When I setup my first website, all I could think about was how to get traffic. It was depressing to look at traffic stats and see no visitors, no interaction, no engagement, nothing. I built more websites and made every possible mistake in trying to get traffic.
The following are what I consider the five biggest pitfalls that swallow up small businesses that are trying to advertise using their website.
Traffic Myth #1: “If You Build It, They Will Come…”
People don’t just start “showing up” on your site. There’s no magical sixth sense that people have in their brains that just tell them about your new website and they type it into their browser. Links to your website don’t simply begin appearing because it’s there.
FACT: If you want to have people visit your website (and, hopefully, become cash-paying customers), you have to take action and do some things in order to “get the word out” about your site.
Because even though your website is now on the Internet… and it’s technically “active”… still no one knows it exists!
Getting web traffic isn’t difficult, however, if you can follow some simple step-by-step instructions that will grow your website traffic (as simple as “copy and paste”), then it’s almost impossible for you to not increase the interaction and sales that your website produces.
Traffic Myth #2: “Get A Guaranteed #1 Position In…”
You’ve probably seen ads online (or offline) that claim to get you a #1 position in this search engine or that search engine.
It’s too bad there’s only one problem with these services…
THEY WON’T BRING ANY VISITORS TO YOUR SITE!
Why? Because in almost every case that “#1 ranking” will be for a phrase that no one will be searching for!
Take this example… you can setup a web page right now and on that page use the phrase “amazing Scooby snacks” just once. After you get your site indexed by Yahoo or Google, go and do a search for “amazing Scooby snacks.”
And guess what?
You’re #1! WOOHOO!!!
Too bad no one else is searching for that phrase and will ever see that listing. The result? Not one visitor to your website.
FACT: Since search engines constantly change their “algorithms,” no company can consistently achieve top rankings for even just semi-competitive words and phrases. So while there are many companies that will get your high rankings, they will usually be for low search volume terms that will result in very little traffic (if any at all) to your website.
Bottom line, most of those “#1 Position” ads you have seen are worthless and a total waste of your money. They’ll simply get a #1 position for a phrase not many people will never even search for.
Why? Because there’s FIERCE competition in the search engines for competitive phrases and keywords that are searched for a lot. So these services are incredibly misleading. The entire SEO industry is peddling a product they do not own and cannot control.
Traffic Myth #3: “Submit To 7,835 Search Engines…”
Another popular advertisement that can be seen online is one that promises to submit your site to some huge number of search engines and directories on the Internet.
As for these services… Who cares?!
THEY WON’T BRING YOU ANY VISITORS, EITHER!
For one, 99% of those search engines and directories are obscure and unknown, and they aren’t being used much by Internet users. And just submitting your site to a search engine or directory doesn’t mean anyone is even going to see it!
You’re basically adding your website to a directory or search engine database of 50,000,000 web pages or more. You’d need an incredible amount of luck to have any real people see your listing.
Talk about a needle in a haystack…
FACT: Many of these search engines and directories are used to sell ad space. Thousands of clueless people who submit their sites to them simply make them look good so they can sell more ads or charge more.
Of course, you still can get thousands upon thousands of visitors to your site from free search engine rankings (from the major search engines, that is). But editing your site and trying to “optimize” it on a regular basis is NOT the way to do it.
This is a mistake 99% of people marketing online make! It’s all time and effort that’s wasted, and money too if you use a paid submitter.
Traffic Myth #4: “Email To 45,000,000 People…”
This is one of the worst advertisements out there. It’s plain old SPAM and it’s illegal.
You’ve probably received junk email in your inbox, or have seen online ads promoting it. A company promises to promote your website in an email that will be sent to “10 MILLION people” (or some ridiculous number like that).
There’s only one problem with their service…
THOSE PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR AD!
These services simply blast your ad to a list of email addresses they have wrongfully (and now illegally because of Spam Laws) stripped from Internet web pages, and so the people that receive the email promoting your website are going to be pissed off!
Not only will they not visit your website and buy your products and services, but they’ll probably ruin your reputation by complaining to others. And the authorities, too.
Do yourself a favor. Don’t waste your time even thinking about emailing an ad for your site to some huge list of email addresses. (And don’t even think about buying a list of addresses… or you’ll really be asking for trouble!)
FACT: There are exceptions to this. True “opt-in” email lists can send a ton of traffic to your site and can result in a major boost in sales. An opt-in list is when people on the list have given their permission to receive email from a list — and even ads.
Done properly, email marketing works.
I’ve personally managed mailings opt-in lists and generated hundreds of thousands in sales in just days.
Email marketing really DOES work. But… you have to know the proper strategies for what works and what doesn’t. In fact, permission-based email marketing can dramatically change your sales… if you know how to harness the power of it.
Traffic Myth #5: “10,000,000 Guaranteed Hits For Only…”
This is THE worst website traffic advertisement of them all.
And the reason it is the worst is because most of them are outright scams. You know the ones… “Get 10,000,000 guaranteed hits for only $79.95!” “Get 500,000 unique visitors for just $59!”
Sure, your website may register “10,000 hits,” or whatever crazy number they claim. But there’s only one problem…
YOUR AD WILL BE BLOCKED OR IGNORED!
You see, what they do is they load your website on a pop-under window on a bunch of their high-traffic sites.
So your website appears in a smaller window that pops up underneath the main browser window as someone visits a popular website. Since these websites get a lot of traffic, chances are your ad will indeed pop up a “gazillion” times… or whatever.
BUT even though your ad technically registers a “hit” with each time it pops up, there’s a big problem… the pop-under will go unnoticed, or it will blocked by pop-up blocking software.
FACT: Over 95% of pop-ups ARE blocked, and it’s growing, as more and more people get anti-popup software. But if anyone sees the pop-under and if it’s not blocked in the first place, your website will still be totally irrelevant. For example, your ad may be about how to write an ebook that’s popping up on a site about… baby diapers!
So your website is “forced” to pop-up in a window when they visit THEIR site, and it either never appears in the first place, or when it does it’s completely ignored… if not annoying.
What you really want are visitors actually coming to your website, and not “hits.” You want people… good quality prospects and leads that are potentially worth money.
One key is “targeting.” It’s to make sure your ad is seen and your website visited by people who are targeted for your offer, eager to learn more about it and willing to pay money to buy it.
Getting web traffic that converts to sales should really be planned on a serious media buying campaign. That’s PPC search traffic, targeted banner display ads, audience targeting on social media, native ads on major news websites, etc. This kind of traffic is sustainable long-term, with trackable and predictable behavior.
The same principles also apply across all of the different platforms. A good advertisement that reaches its target audience on one network can do the same on another network, which makes it scalable. Other forms of traffic like SEO are not scalable, nor are they completely predictable and trackable.
The sooner more small businesses buy into the idea that good traffic is easily obtained by buying it from the right sources and give up the dream of ‘free traffic’ that all want to buy their products, the sooner those businesses will obtain both short-term and long-term profitability.