Free Traffic vs Paid Traffic – Which Will Help Your Business The Most?

When you are just starting to promote your website online you are faced with the task of getting traffic to your website. There are two means to do this; free traffic, also known as organic traffic, or paid for traffic through paid advertising campaigns.
Both of these methods of site promotion are effective, but the comparison is similar to that of comparing long term traffic strategies to short term traffic strategies. I will list the advantages and disadvantages of both for you to fully understand the role that each marketing technique can play in generating visitors to your business website.

Paid Traffic Through Advertising

Advantages:
  • This method of site promotion can give you the fastest results in bringing visitors to your site almost immediately. You can set up your website and have traffic coming to the site instantly as soon as your advertising campaign is live.
Disadvantages:
  • The traffic only lasts as long as you are paying for the advertising. If you end the sales campaign, your traffic will disappear.
  • When using PPC ads (pay per click), it takes a great deal of trial and error to split test and refine your ad copy and keywords to find out which ones will give you a return on investment and which ones won’t. There will be very little ROI, in fact you will likely see a loss for the first while, until you have perfected your campaign.
  • You must diligently monitor the results daily to avoid receiving a very high advertising bill each month. Failure to keep on top of the numbers has meant a big debt to some new businesses who lacked the knowledge and experience to fully understand how paid advertising works.
  • Whether you are using PPC, banner ads or solo ads, there is a cost involved and you must have that cost included in your monthly spending budget.
  • If your efforts are successful, you may not be able to control your business growth and may find yourself facing supply issues that you were not anticipating. The potential for unhappy customers and customer service issues is much higher.

Free Traffic From Organic SEO

Advantages:
  • Obviously the first advantage that comes to mind is that this strategy is free.
  • Since this method uses your website as it’s main focus, rather than an ad, and all traffic strategies are permanent fixtures on the internet, the results are long term in nature.
  • Because this traffic technique involves search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing and article marketing it is very effective in creating relationships with existing and potential customers, building your brand and achieving authority status within your market.
  • There are SEO experts available to advise you on building your traffic strategy and help you implement it.
  • Your business will be able to grow naturally allowing you to keep up with demand and provide better customer service.
Disadvantages:
  • Because this is a long term marketing strategy, the results are not immediate but build gradually over time.
  • There is a considerable amount of time needed to be invested to establish your website firmly in the internet as a key player in your market.
  • You will need to either invest your time learn and implement the SEO strategies, outsource the work or hire staff to handle the tasks involved.
As with any marketing plan, online or offline, there is a cost involved with promoting your business. A good traffic generation plan will focus mainly on the long term strategies as they offer your business the most benefits at the end of the day.
In my opinion, the long term strategies should be used for businesses that plan to be around for the long term and the short term ads should be used to promote short term sales and discounts or business announcements similar to how you would use newspaper flyers.

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