Some sites are built to attract a high volume of quick traffic resulting in quick sign-ups and sales… other sites are built for the long run – to attract regular visitors, multiple purchases over time and site-recommended programs, products and services. What kind of webmaster are you?
When you sign-up with an affiliate program you are given a couple of choices. You can go for the PPS (Pay Per Sign-up) model and get paid $25-50 for each sign-up, trial or sale. You can also choose to go RevShare and get paid a percentage for the initial sign-up and then a continued recurring paid percentage for each renewed month or contract block.
No matter what type of website you own or operate, you have this choice – are you in it for the long haul or do you just want to make the quick buck? Choosing the type of affiliate pay out you want isn’t the only way you make this decision – the type of traffic you get, the type of content you use, the design, navigation and site structure you implement – they all will affect the long-term or quick success of your site.
Planting Seeds for the Future
Let’s first start talking about the webmaster that is in it for the long haul. Most people get into the adult online industry to make a career out of it – either to begin working from home, make a dream come true or to have the opportunity to be their own boss. You don’t start building web sites thinking that you’re just going to make X-amount of dollars and then quit. Hopefully you have a business plan, goals for the future and other ideas that you hope to implement in the future.
When we think about content we always talk about targeting your traffic. Depending upon the type of site you run, the theme and the need/demand for it within the surfing community, you will have different types of traffic. The kind of traffic that will help you work toward building up your web site or online business usually fits this type of criteria:
- Bookmark Traffic: surfers that will re-visit your site on a regular basis
- Search Engine Traffic: visitors come directly from type-in searches on the major engines
- RSS Feed Traffic: visitors that return to your site through daily feed links from your site
- Newsletter Traffic: double opt-in newsletters bring your visitors back on a regular basis
These are just a few examples, but they give you idea about the “type” of site visitor we’re talking about here. Visitors that will continue to come back to your site are visitors that build a trust with you. If you run a portal, hub, blog, link list, review or gallery-type site, they will come back, check out your sponsors and hopefully join the sites that you suggest or recommend.
Search engine traffic will often bring this type of visitor to your virtual doorstep, especially if you are doing honest optimization that fairly represents the type of content or products that they type-in to find your site. RSS feeds and opt-in newsletters are another great way to keep that steady flow of trusted, targeted traffic back to your site on a regular basis. The visitors that sign-up to receive these updates have already been to your site, like what you have to offer and are much more likely to convert to a sale or membership than first-time visitors might be.
Bookmarkers and regular visitors are “earned” over a period of time through trust, quality and consistency. If you regularly update your site, give fair and honest (not over-hyped) reviews and have strict rules about the sites and programs you link to – they will recognize this and give you respect – and make regular purchases – in return.
Making a Quick Buck
But what if you don’t WANT to build up bookmark traffic? Some webmasters feel that bookmark traffic is “bandwidth stealing” traffic that is there to just see the “free stuff” and then leave without ever making a purchase. Others feel that the faster you get the visitors to your site and off to a targeted sponsor site, the better your chances are of making a quick sale.
The debate on the merits of PPS vs. RevShare has been a battle between webmasters at industry forums and conventions – with both sides generally digging their heels in, sure that their way is the right way. But whichever type of program you support, and whichever type of traffic you seek to bring to your website, you need to be sure that you are doing all you can to increase your bottom line – that check you get at the end of every month.
PPS has its benefits too – and so does the theory of the “quick buck.” Supporters argue that focusing on the initial sale and not worrying about future/recurring sales is sometimes the ideal method simply because today’s consumer market is more “fickle” than it used to be. Many surfers will sign up for a membership program and cancel after the trial period or download everything on the site to their hard drives and then cancel after the first 30-day purchase. That being the case, what’s the benefit in pushing for RevShare?
Other arguments FOR the “quick buck” theory is that today’s high-speed broadband user moves at the speed of the Internet. In fact, studies have show than web sites have 2.5 seconds – or less – to “prove themselves” to the average surfer who clicks on and off web sites at a higher rate of speed than ever before. If they don’t see what they like – they move on. You have a one-shot, 2.5 second chance to win them over and initiate that sale. Why bother designing a high-quality, regularly updated site if they are just going to move on in a matter of seconds?
