Most people talk about how great free traffic is, and it really can be. However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. There are a few problems with this type of traffic that most people don’t consider. If you want to go the free route, then you should know the perils and drawbacks. You can then decide for yourself if free is really the best way to go, or if you should just surrender and pay a few dollars to have someone do it for you.
Are you Really Saving Money?
The reason people usually go the free route is because they either don’t have the money to spend on traffic and SEO services, or because they don’t want to spend the money. That’s fair, but are you really saving money by doing all the work yourself?
Think about it. How many hours a day to you devote to marketing? Let’s say you are using one hour a day, and you value your time at $20 an hour. That means you are spending $140 a week on marketing, and you probably aren’t getting too many visitors with just one hour a day of marketing.
With $140 you could drive over 10,000 people to your website, get a small backlink package and still have some money left over for some other services. Is your one hour a day producing those same results? If not, then maybe free isn’t really cutting it for your website.
You also need to use time and money to learn about free marketing methods. You will either need to buy a book on the subject, or you will need to scour the Internet for free articles which may or may not be obsolete.
How is your free marketing doing? Are you currently ranking well for any keywords, or getting a sizable amount of traffic? The problem with doing traffic and SEO on your own is that most people really don’t know what they are doing. They don’t understand the fine nuances between good SEO and bad blackhat techniques, and it is sometimes easy to fall into the bad side of doing things.
This type of marketing and traffic also takes a long time to accumulate. If you are in a competitive niche, then it may even take months or years before you see any results from your work. Taking the same pricing model from above and applying it to a full year of work, you could be spending the equivalent of $7,300 a year, and not getting great results.
If you find it hard to really market your website and get results, then the free route may actually be sabotaging you.
Free marketing and organic SEO tactics are great for getting traffic once you finally get yourself ranked for a good keyword, but your problems aren’t over yet. The traffic you get in the search engine might be relevant, but that doesn’t mean that it is buyer’s traffic.
Many people go online just for finding information. Most of the people you get from the search engines may just be interested in reading your content. They may have no inclination to buy from you, and you may never make a sale.
This is like setting a business in a mall. You will get a huge amount of traffic, but most of that traffic is just interested in seeing what you have. Your sales numbers might be low, and your conversion will typically be on the lower end.
You may be able to fix this by having some great content, but even that may not save your website. Speaking of selling things, ecommerce and sales page websites typically don’t do as good as content websites, so it will be even harder to rank these pages.
Search engines have been in a massive state of change recently, and it doesn’t seem like they are going to stop anytime soon. These changes affect which links have the most weight, how you need to market yourself to get traffic and how certain elements interact with search engines.
These changes can render all of your hard work null and void. For example, say you used directory submissions to market your website for backlinks. If you were part of any of the many directories that have been affected by Penguin, then all of the link building you did would actually count against your website. This is because Penguin is discrediting most low-quality directories, and the associated websites are being dragged down the search engine pages.
To do free marketing, you have to constantly watch out for these changes. This requires a lot of studying into the SEO subject, and you have to be prepared to change how you do marketing. You also have to accept the fact that all of the marketing you have done might be destroyed by a simple search engine change.
No More Business
Marketing takes time out of your day, time you should be using on business. Instead of acquiring new clients or processing orders, you have to use your time to make articles and forge backlinks. You go from being a business owner to just being the head marketer.
To make an impact in the search engines, you need to spend considerable time marketing. You may be able to dedicate this time at first, but it will become increasingly difficult as your business grows. You will soon have to choose between growing your business and paying for traffic, or continuing the free route and letting your business stagnate due to a lack of focus and attention.
Professionals Know the Task
Here’s a situation for you. You have an aching cavity and you need your tooth pulled. You can go to a professional dentist who can properly analyze the cavity, painlessly pull it out with anesthetic and he or she will have a sanitized office with all the right equipment. However, the dentist costs money.
So, you consider doing the job yourself. You don’t have a dental degree, but you can get pliers, some freezing spray to numb the area and you pretty much know where the bad tooth is.
Do you pull the tooth yourself, or do you get the professional to do it?
Hopefully you chose the professional. The same goes for marketing. The professional has all the right tools, knows where backlinks are and he or she is mentally prepared to get you the best backlinks.
Doing the work yourself isn’t safe, because you might “infect” your website with bad backlinks, and you will have to do a lot of research to even get close to the professional’s level of knowledge in this area.
A professional costs money, but just like the dentist, it is money well spent on your website.
Free traffic might be the dream of many website owners, but you should really look at the free route for all its pros and cons. It takes a lot of time, and you will often ending up spending more money than if you just hired a professional to do the work for you. Not only that, but all of your work might be ruined in a single search engine change.
If the free route still appeals you to, then try it out. Some people get it right and get a deluge of traffic. But, if you are finding it difficult, then there is no shame in paying someone to do the work for you.