I got a call recently from a guy who has recently designed a new fishing website. He wanted to know how much it would cost to advertise on a site that I developed about 10 years ago. The site gets nice website traffic, about 5000-10000 visitors a day so it could provide some nice traffic to his little site, however, I pretty much told him he needed to focus on his own site before he began paying for traffic. Sure, I lost the sale. I could have sold him some banner ads or a spot for his articles on the site but I couldn’t do that, knowing that all of the traffic wouldn’t ever translate into any sales.
It was apparent from glancing at his site that he probably suffered from conversion issues. Obviously, he had traffic issues but worrying about traffic is premature if the traffic won’t ever convert into a sale. We talked on the phone for about a half hour as I offered critical feedback so that he could improve the site. It’s my hope that the small tweaks he makes to the site will result in higher sales in the future no matter where the traffic comes from. I’m pretty sure that he’ll see an improvement and will call back when the time is right for him to think about advertising. However, I don’t expect that call to come any time soon. I instructed him on how to rank his site on Google so I think he’ll be getting plenty of traffic from organic search results for the time being.
If you’re considering advertising as a means of traffic generation, first think about your goals for the site and make sure that your website marketing plan addresses each point carefully. Challenge your own assumptions. If you think that the sales will start coming in as soon as you get enough traffic, challenge that thought. In all of my years of doing this, I have rarely seen a site that converts as well as it can. Only by conducting multiple tests can you determine if the site is optimized to garner the best results. I once tested and modified a site that was getting $86/month in online sales. After tweaking the copy and modifying some of the graphics, we were able to consistently exceed $10,000/month in online sales. The bulk of the site remained the same. It just required a few minor tweaks here and there.
Hope that helps.