Depending upon your traffic – and the current trends of the market – both ideas have the potential to be right, and the potential to be wrong. In the end, it all depends upon the webmaster and what he/she is able to invest into the site – financially and in time spent on design and/or updates. Do you just want to make that quick initial sale and let the visitor move on to the next big thing? Or do you want to try and attract that visitor to become a regular visitor where you will get multiple shots to convert and sell to him over a period of weeks, months or years?
What Works Best for YOU?
We’re down to it now – the real deciding factors in the debate between building a site for the long-term sale or the quick sell visitor – YOU. Only you can decide which path you wish to take. Only you can determine how much money or time you have available to invest.
If you are going for the long-term visitor you will need to be prepared to regularly update – hopefully daily or at the very least a couple times a week – in order to hold their attention and keep them coming back for more. If you are going for the quick buck, you will need to hone your skills to attract the visitor in a couple of seconds and prompt them to make that quick sale.
The book-marking regular visitor also “demands” fresh content. Whether your content is text-based in a blog, review-based for a DVD, website or product type portal, photo/video-based for a gallery or niche-specific site, you will need to add fresh content on a regular basis. Of course it would help to have some exclusive items – be able to offer things that no one else does so you can set yourself apart from your competitors, but exclusive content can be expensive. You will definitely have to make the decision to purchase exclusive photo/video content or pay to have exclusive reviews written, etc. based upon your financial situation.
If you are a build-it-and-forget-it type of person – not that there’s anything wrong with that – the quick buck approach may be more for you. If you are skilled at attracting large volumes of traffic, or have a means to purchase bulk traffic from a broker, you might not be as concerned with retaining bookmark visitors and keeping them around for the long haul. Again, this depends upon you, your style, your goals, your finances and your time.
Going for the quick buck doesn’t necessarily mean building crappy sites or not paying attention to search engine optimization and other specifics that will help you to make sales. In fact, those who are most successful at going for the single sale are usually masters at building sites that convert. Think about it – you’ve got one shot at making the sale – you need to make the most of it.
Whatever type of site you decide to build, and whatever type of traffic you plan to attract and convert, a well thought out business plan with room for growth, change and add-ons as needed is essential. But how do you know what kind of traffic you have once you start building – especially if initial sales are slow and your site is still in development? How can you make changes necessary to the overall success of your project once it is already underway?
Why Can’t You Do Both?
Great question – why can’t you do both? Who says your site has to be built for just one type of consumer and not the other? Anyone who has worked in the industry for any amount of time knows that there are a lot of “blended” and “hybrid” ideas that have been highly successful. There are web sites that combine both free and pay aspects, fetish and “vanilla”, gallery content and product sales – the combinations and opportunities are endless. So why can’t you design a core site for your business that combines the quick-sale methods used for high-speed 2.5 second traffic in with the elements necessary to create a bookmark-able, trusted site that can elicit the trust of your site’s visitors and create long term sales?
You can start off with a hybrid site that gives options for the two main types of site surfers and then allow your site to naturally evolve to focus in on the type of traffic that becomes the dominate presence after some time has passed. Or – your business plan and ideas for the future can encompass both ideas permanently, giving your visitors more choices and YOU more opportunities to make the sale. There are many successful portal sites that do just this.
Examples of giving both options include the utilization of free sites or galleries to feed fast-paced traffic to your main site, giving those 2.5 seconds guys a quick peek and a chance to convert. Add a link to your main site and you give your more loyal visitors who are looking for a site they can trust and “hang out” at on a regular basis the option to visit your main site and look around. Another option would be to use quick summaries of blog posts or create a raw RSS feed of your site’s regularly updated content and post your feed into FeedBurner.com, add it to Technorati.com or even use it as a way to get listed on social book-marking sites. Those quick-read folks will click to read more and you can show them a quick banner, offer a free tour or a click here for more exit – and the book-marker type can view your main site and hopefully sign up as a regular feed subscriber and return again and again.
Think “outside the box,” and find new and unique ways to attract both types of targeted consumers. Once you have their attention, make sure that you provide a means for both types to choose how to continue – either to a quick fix gallery or “instant gratification” option or to a more long-term subscription, membership or free-join option to hold their interest. Finding new and unique ways to achieve these goals is what will set your next project apart from the pack and help you find a new level of success in both the short term and the long haul.