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All Hits Are Not Created Equal

Aug 30th 2011 at 11:27 AM

After all the debate over website design, shopping carts and credit card processors,every website owner eventually comes to the startling realization that they need one more thing to survive - website traffic!

Without website traffic it's the same as building an expensive billboard and, instead of placing it alongside a busy highway, you hide it in your basement where nobody can see it.

Upon realizing they need traffic, most website owners run out and start blowing chunks of money and time trying to get "hits" to their sites, but they fail to realize that all "hits" are not created equal.

In their quest to get eyeballs to their websites, most online operators don't realize there's a big difference between driving "general" traffic to your website and driving "targeted" traffic.

Just getting any traffic is the same technique TV advertisers use. They flash ads on the screen in front of people who can't afford or don't need the advertised product.

Since general advertising can't hit specific targets, they hit everyone and hope that someone in their target audience is actually watching at that moment. Spam, banner ads, "safe-lists" and similar traffic techniques fall into this "general" category.

"Targeted" traffic is made up of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say or sell online. These people either share the same interests or have an immediate need or problem they are trying to solve.

"Targeted" traffic is best because the people hitting your website have a much higher likelihood of actually making a purchase.

Targeted traffic comes from people following recommended links on other sites, typing in relevant keywords into the search engines, or even reading articles you've written on a particular subject and then clicking over to your site for more information.

If you don't already know where to find the best sources of targeted traffic for your website, you will need to experiment with lots of different sources to find the ones that bring visitors who give you the most "bang for your buck."

The fastest way to determine which avenues provide the most targeted traffic is by using an "ad tracker". An "ad tracker" is a simple program, residing on your web server, that tracks how many visitors your site gets from a particular source and how many of them purchased.

Though it sounds simple, most businesses don't do this! Most businesses can't tell you their visitor to buyer conversion percentage and, therefore, don't know exactly how much they can invest in traffic generation and remain profitable.

Whether you pay for your website traffic with cash (pay-per-click search engines, ezine ads), or you pay for it with the sweat of your brow (article distribution, free search engines), you must identify your best and most profitable sources of targeted traffic that convert into buyers, subscribers, or leads.

Failure to identify and track where your buyers come from and then calculate how much they really cost you ultimately translates into failure for your online business.

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