Free vs Paid Traffic. Which Should You Use?

Traffic is the lifeblood of your online business. Whether you’re an affiliate marketer, product creator or service provider without traffic you’re dead in the water.

You could have the most amazing, life-changing product on the internet but if no-one knows about it, you will never make any money.

There are basically two types of traffic. Paid traffic and Free traffic. There are pros and cons of both which I will explain in this post.

Free Traffic

The best thing about free traffic is pretty obvious. It’s FREE. But only from a monetary perspective. It doesn’t cost you any money but you have to pay in a far more precious commodity. Your time.

Free traffic is NOT a quick solution to flooding your website and affiliate offers with visitors, it is a tortoise-like slow-burning strategy. But once you have put the work and built a following you can leverage that traffic for years to come.

Methods of Free Traffic-

Blog Hopping

Or blog commenting as it’s known is a great strategy for driving free ‘laser-targeted’ traffic. Find a high traffic blog or other content website in your marketplace. Find a post or article that interests you and has a lot of interaction going on and at the bottom you will see a box where you can leave a comment but also your name, email and a link to your website.

Tip- leave an informative comment which actually adds value to the post . Don’t just say ‘great post bob, here’s a link to my site’. You will just get ignored.

Guest Posting

This is another great way to leverage high traffic blogs. Some blogs will actually invite other marketers to write a ‘guest post’ and add it to their site. The idea is at the end of your post you can link back to your website. Think about it, if a blog is already receiving thousands of visitors per month you can put your link right in front of that audience. Providing you have written a good post and established yourself as a person of authority the blog’s visitors will naturally be curious and visit your website.

Social Media Groups

These can be a great traffic source but can also be flooded with spam-hungry morons especially in any ‘make money’ market.

Facebook is a classic example of this. If you do a search for ‘affiliate marketing’, and click ‘groups’ check out the results that come up.

Two types of groups will appear, ‘closed and open’. The open groups in any ‘make money’ market will probably be filled with people who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing and just spamming their ‘make money’ opportunities in the group. New posts pop up every 30 seconds so anything you add to the group will quickly be down the bottom of the page. It’s actually pretty laughable.

These groups you want to avoid like the plague if you are in these markets. Having said that, there are some really good groups around but they have become wise to all the spam so external or affiliate links will have been banned and if you break the rules you will be ejected without warning

However if you are in any other niche such as dog training you can get some really interactive groups which could turn into a good traffic source.

But don’t just go in ‘all guns blazing’ and start posting links to your website. Answer questions, start discussions, participate and connect with other people in the group. If they see you are there to genuinely add value they will check out your profile which should have your website links in or check with the admin of the group before posting any links.


Forums or online discussion groups are another great free traffic source. Do a google search for ‘your niche’ + forum or ‘your niche’+ discussion and check out the results. You will have to register to join the forums and get approved which does take time but as I said this isn’t an instant traffic strategy. After being approved you have to treat the forum the same as a social media group.

You need to add value, answer questions and connect with others in the forum. The way to leverage traffic from the forum is to leave a link in your signature file, this is a section that appears at the bottom of all of your posts which people will see every time you add a post into the forum. The more posts you write the more your link gets in front of people.

TIP-Make sure the forum is active before you join. I have wasted time before registering and getting approved to forums only to find out the last post was in 2006.


Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet and if you’re not leveraging it then you should be. Here are some quick stats just to show you the potential of Youtube.

The total number of people who use YouTube – 1,300,000,000.

300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!

Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.

Wow. That is ridiculous.

But how do you get found in the sea of video? How is anyone going to find you?

Here’s a few things you can do to help get your video ranked for your chosen keywords in Youtube

Unfortunately Google and Youtube are not smart enough (yet) to actually figure out what your video is about by the content IN your video. So you need to tell them using keywords carefully placed around your video in places such as-

Your title

Your description

Your tags.

When your video is ‘crawled’ this will tell Google and Youtube what the content in you video is about and they will decide how relevant it is.

There are many more things you can do to increase your rankings in Youtube which I will cover in future Posts.

Paid Traffic

The best thing about paid traffic is it’s pretty much instant. If you know what you’re doing and you have an offer that converts then you can leverage the speed of paid traffic and get some amazing results. However, the downside of paid traffic is the cost. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can lose your shirt pretty quickly (speaking from experience). I once lost $300 in Google Adwords in half an hour.


A very popular method of paid advertising is also with Youtube.

There are basically 3 types of Youtube ad which you can pay for.

In-Stream Ad.

These are the ads that appear before a video is played. They can be kind of annoying as your visitor didn’t ask to see it, they are just waiting to watch their surfing cat or Justin Beiber video.

They offer massive exposure as your prospect is literally forced to watch it before the video they actually clicked on. However, you typically only get 5 seconds before your prospect can click the ‘skip ad’ button so your video needs to grab your prospects by the throat instantly if you are to keep their attention.

These ads are charged on a Cost-Per-View basis. But I believe the ad is free until it reaches 30 seconds or the video in your ad ends. Whichever comes first.

In-Display Ad

These are the ads that appear in the right hand column at the top of the recommended content ‘up next’ section and will catch the attention of viewers while they are watching their videos.

In-Search Ad

You can pay to have a video ad appear at the top of the video search results for your selected keywords. You will see a little yellow ‘ad’ sticker before the description and they are usually in the top 1st or 2nd places in the organic listings.

My advice would be if you are just starting out. Start with free traffic methods and once you see a return then progress into paid ads.  Most of the big successful marketers I know all use some form of paid advertising but you need to know what you’re doing and be willing to lose money initially testing different landing pages and funnels.

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Talk soon



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