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A Comparison of Free Versus Paid Traffic

Every Internet marketer knows that in order to be a success, you’ll have to have a high amount of traffic driven to your website. Traffic volume means more income potential, but when you’re just starting out, ad campaigns may not have a place in your budget.

When trying to drive more traffic to your site, you’re faced with whether to go the free traffic route or use paid traffic programs like pay per click (PPC) marketing. Free traffic routes deliver the best ROI (return on your investment) because there’s no out of pocket cost. But the traffic you bring in may not be as targeted as a PPC campaign.

You can choose from free traffic-generating methods such as articles marketing, social networking and forum marketing on niche-related message boards using a link-driven signature file.

The problem with free traffic is that it’s a work-heavy advertising technique. In order to gain high amounts of traffic, a marketer needs to constantly advertise their site to get their link exposed to prospective customers. If time is in short supply, free marketing isn’t an option that will benefit you.

Paid traffic avenues cost you money to gain traffic, but if executed properly, the ROI will be much higher and the maintenance much lower. If you’re using article directories, you may have to wait 10 days for approval, but an AdWords campaign can be live in minutes.

While costs are considerably higher, so is the potential for profits. If you don’t know how to conduct a savvy PPC campaign, you will risk losing money. There are barriers in place to prevent anything bad from happening, such as daily limits to your spending. Unfortunately, many marketers put limits far beyond what they can actually afford, not knowing Google will find a way to tap into your coffers.

The best way to use paid and free traffic is to implement a strategy that combines both methods. You might run a PPC campaign and at the same create a lens on Squidoo – both for the same keywords.

Days later, you notice your lens is #1 in the Google SERPs. Do you need to continue the PPC campaign? That’s what testing and tracking of conversions will tell you. You might find that the PPC ad linking visitors directly to your sales page has a higher conversion than those who click through to the lens and then have to take an additional step to get to your sales page.

Savvy marketers understand the inherent need to continually track and tweak their marketing efforts. Implement new strategies. See what works best for your niche audience. Then wash, rinse, and repeat your success!