Paid vs Free Traffic: Expectations and Mindset

Last Update: August 14, 2017

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.

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TwoTallGals Premium
Really great post. It's like the story of the men who were digging for veins of gold, then stopped digging when they were only 3 feet away from the largest vein ever discovered. Have to keep at it and keep positive! I find being a member of WA and having the weekly webinars and folks like you to chat with sure helps with that! I've never done PPC, only FB ads (for having people join my private group) successfully - will check out the PPC training! Thanks!
mrronnie Premium
Thank you! Love the "gold" analogy...that's so true :)
ThomasTay Premium
Wow... this advise is really good to hear. Many of us want to make money, even small amount but if there is nothing coming for 6 month or more, most of them will quit. Their confidence will drop and doubt seep in. Your suggestion of PPC and use it wisely is important for new member.
mrronnie Premium
Thank you for your nice comment. I'm glad you found some value here :)
BSantos1 Premium
Thank your for this post. It brings a lot of light on what to expect. There are so many affiliate marketing programs out there telling you get rich quick, but they don't set proper expectations most likely cause they don't want to turn people off. Is there a training on this route so that we can limit some of the hiccups most newbs will make that could cost the hundreds or thousands of dollars?!
mrronnie Premium
Thank you very much for the positive feedback...I'm glad you found my post helpful :) There is some really good PPC training in the affiliate bootcamp, that can be applied to any niche ;)
NastyNeste Premium
Ronnie, thank you for your post. I really like your down to Earth approach and how you shoot it straight by giving a realistic timeline/expectation.

I plan on starting with the free traffic route, learn a lot more/have a decent amount of site content, and then explore the paid route. Once I get to that point, I definitely plan on asking you for advice as it seems you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing when it comes to PPC.

Best of luck with increasing your ROI!!!
mrronnie Premium
Cheers James...thank you for the kind words :) Feel free to ask for advice anytime ;)
JeffL61 Premium
All of the training taught here at WA, in addition to past personal experiences that all failed in trying to generate traffic for previous online business ventures that I participated in tells me that many, (but NOT all) paid traffic programs are just scams.

There could be some legit paid traffic programs out there somewhere, such as PPC, and Google Adsense as you suggested, sir. One would have to conduct thorough research before investing even one dime into them. And, as you also stated you should be prepared to initially lose money before making money for your business through participation with even the legit paid traffic programs.

Also, you have to be careful about these paid traffic programs for one other reason: Many such fraudulent programs which consist of robots instead of real human traffic are looked upon quite dimly by the major search engines - Google, Bing and Yahoo.

You could end up hurting your own business, your site being punished by the search engines through their being ranked lower because without doing research you inadvertently subscribed to what turned out to be a scam paid traffic program that magically has a few thousand people, (disguised as robots) visiting your site daily. Only of course, nothing gets purchased by those fake visitors.

Also under no circumstances should an online business owner participate in traffic exchange programs, a bit different than paid traffic sites.

Kyle wrote an excellent article on his site which focused on traffic exchange programs, practically all of which are as phony as 4 dollar bills.

Here is that article:
mrronnie Premium
Yes that's a brilliant article! And that's why I only recommend the huge traffic sources like Google Adwords, Facebook, Native, etc.

Master any one of them and you're set for years to come :)

There are many traffic programs out there but yeah more than 90% of them are complete ripoffs. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is ;)