First Things First: Traffic!

There are literally millions of new websites created every year but the vast majority of them are dead and buried by the following year. Why? Lack of traffic! Whatever your website aims are, without people actually visiting it (there are some exceptions such as RSS, but that will be covered later), it is dead in the water. Traffic is the life blood of any website and this training resource and the IMAutomator tools are all about driving traffic to your sites.

Many Kinds of Traffic

Traffic is basically website visitors. These visitors may come from a wide variety of sources. Here are a few of them:

Direct Traffic

This is traffic that comes directly to your website without coming from another website first. The most common form this takes is from a bookmark that has been stored in somebody's browser. IMAutomator receives a large amount of direct traffic as the members bookmark the site to come back to each day in order to submit more links. Other forms of direct traffic occur when somebody types a URL directly into their address bar, or clicks a link from an external source such as from inside an ebook.

Direct traffic most often comes from visitors that already know of your site and it is not something that can be increased in any significant way, other than encouraging your visitors to bookmark your site.

Paid Traffic

This covers any traffic that comes to your site as a result of some kind of paid ad. A large area of paid traffic comes from paid ads that appear in search listings - this is known as 'pay per click' traffic (PPC). You can also buy traffic in the form of ads that appear in email newsletters, banner ads and many other forms. However, paid traffic has to be directly paid for, so again it is not something that can be manipulated with tools such as IMAutomator.

Referral Traffic

This is quite an ambiguous term which refers to any traffic that has come from another website. This could range from a link on a social bookmarking site, to a recommendation in a blog post, to a comment signature, an article bio box, a link in a YouTube video - *anything*. Note that the traffic comes from a link from another website - this is important. Without that link, there is nothing to click on and thus no traffic. So we can start to see here the role that links have to play in the gaining of traffic.

For the purposes of this training, think of referral links in two categories - those that you can control, and those that you cannot. Some time ago, a popular blogger wrote an article about a blog I used to run and this article drove thousands of visitors to my blog as a result. This was great, but it was also pure luck on my part - it was something that happened spontaneously due to the kindness of the blogger who wrote the article and was not something I could repeat. This is an example of the kinds of links that you cannot control.

Now lets take an example of links that you do control. You might start by writing an article in a blog post or similar page on your website. You then bookmark that article at various social bookmarking sites resulting in one backlink for each one. You may then writer another version of that same article and post it on some article directories - another backlink for each one of those. You may then choose you read out your article and record it as an audio and submit that to some podcasting websites. I could go on but I think you get the point. These are links that you control, and with the help of IMAutomator, you can now build them much more quickly than you could do by hand!

Organic Search Traffic

If somebody goes to Google (or any search engine) and types something in that brings up your website in the list of results, and then clicks on your site from that list - that is search engine traffic. We call this organic, simply because it comes from a natural search rather than the paid results. Google and other search engines now tend to put paid results at the top of the list - this is covered by the section on Paid Traffic.

Organic search traffic has a unique quality that referral traffic does not - the visitor coming from the result of a search is looking for something, and hopefully your website can give it to them. If somebody clicks a link to your site in a blog post it may be little more than passing interest and that visitor may click away very quickly but when they go to a search engine and type something in they are looking for something specific. It may be information, it may be something they want to buy, it might be a picture or video or whatever but if your site can provide what they are looking for then they are more likely to stay on your site and do something useful such as buy something, subscribe to your RSS feed, bookmark an article etc. This is generally what we want!

The other great thing about search traffic is that except for hot trends, it tends to be fairly stable over the long term. If your site can rank well for terms that generate a lot of traffic, that term may bring you traffic for years to come - providing you stay on top of the rankings.

Lastly, you have a lot of control of the amount of search traffic that your website gets. There is a whole industry dedicated to it and it's called Search Engine Optimisation which is the subject of the next module. You don't have complete control - it's not easy to compete with Wikipedia with your brand new 10 page website on a popular search term, but that doesn't mean that you can't still drive a good amount of search traffic to your site. There's a lot you can do, and with the help of IMAutomator, you'll be able to do it a lot quicker!

Tags: traffic, direct traffic, paid traffic, referral traffic, organic search traffic, google

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