By Chris Wilson
In the mid 80s, I was looking for space in a DFW suburban shopping center. Every real estate agent I spoke to talked about the daily traffic count in front of the center. He/she also proudly discussed the traffic the anchors and other tenants provided for the center.
No agents said that the metroplex had several million people. No agents said that the metroplex was growing rapidly. They were only talking about the traffic I could depend on for my business in that time and location.
At first I chose a small free-standing building on a nice neighborhood street. I did not want to spend the extra money for space in a large center. I liked the idea of being by myself, having my own space with no shopping center rules and regulations.
The second time I chose a large center on a busy street because of the daily traffic count and the traffic the other tenants would bring my way. The additional traffic returned the extra rent money quickly and many times over.
Now, here I am in the late 90s, planning my commercial website.
The first thing on my agenda is creating a traffic jam at my site. I'm not creating fancy graphics, or something jumping across my home page, or my domain name. Because if I don't get traffic, all my fancy graphics and names plus my jumping-bean logos will be for naught.
Every company needs traffic for their website. This is true even when the primary purpose of their site is to promote goodwill or customer service.
Not every website needs retail traffic, of course.
Some need business-to-consumer traffic such as a real estate broker or an auto repair shop.
Some need traffic for professional services, such as an attorney or a massage therapist.
Some need business-to-business traffic such as a graphic artist or manufacturer.
Some need multiple kinds of traffic. Maybe they sell rubber stamps for personal and business use or sell both home and office furniture. In a shopping center all traffic builds on all other traffic.That same concept holds true for an internet mall.
The person who comes to buy a gift may be attracted to the professional services of an attorney.
The person who comes to seek a voice mail service may be a business person who also needs several business products and services.
The person who comes for customer service information may stay to buy a gift or a new home.
The person who comes to lease an apartment may also need furniture for their new apartment home.
The person who comes to answer a singles' ad may manage a company needing business products and then personally be looking for a new car.
And the list goes on...
The point is: the only thing that will make a web site work is traffic. And all traffic builds on all other traffic.
The large population in the metroplex did not positively impact my location. By the same token, the immense size of the internet will not positively impact anyone's web business unless he/she can capture that traffic.
Easier said than done.
You ask, "How can I capture traffic on the internet?"
The same way you do in the real world. By advertising, joining with other companies, and giving clients and customers a reason to return.
You say, "Great theory, Chris, but specifically how do I capture traffic on the web?"
1. Join many other companies to share traffic from many other websites, through linking and joining several malls.
2. Advertise on the web, i.e., properly and creatively register your site with the search engines and directories.
3. Advertise "off the web" in local or national media.
4. ALWAYS use your URL in off-web ads or printed materials.
5. Attract return traffic to your site with a magnitude of varied and interesting content.
You ask, "How much time do you think I have or an employee has to do all of this time-consuming and creative labor?"
I don't know how much time you or a company employee has to spare. I don't know what kind of writing or other skills you have available to you.
I do know this, however. If you can't do it, and most companies and/or individuals can't, better hire it done or get off the web. Without traffic you are dead in the water.
Traffic quite simply equals income.
Traffic is not the place to cut corners in business. I learned this expensive lesson in the real world. I do not need to learn it again on the web!
Do you ?!??
When all is said and done, just what is a web site, anyway? Join us another issue for the answer. Until then, happy webbing. It's a super, profitable, unique and fun experience.
Other articles on web marketing by Chris Wilson:
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