Paid vs Free Traffic: Expectations and Mindset
I decided to write this post in order to manage expectations of those that are new to WA and affiliate marketing in general. I don't know the exact percentages, but I estimate that 80-90% of new Premium members go the free traffic route. They work on building up a quality site and ranking it organically through both on-site ad more importantly off-site SEO techniques.
There is a very important thing you need to realize and prepare yourself for mentally if you focus on SEO. It is a long term play, especially if you are starting a brand new website. The big channel here is Google and they don't hand out rankings in their search engine to just anybody. New sites are in a so called "Google Sandbox" and you cannot expect to get much organic traffic during your first 6 months. Google rewards history and quality content. The more history and the more engagement your site has, the higher you'll climb in Google's ranking...simply said.
I have followed a lot of people going this route and although I know several online entrepreneurs that managed to take a brand new website from 0 to five digits in monthly profits in a span of 6-8 months, those results are not typical. The typical results are to get your website to $500-1,000/month within your first 12 months. And to $10,000/month and more within cca 3 years.
This is what you need to prepare yourself for mentally. I have seen too many people quit after a few months just because they were not getting results. If they would have stuck to their business, they could have reached a very decent additonal income in cca 12 months and a full-time income in 2-3 years.
If you don't accept this, don't have the patience and willingness to work hard for the next 2-3 years in order to achieve a full-time income...well then this business is not for you :)
A route that can lead to a full-time income much faster is paid traffic. This is the route I took and I was able to go full time within 3 months. But what you need to understand here is that you will need to invest money...and you'll probably lose money during your first weeks or months even. My advice is to focus on one traffic source only until you master it. Preferably focus on one of the giant traffic sources, where you have access to more traffic than you'll ever need :) These sources are Google Adwords, Facebook, Native, etc.
WA has some very good training on PPC, so you can start there. And don't go crazy...set a daily budget at a level where you feel confident even if you lose it all. I lost $2,000 my first month just because I made a few newbie mistakes and also you need to spend money to generate data based on which you can optimize your campaigns (in case of PPC, some keywords might not convert...some keywords might have higher average CPCs than your average EPC, etc). My second month I broke even and my third month I made $5,000. But I got there because I was willing to accept a loss my first month and I was expecting to make a loss my second month also to be honest.
I hope this post helped at least some of you with what to expect and what to prepare yourself for. In summary - SEO is a long term play and you need to have the patience and motivation to work for months without much reward in terms of cash. But if you stay commited, in 2-3 years you'll have built an asset that can pay your bills for the rest of your life! With paid traffic, you can go full-time much faster, but you need to be prepared to lose money in the start. Don't go this route if you don't have at least a few thousand USD in savings that you can afford to lose.