m guessing that 10k per day is time to make the switch. I maxed out my VPS hosting at around 150k to 200k visitors per day.
Note that these numbers are estimates and will vary from webhost to webhost. They will also be affected by the size of your webpage in terms of the amount of data that needs to be loaded. Image compression and the various other “site speed tricks” will get you so far, but when you start to get high volume you are better off just upgrading the host. Do this before you get a viral traffic cascade rather than during one!
Traffic Secret #9: An Engaged Audience Is More Valuable Than A Website
An engaged audience is one of the most valuable assets you can have online. If I had a choice between an engaged audience and a website, I would choose an engaged audience every time! It’s harder to build and gives you near-unlimited options. Whether that audience be in the form of an email list or a social media following, you can use it to promote your own products, send visitors to videos, sell affiliate products for commissions, run joint ventures, launch a new project, get valuable data insights, etc etc.
The best thing about social media is it allows you to build massive audiences. Once you have one of these, you can essentially do anything online. You can simply reach a large number of people at the touch of a button. So this gives you the opportunity to give value to them, to promote affiliate products, to create and sell your own products – and to drive traffic over and over again.
Facebook pages have a rise and a fall in terms of their engagement, but my big old fan pages from 2013 are still sending a few thousand visitors per day with the posting fully automated and a curated set of the best posts from all the years “on loop”.
Traffic Secret #10: Traffic Gives Insight Which Can Vastly Increase Revenue
Other pros reading this page will nod in agreement: One of the best things about high volume traffic is that it enables you to test and fine tune things, and get data really fast. If you are getting 100,000+ visitors per day, you can test a new ad layout and other optimization features and get data within hours. This enables you to increase the profitability of your website massively. I’ve made tweaks to my pages that have sometimes instantaneously increased my revenue per visitor by 10%, 20% or even by over 50% in one instance. That’s a big deal when you are already earning several hundred dollars per day! It’s crazy to think that these adjustments can add a six figure sum to your annual income but they can.
Another aspect of this is that you can simply run tons more content and test tons more headlines, post images etc and quickly build up a stronger arsenal of high-performing posts. Once you get the traffic and start using data-driven insight to optimize everything, it just starts spiraling up in a way that’s awesome and needs to be experienced to fully understand!
BONUS: Here’s A Full List Of The Best Traffic-Generating Systems To Utilize
1) Social Media Audience. Probably the most accessible for most people because it can be begun for free and grown “infinitely”. Facebook has been our #1 traffic source, Pinterest #2. Some have done well with Twitter. Instagram has much lower potential for traffic because only the homepage can contain a clickable link.
2) Search Engine Optimization – SEO. Ultimately, the objective is “to create keyword-targeted pages of high quality content that rank highly in search engines for terms that your user demographic are likely to type in when they are seeking what you have to offer”.
That’s the simple theory, anyway. In practice – it’s a highly complex subject. 😉 The good thing about SEO is that if you do manage to crack it, you can sometimes be getting a nice stream of quality, free, targeted traffic for a long time. However, you have to be prepared to create a lot of valuable content first – and to fine-tune your pages with regard to what search engines “like”. The bad thing about SEO? If the search engines change their algorithms or decide that you are trying too hard to “game” their complex rules – and you are reliant on search traffic for your income – you can fall from grace overnight. Essential rule number one: Observe Google’s essential guidelines for “On-Site SEO”.
In brief – a) make pages for humans, and keep them natural. Don’t “keyword stuff”. b) Attempting to rank for a one-word keyphrase such as “music” or “mp3” is almost impossible unless you have a very big budget – try aiming for three or four word phrases such as commonly asked questions. c) Keep your pages related to the main overall theme of the site. d) Don’t try to optimize any one page for more than one keyphrase – but be sure to use a few variations in the phrase in your page.
3) Link building. Links – the lifeblood of the internet! Link building serves a very important and potentially lucrative purpose beyond search engine optimization: Getting direct traffic. Again there is essentially unlimited potential.
4) Offline Promotion. Another whole world unto itself – see my full tutorial. A few tips: Just because you may have an online business, it doesn’t mean that you should only promote it online. Some have said that if you do not promote offline, “you are leaving huge amounts of money on the table”. However, you need to get it right – as the “real world” is saturated with advertising, and people typically don’t have much attention span. Make sure you give people a good reason to type your URL into their browser when they get home: Typically a special offer or great free gift. We live in a marketing-saturated world. Just printing your URL on your business card or baseball cap is not going to give anyone much incentive to go to your web site.
5) Sensational quality content. If your materials are really good – people will link to them and tell their friends. Example: A blog or site with consistent, high quality, interesting, useful or entertaining content, will gradually build traffic and subscribers. Cream still floats but note that it can take a l-o-n-g time to build a following and get noticed this way. Quality content is a long game.
6) “Crazy” free giveaways. This is a challenge – because there is a lot of free stuff out there. You simply have to go bigger and better. But if you do, people will freak out and love your site. Another thing to bear in mind – the internet is big. People will simply not see all that is out there. You don’t necessarily have to be better than the competition; You can simply be as good as, but be visible. People will consume what is put in front of them.
7) Affiliates. If you have a product for sale, for example on Clickbank, affiliates will drive traffic with the prospect of earning income. The fundamental rule? Your site needs to convert. In other words, the more easy you can make it for affiliates to achieve sales, the more likely they are to send you traffic.
