“A million guys walk into a Silicon Valley bar. None of them buy anything. The bar is declared a rousing success.”
– Internet joke
Amazon For A Penny had 30 page views when I sold over a hundred dollars worth of products. 30 Days To X had 6,000 before I ever made a single cent. While getting people to visit your site is important, having a lot of traffic doesn’t mean much. While drawing in visitors and building a following is important, it isn’t the be-all end-all.
I’ve built several dozen little websites and run a slew of online hustles. Last year alone I made four or five separate websites and blogs. Some of my biggest money makers have actually gotten the least amount of traffic. In today’s post I’m going to debunk the old “more visitors equals more money” myth.
Do site hits mean more customers?
30 Days To X gets more traffic in a day than all my other sites combined. However, it makes way less money. When people come here they show up to be entertained or to learn something. Readers aren’t showing up to buy washing machines or purchase the latest iPhone.
In contrast, I have a very simple website about xylitol. It has a handful of posts, some affiliate links, and an eBook. While it doesn’t get a whole ton of traffic, the people who visit tend to buy something. They’re looking for information on a product, it’s only natural for them to click through an Amazon link and order what they had wanted. Although the site doesn’t make a lot, it earns enough to pay for hosting and cover the occasional impulse purchase. I also only update it once a month.
Another site, built when I tried to make and market a cheesy eBook, hasn’t been touched since January. While I took the eBook off the shelves, it didn’t sell well, I replaced it with a few affiliate likes to other books. I usually make a couple bucks a month from random visitors who stumble onto the old posts.
While getting traffic is import, it isn’t something to beat yourself up over. Structuring your site to make money, and creating great content should be your two biggest priorities. There are thousands of blogs and websites that get millions of hits, but never earn a dime. Reddit, one of the biggest websites in the world, is notorious for hemorrhaging money. People go to the site to look at cat pictures and look for sleazy sex stuff, they aren’t there to spend money.
The next time you ask yourself if site hits mean more customers, remember that a site’s structure is more important than the size of its audience. You could have ten million unique readers and it won’t mean anything if you don’t have an effective way to monetize them.
While I’ve talked a lot about how overrated page views can be for making money online, there are a few exceptions. I’m going to detail them later this week. I’ll also explain some of the less obvious ways that a website can be monetized.