How to Make Money Through Internet Traffic

An over the shoulder view of a woman shopping for dresses on the Internet.
An over the shoulder view of a woman shopping for dresses on the Internet. (Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

There is no magic bullet for making money through Internet traffic. You can do quite well, however, if you accept the fact that the key to financial success on the Internet is superior content. Even when people stumble upon websites, they must be rewarded with enriching experiences to remain there. Thus, regardless of what you sell, great content drives the online traffic that gets you the money.

The Internet According to Panda

Since Google introduced the Panda algorithm in 2011 to penalize websites with poor-quality content, website content has undergone a sea change. Before Panda, the prevailing wisdom was that search engine ranking drove website traffic regardless of the quality of website content. Subsequent to Panda, the new wisdom, according to Google, is that great content drives website traffic, which in turn drives Google rankings. As such, you must have great content to drive the audience traffic that gets you superior search engine rankings.

Content that Gets Traffic

You don't need a content guru to tell you that great content is audience-centric. Your intended audience naturally expects appropriate content that enriches their website experience. In effect, great content offers audiences precisely what they want, when they want it and is presented in a compelling format. Such content requires that you know your audience and the hot buttons to push, which appeal to how they think and their emotions. Keep your content clear and focused. Jawad Khan, a marketing consultant to high-tech startups, recommends creating “buyer personas” to stay focused on your target audience. Buyer personas are profiles that describe your potential customers. Brian Clark of Copyblogger strongly recommends that you master the art of storytelling to deliver your content in ways that captivate.

Sources of Internet Traffic

Internet entrepreneurs usually include Google Analytics in their bag of analysis tools for insight about website traffic sources. This report classifies your website traffic according to four sources: direct traffic, referral traffic, search traffic and campaign traffic. Direct traffic comes from visitors who type your URL directly into a search engine's search box. Referral traffic comes from another website that links to your website. Search traffic comes from earned search engine rankings, commonly called organic rankings, and paid traffic that comes from ads you bought. Campaign traffic originates from your online campaigns such as newsletters, which is why many Internet businesses use tracking codes in their campaigns to help Google identify the campaigns that got you the traffic.

Sources of Internet Revenue

Having established that you need a steady flow of website traffic and you get that traffic with great content, it follows that you need either a blog or a website. With a blog, you can sell your stuff or other people's stuff. Selling other people's stuff through affiliated marketing programs has strong appeal, as evidenced by Forrester Research's prediction that it will grow to a $4.5 billion industry in 2016. Google AdSense is another revenue source. You earn a commission when viewers click on ads that Google places on your website. However, you need substantial website traffic to make serious money, and you need great content to drive website traffic. Moreover, Google pays only when your account reaches $100.

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