87) Viral video. Popular videos get millions of views and each has an information box underneath that can contain a link or links. Youtube can send a lot of traffic. Make your videos short, attention-grabbing, desirable, and make sure they guide users to your site. See our 18 Awesome Ways To Make Money With Youtube – FREE Full-Length Tutorial!
9) Free tutorials. People LOVE free video tutorials. Break your tutorial content up into a larger number of smaller videos or PDFs, rather than the other way round. This helps people find what they are looking for – and also gives you more ranking power. Do your research first – and see if you can find topics that everyone is looking for but less tutorial info already exists on. Make sure you include suitable disclaimers when giving “advice” of any kind.
10) Email list. I use Aweber to manage my email list and have found their service great. A few simple tips: a) offer users something free and fantastic for joining. Make it relevant to your for-sale products. b) Don’t just hammer your list with sales pitches. Offer them good free content and make them glad to hear from you. For more info see our full free tutorial on email marketing.
11) Alexa 500 List Of Big Sites. As mentioned above. Each of the big sites gets tons of traffic and many of these have methods by which you can divert some of this towards you. Note – Alexa is soon to be defunct, but there are other lists of the world’s most-visited websites.
13) Buying traffic – PPC – banner, Media Buying etc.
Media buying is a staple of ecommerce and can be seen as “the big players club”. It has the potential to make you rich (or make you lose a fortune) really fast. The thing about media buying that is crazy is that you can literally send millions of visitors to any web site you want. But you have to start really small spending only a few dollars, and test really thoroughly until you get positive ROI. This is the difficult part. But when you get a really good positive ROI, then you can scale it like crazy… and if you are quick enough, and have a big enough ad budget, and are brave enough, you can make amazing money.
The big web businesses often deal in traffic purchases at volumes that would amaze you. Spending $100,000 on traffic in a day is not unheard of at the “big league” level – and Fortune 500 companies (as well as some of the more ballsy direct marketers) move these sort of figures around regularly in media buying.
There have been amazing, crazy stories from affiliate marketers doing media buying. Like people making $100,000 in a day.
The best thing about this method? That you can literally turn traffic on and off like a tap. If you are prepared to pay for it, you can literally send unlimited traffic to your web site. However, you need to be aware of traffic quality. You want to target your traffic as closely as you possibly can – and narrow it down as closely as you can to users that are going to buy your product or service. Use whatever demographic targeting methods are available, and employ as many testing methods as you have at your disposal to learn about your customers.
If you are buying traffic, you will not “scale up” until you are predictably making more money than you are spending. You start small and you test, test, and test some more. Typically, this doesn’t happen straight away – but through careful observation of campaign statistics, and adjustment of the many factors involved in a campaign, performance can be fine tuned with a small test and then scaled when profitable.
Glossary Of Terms Of Traffic To Understand:
ROI = Return On Investment.
This is the all-important figure, this tells you whether you made or lost money. If you make back more money than you spent on the campaign, then you have a positive ROI. If I spent $10 on an article, but only made $6 back from the traffic when it was posted to Facebook, then I have a negative ROI. (And of course you have to include all your costs of running the business etc.)
CTR = click through rate.
CTR is measured as a percentage. So, on one of my websites, my average CTR for the advertising is 4%… this means that for every 100 visitors, around 4 will visit the advertising.
eCPM = Earnings per 1000 visitors. This figure tells you how well your website is converting. I consider a really good eCPM from informational web content to be $20 – and that’s a figure derived after years of running Adsense (one of the best) and other ad systems on informational web sites. An absolutely kick-ass eCPM is $40 – and if you can get this, I take my hat off to you (and warn you to be careful at the same time, because you might be breaking some rules such as Ad positioning and click encouragement in order to get such numbers!)
If your eCPM is less than $10, then you may want to try to get that number higher before scaling up traffic. But of course, ROI is the most important equation at the end of the day – and so if you are getting the traffic for $5 per 1000 visitors, then you have a positive ROI. In general you will find that the key to a good ROI is to be improving your metrics at every possible juncture – traffic cost, page performance, click through rate…. these are all the “building blocks” of a good ROI.
“Convert” is a term used that means that the visitor did what you wanted them to do. This action of theirs will usually be either a) buy a product b) visit the advertising / purchase from the advertising or c) join a list or audience of some kind (i.e. email list, facebook like, subscriber or follower.)
If “the traffic converts” it means that you are getting a healthy result from your traffic. If the traffic doesn’t convert, then either your page is boring, or something else is not working.
Subscriber is just a general term. It in general means that the person took an action which means that you can now promote to them for free from now on. This might be signing up for your email list, liking your Facebook page, becoming a Twitter or a Pinterest follower. Subscribers are great because they can provide an opportunity for continued income at a much reduced ongoing cost. But it is important to remember secret #1 again – subscribers are not free! There will be an investment of time and money (probably both) in order to build your website (or whatever) to the point where people want to sign up and get more of the value you are providing. Creating that value costs. The essential metric to consider with subscribers is the lifetime customer value.
LTV = Lifetime customer value. This is, in general, only really possible to estimate, rather than to know exactly – but it is worth doing the best job you can because you need a positive ROI from your subscriber list; they need to have a greater lifetime customer value than it cost to acquire them.