Getting Traffic Is Half The Battle

You know the old saying, traffic equals money? Well, it’s only half true. Getting traffic is only half the battle and it’s not even the most important half. What is more important than getting traffic is what you do with the traffic after you get it. There are tons of sites with a lot of traffic but make very little money because they don’t monetize it properly.

John Chow dot Com – One Year Ago Vs. Now

If you read my recent income report than you know this blog made $27,240.83 last month. That’s a nice big increase over the $2,139.93 the blog made in November of 2006. However, what many people find shocking is the traffic the blog got in November 2006 was actually higher than the traffic from November 2007.

income-vs-traffic.png

The above chart illustrates the growth in traffic (red bars) vs. the growth in income (blue bars) from November 2006 to November 2007. In November 2006, the blog received 217,876 unique visitors and 329,853 page views. This is actually higher than the 185,386 visitors and 323,572 page views it did in November 2007. Yet, the blog income was over 12 times higher. Making money online has way more to do with optimizing income from traffic than just getting traffic.

It’s A Lot Easier To Double eCPM Than To Double Traffic

Many webmasters make the mistake of thinking traffic and income are proportionally related to each other. They think all they have to do to double income is to double their traffic. This simply isn’t the case. The easiest way to double your blog income is by optimizing your advertising mix. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to go from $3 eCPM to $6 eCPM than it is to go from 250,000 page views to 500,000 page views. One will require a major marketing effort while the other may only require placing your ads at a different location.

You Must First Get The Traffic

While optimizing income from traffic is extremely important, you must first get the traffic. If you’re a new blog than getting traffic is what you should concentrate on. Sure you can tweak your blog until it gets over $80 eCPM just like John Chow dot Com. However, that won’t make much of an impact on your finances if you only get 1000 page views a month. In real life, you wouldn’t be able to get that high of a eCPM with that little traffic anyway. This is because traffic and income is exponentially related: Doubling traffic equals more than double income.

Generally speaking, your income goes up exponentially higher with increasing traffic. This is because you’ll be able to attract special deals that smaller bloggers can’t get. Higher traffic also allows you to command a higher ad rates because ad networks will fight over you. All this comes back to my Big Site Rules, Small Site Drool post.

If you’re getting decent traffic from your blog but not making much money, then work on optimizing the revenue mix. Can your blog handle more ads? How about affiliate programs? Are you using every possible methods to make money online or are you still living by the Google?

If your blog is new then building traffic is your number one goal. Here are some traffic building posts to help you out:

Just to clear one last thing up for anyone who maybe thinking that this blog hasn’t experienced any growth during the year. While the blog traffic hasn’t changed much in a year, it’s readership has increased tremendously. A year ago, this blog had just over 1,000 RSS readers. Today, it has over 14,500. When it comes to making money online, unique readers is a lot more important than raw page views.


78 thoughts on “Getting Traffic Is Half The Battle”

  1. I definitely agree with traffic being the difficult part to achieve, John! I’m trying to help charities and I’m having a hard time.

    1. Great post John! I’m going to have to try out the more evil methods of getting traffic. Right now I’m replying on StumbleUpon and Digg.

      1. mubin says:

        And dont forget to mention that you are almost totally dropped from the serps so all your readership is return or word of mouth referrals. While the rest of us are luck to pick up the occasional traffic from Google.

      2. Social and bookmarking, a good way to get some visitors and hopefully a decent amount of backlinks, good idea 😉

        Yet another great post John, it was awhile since I didn’t really enjoyed reading a good post.

      3. Ninja Dollar says:

        SU and Digg are pretty bad sources to rely upon. While they’ll give you a temporary spike, it doesn’t last – it’s a sugar rush. You’d be better off getting links from places that can continue to provide you with traffic such as in sidebars and links in posts/forum threads. 🙂

        1. Bruce says:

          I agree SU and Digg as well as most of the social sites may give a spike, but do not mean these will become repeat visitors. Of course I have picked up a few RSS subscribers form these sources, but not a large percentage. Most seem to just drive by without slowing down.

        2. Yup, unless you make about 300 user accounts on Digg and Stumbleupon to bring traffic to your sites… not that I’d do that but you could…

        3. I think Stumble and Digg help increase feed numbers and links but I wouldn’t rely too much on them in the long run…organic is best!

      4. If you are relying on Stumbleupon, you should stumble http://quarterwiki.com …. hehe… i will stumble yours.

        1. I’m just so amazed at how you could increase your epcm by so much without a similar substantial and continuous surge in traffic…

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the awesome ideas about driving traffic to my site! I am going to try them all!

  3. MoneyNing says:

    Enlighten post with a real world example 🙂

    It’s amazing how much more money this site has made after the design changed. I am so surprised UniqueBlogDesign hasn’t used this in their advertising efforts.

    1. hmmm.. really? design made the difference huh?

  4. Dean Saliba says:

    As a new(ish) visitor I have not had the opportunity to check out those tips on your older posts so thanks for bringing them to my attention again. 🙂

  5. Very nice post, lot to learn. Good or evil whatever means we take to obtain more and more traffic bottom line is how much that contributed to brand the blog or site. Once the brand is established its lot easier to make money since people will emphasize more on what you say. Like John Chow.

