Paid traffic is great and it’s the majority of what I do. I like the fact that you can test things quickly and control the amount of traffic you get somewhat. But what about ‘free’ traffic? Does it have any place in the serious affiliate marketer’s business plan?
First, I want to talk about the term ‘free traffic’. No traffic is free, you are either going to pay for it with money, or time. For the purposes of this post, I am referring to ‘free’ traffic as traffic which you are not paying money for (PPV, PPC, etc). So what is free traffic anyway? You can get traffic without paying for it from a number of sources;
- Facebook (not FB ads obviously)
- Article Marketing
Likewise you can get paid traffic from a number of sources:
- PPC (Adwords, etc)
- Plenty Of Fish
- Media Buys
What are the pros and cons of free traffic?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few ideas.
- It’s free. You don’t have to worry about ad spend, budget, etc.
- You feel better about leaving campaigns alone for a few days
- Traffic can continue to come for a long time after you stop working
- It can take a while to get a significant amount of traffic
- It’s often not as easy to scale
- If you are testing a new offer/niche you could spend a lot of time before discovering it was a dud
What are the pros and cons of paid traffic?
- You can get a lot of traffic very quickly
- You can test offers quickly to see if they will convert before spending too much time on them
- You can often be more targeted by bidding on terms/sites that you could not organically rank for
- You have to spend money to make money
- It’s easy to get limited by cash flow
- You often have to wait for payouts to run more traffic
Which is better?
Neither really. People have, and will continue to make a lot of money using both methods. There is really no good reason not to use both sources and get the best of both worlds though. I like testing offers with paid traffic because I can get data very quickly about the potential of an offer/niche. If a niche is converting well, then I will start doing some SEO, video marketing, etc to it. There really is no reason not to at that point. This way, I have traffic coming in whether I pay for it or not.
You also have to consider what your resources are. Paid traffic, in my opinion, is not the best for beginners to start with. It is also not a good idea if you have no extra cash to spend, are down to your last $100, or have a huge amount of debt you are trying to pay off. Some might not agree with that but I really think you need to have a solid foundation of marketing knowledge, and a decent amount of money for testing before you invest heavily in the paid traffic route.
I am still amazed at the number of people who are really struggling financially but won’t give free traffic a shot. With the right plan in place, you could fairly easily make $100k a year just through article marketing but most people just don’t want to sit and write articles all day. That’s fine, but sometimes you have to put in some grunt work so you can really succeed with paid traffic.
Source: Free Traffic vs Paid Traffic