“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain
This isn’t an article about, um, dog fighting.
I’m talking about (what else?) building websites.
When it comes to building web-based businesses, the size of your audience doesn’t matter unless you know how to use it.
Which would you rather have:
- a website that attracts millions of visitors a month but doesn’t earn enough revenue to pay the monthly server costs?
- or, a website that attracts just hundreds or thousands of dedicated and passionate visitors and earns enough revenue to build a thriving small business around?
Your answer is important. It predicts a lot about your future.
You may actually need far fewer website visitors than you think to build a successful business.
The question is, do you have any idea how many visitors you’ll need?
Very few people have the slightest clue, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have an answer right off the tip of your tongue.
The problem is, when you don’t have an answer, it usually means you haven’t given much thought to your revenue plan. It also means you probably haven’t thought much about the specific types of visitors you’re trying to attract.
You should be after targeted traffic, not absoute traffic.
Targeted traffic are the visitors you attract who will support you, tell their friends about you, purchase what you have to offer and keep coming back.
Absolute traffic could be anyone online. Absolute traffic is something inexperienced bloggers and would-be entrepreneurs go after because they don’t know any better. They don’t understand market segmentation or conversion rates and they don’t have a real business plan.
Absolute traffic is a fool’s errand. Absolute traffic is absolutely worthless when it comes to building an audience online.
If you want to build a business around your website, you need to have an idea of how you’ll make money from the beginning. You need to know what types of people you can best serve, and which might want to buy something from you.
You shouldn’t try to attract just anyone online. You need to find your target audience wherever they already hang out online and bring them back to your site.
Serve your target audience better than anyone else and you’ll have a thriving business on your hands. Forget about that target audience on your quest to build big absolute traffic numbers and you’ll probably end up with one of those big websites with tiny revenue I mentioned earlier.
“But wait!” maybe you’re saying. “What about advertising?”
What about it? Here’s the problem with advertising. If you have no idea what you would sell your audience, you’ll earn little if anything from advertisers. Advertisers have products to sell. They want to make sales. That’s why they’re paying for advertising.
If you have little influence over your visitors because they’re a loose collection of people who “stumbled” by your site for 10 seconds to look at some pretty pictures, those visitors won’t buy much from your advertisers, just like they wouldn’t buy anything from you. Your advertising rates will be so low you’d need millions of monthly visitors to make significant revenue.
That’s a game a lot sites play, and only the biggest win.
I’ve known entrepreneurs who built sites to 100,000+ visits per month only to run into a dead end business-wise. I’ve been there myself before. The “we’ll figure out the business plan after we build the audience” approach is so 1998.
There’s a new breed of online entrepreneur who has learned the real secret to making money online.
We ask questions like “what’s the revenue per visitor?” Instead of “how many pageviews do they have?”
Who cares about pageviews? You can’t pay your rent with pageviews.
Yes, this is a site about attracting website traffic, but it’s about attracting the right visitors for your business, not just any visitors. I’ve been landing clients and making sales through this site since the month it launched, from just a couple of hundred visitors a day.
I want you to ask yourself who you’re trying to attract to your site.
Are you focused on people who you can have a major impact on? Are you building value or publishing “shiny object” content to catch the eye of anyone and everyone?
Do you have target visitors, or are you just after empty numbers?
What are your goals for your site? How many visitors do you think you need reach those goals?
Let’s discuss this in the comments.
I’d love to hear your answers, and sharing them publicly might help you commit.
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