  6. Robin Leslie says:

    love the site you are a true credit to Web-dreamers of the world.
    Robin at
    leslimedia

  7. Just for the heck of it check out an archived shot of John Chow from Nov 9th 2006:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20061109123936/http://johnchow.com/

    1. Bruce says:

      You can tell from the screen shot why it did not make as much money back then. I had to really look to find ads on the archive version.

    2. Wow, that’s a great link. John Chow has completely monetized this site over a course of only one year…woW…

  8. enovator says:

    You see that is why I love your blog. Shoemoney and problogger are ahead of you only because they make more than you but if you talk about the quality of info you are No#1. Hate off.

  9. OneBrownGuy says:

    How to get as much traffic as John Chow with minimal effort? I could kidnap him and force him to direct all traffic to my site! Wait, I think John Chow is bigger than me. Suddenly this idea doesn’t sound so good. He would probably just post about kicking my butt.

    Congrats on another great month!

    1. I think John Chow gets about 20K visitors per day w/o doing anything… but then… that’s my prediction.

  10. Etienne Teo says:

    The power of social media is never a doubt and there are also many other ways you can generate traffic with your own hands.

    1. betshopboy says:

      “generate traffic with your own hands”…errr……how?

      1. Bruce says:

        I would like to see the generate traffic with your own hadn explained too.

      2. Just stumble a lot, or buy a page on the new Quarter Wiki and we will stumble for you. 😀

  11. Dom says:

    So here’s a question for you. Why aren’t you utilising more of those earnings to drive more traffic to the blog? Surely some of that money placed into well targeted ad campaigns could increase your growth rate more?

    1. John Chow says:

      I can get better returns investing my ad dollars in other projects.

      1. DeboHobo says:

        This is one of your best post yet. I am going to try the techniques in the posts you recommended as well. I wish I could afford a review me, so you could tell me what else I need to do.

      2. Steven says:

        @Dom,

        I agree with John on this one. Keep in mind that the blog is STILL just a hobby for John. It is nothing more than one big experiment and the money that he generates from this blog doesn’t even put a dent in his real income. Pouring that money back into this blog may increase this blog income further (not that it’s not growing on it’s own already anyway), but the ROI is not going to be greater than some of the other investments he (or anyone for that matter) can achieve.

        Think of it this way, let’s say he pours that money in and makes triple what he makes now… close to $60k a month (example). While that is an impressive number, I am sure you’ve read about people making $60k a day. Which would you rather have =]

        1. Dom says:

          Sorry, but $27,000 a month is not a hobby for anyone. Anyone who treats that amount of money as a hobby is going to lose it as quickly as they made it.

          And a 300% ROI is pretty damn good if you ask me – particularly when you can then go and re-invest that and get the same return over and over.

          My point is that those numbers grow exponentially if you invest them back into the business. And John’s answer sums up why I simply don’t believe most of what he says.

          (But I do still read his blog) 🙂

          1. John Chow says:

            You should ask Shoe and Darren why they don’t reinvest money back into their blogs. Well, I don’t know Darren’s reason (I think it was because he has never used PPC to build his blog) but Shoe’s answer is the same as mine.

            While what you say sounds reasonable from a numbers point of view, it doesn’t work like that in real life. You’re thinking spend $500, make $27K so spending $1,000 would make $54K. The majority of my traffic does not come from advertising so any increase in ad won’t convert to a huge increase in income. The ROI I do get from the ad spend doesn’t match the ROI I get from affiliate sites. That’s why the ad budget is so low.

      3. Yup, like investing in the Quarter Wiki….well…maybe i am going over the line but I had 2 bottles of Soju tonight so don’t blame me…

  12. Michael says:

    I’ve tried a couple of “evil” things but they haven’t worked yet.

    *wink, *wink John 🙂

  13. Bobby Rio says:

    “When it comes to making money online, unique readers is a lot more important than raw page views.”

    So true. I hit 600,000 page views with 40,000 uniques this month and dont see near the money you are nor do I have as many loyal readers.

    My main goal is to increase my rss subscribers.. and to try out some other forms of ads besides affiliates which is all im currently running.

  14. michael says:

    I am introduced by SE,and therefore posting comment here,and hope can get one link to our site. If you agree,we appreciate this.water filter,garden products and others

  15. Steven Finch says:

    This article is very interesting and I will be writing an article about this in the coming days so stay tuned with http://www.crenk.com

  16. Hmmm…must study secret A-list techniques…

  17. Jovan says:

    John, I remember you talking about setting up a blog that is anonymous and you are not mentioned, as an experimental blog to see if it can generate real revenue, give us an update of this…what is the status so far?

  18. Do you think blogging about blogging is a better way to make money than blogging about other things, if you are big? Does anyone know? I’d like to see, what blog topics are most profitable for similarly trafficked sites.

    1. John Chow says:

      It’s better to blog about what you know and what you’re passionate about than to blog about a topic because it’s the highest paying.

