Should I Pay For Traffic Or Not?

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They are generally two ways of getting website traffic to your website – paid and unpaid.

What is paid traffic?

Paid traffic is when a publisher buys traffic from a third party. They pay for companies to send visitors to their website. This can be done through legitimate means, such as through AdWords, Facebook and content recommenders such as Outbrain and Taboola.  There are shady companies that can send low quality, and/or fraudulent traffic. These shady sources of traffic can get you blacklisted from Google.

Why would someone pay for traffic?

Paying for traffic is utilized in arbitrage. The goal of arbitrage is to make more money from the traffic coming to your website than it cost to purchase that traffic. If it cost $X to buy a given visitor, and that visitor earns you more than $X on the page, then the arbitrage model can be profitable for you.

Arbitrage can also be very risky. Paid traffic provides lower CPMs than unpaid traffic, so it might not always be profitable. Also, fraudulent traffic will get flagged by Google or other revenue sources and can be refunded to the advertisers for their money spent. Therefore, your site ends up with less money earned.

What is unpaid traffic?

Organic traffic is unpaid traffic. Direct traffic is another form of unpaid traffic. Direct traffic is when users go to your website directly by typing the url. Unpaid traffic also includes getting referred traffic from other websites. Search engine traffic often makes up the largest amount of unpaid traffic. It comes from people searching on sites like Google or Bing.

Unpaid traffic is more likely to get recurring visits, and is more beneficial in the long run, due to the consistent monetization of the website.

In Summary

Organic traffic is the best way to create more profit from your website, especially in the long run.  Buying traffic in small amounts from legitimate sources can be can be profitable, but needs to be monitored carefully.

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