      1. charles says:

        This is so true. Just be yourself. 🙂

        1. yup, goto http://zedomax.com right now if you like tech…

  19. MoneyNing says:

    Bloging about blogging is the biggest money making niche if you are big because you can run whatever widget/ad and people will accept it.

    Other niches tend to limit themselves since it’s tied to a certain segment.

    1. That’s a pretty generalized statement. I’m sure Engadget and Gizmodo are pulling a hell of a lot more money than any blog about blogging and they are tech-related.

      1. I agree, blogging about money is something John Chow created or at least made a champion of it through his miscellanius ramblings that ARE interesting.

        But there’s plenty room for other niches.

  20. Actually traffic looks to be less than half the battle, judging by your graph. I guess it goes to show you how important it is to diversify different blog income streams.

  21. Mastermind says:

    trust is the main thing when it comes to making money online….so whatever new things you bring we always accept it cause we trust you

    1. That is true. In my recent testing and analysis, John Chow’s reviews are so much better than having ads on his blog… Maybe it’s the crowd that listens to him… It’s got some type of viral effect on people in general.

  22. Rodel says:

    just enjoy it.. and be dedicated to it while doing it part time.. . 😀

  23. A good redesign with monetization in mind often works wonders.

    1. well, i think it’s not just design, it was way before John started bringin’ in cash… I think only reason he changed the design was because of John Cow…

  24. Biju says:

    Good post. Thanks John.
    I have a blog, which never gets anyone to the site. November was the 2nd month in a row in which I didn’t had a single visit. Remarkable, isn’t? :mrgreen:
    Have you guys seen an Google Analytics report with no visitors for 2 months. Well I see that everyday. Hopes to see some spikes in the report in the future.
    Thanks for the post anyways.

  25. bmunch says:

    For small blogs, traffic is more than important. It is the KEY. You better make the major marketing effort or all your repositioning won’t help.

    I know, I have a small blog. 😐

    1. get free pages at One Buck Wiki for bloggin’ about it, get pages for Five Dollar Wiki for bloggin’ about it, well…the list is endless you know…

  26. shy guy says:

    yeah.. it is good to get traffic..
    Even 10 % of JOhnchow traffic

  27. Let’s see…. I estimate about 20-30K unique visitors per day for john’s so 10% is: 2000 to 3000. Yes, that is not too bad.

  28. James B. says:

    I wish i could get 1% of John Chows traffic. I only get on average 33 page views a day 🙁 . That isn’t good at all. But then again, I host on blogger, don’t use ads (except Entrecard and Blogrush), don’t make money from my site (because i don’t want to right now), have only been into my site for one month, and don’t a domain name.

    Maybe later.

  29. James B. says:

    For Me, Getting Traffic is the WHOLE battle. I wish i could have 1% of John’s traffic.

    1. GemViper says:

      You can get 1% of the traffic John gets. Heres how James.

      #1 – ditch blogger, get your own domain.
      #2 – Remove the “Just” from “Just hunting tips” in the title, people don’t search for “just” anything.
      #3 – Get a theme that puts your sidebar on the right (or on the left if it’s NOT called upon until AFTER the main content is called). You’ll improve prominence greatly.
      #4 – Reduce the number of full articles on the index page, 15 is too much, your keywords are extremely diluted right now.
      #5 – rename your images using short, descriptive words and remove the + from between each word. Use a dash instead. You’ll draw traffic from those images.

      I wouldn’t normaly spend the time looking under the hood of a strangers site but your written content is actually quite good. Keep at it. When you have a few hundred articles out there you’ll notice steady traffic from Google etc.

  30. Mike Huang says:

    Getting traffic is hard for new blogs now since the evil John Chow brings up the standards 😈 .

    But, the key thing is to “NEVER GIVE UP”

    -Mike

  31. James B. says:

    Yes, once you are established traffic is only half the battle but for mos bloggers- traffic is the whole battle.

  32. James B. says:

    Sorry about the repeated comments. They weren’t showing up before and now they did.

  33. Curious says:

    John, I’m curious as to whether you’ve tried these methods on entertainment type sites. My site gets around 30k uniques a day with 100k p/vs but so far I’m unable to monetize as much as I think I can. Any suggestions?

  34. GemViper says:

    Traffic is more a measure of popularity than profitability. Amen.

  35. J.J. Merrick says:

    It’s amazing how people don’t realize that it is how you capitalize on the traffic and not how much you get. I applaud you on the less traffic/more money!

  36. This is so interesting…I think my beginners focus only on traffic…but I think sites ultimately need to split their efforts between traffic and ad mixture. Good post!

  37. John chow, please tell how i can more traffic to my site.
    http://www.mygas.ambitenergyil.com.
    I’ll take suggestion from others too.

  38. blogger says:

    John thanks for the post,

    You got it straight to the point when you emphasize on getting traffic for your site and having a good quality mix of adwords for your site increases your EPCM and gets doubled when you increase your unique visitors to your site.

    Thanks

  39. Maher Saleh says:

    Nice post john! That was a good advice because i am living through google but planning to expand my income streams 🙂

  40. great post. Really makes you think about the ads on your own site.
    ~ Dave

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