Are You Traffic Independent?

What if tomorrow every drop of your traffic from Google dried up?

What if Google, Yahoo, Bing and every other search engine blacklisted you and your website. What would you do?

How would you drive traffic to your website?

Join me in a little thought experiment here.

What about YouTube?

YouTube is one of the Net’s largest and most popular websites. Every day, videos are uploaded covering every niche and interest.

Since it’s so popular, YouTube can be a fantastic source of traffic. In fact, a well-ranking video can drive thousands of visitors a day to your site. That’s pretty awesome!

But there’s a problem. YouTube is owned by Google. They’ve already blacklisted you. So much for that idea.

There’s always Facebook

Facebook is a hugely popular social network. That’s made it a thriving hub for businesses and brands.

Marketers can easily interact with potential clients and customers.

What’s not so awesome is Facebook’s algorithm. When you post as a business on Facebook, your post may or may not be seen by many real people.

What’s more, Facebook is making things even harder on businesses. Mark Zuckerberg says the site is going to focus on getting pages and businesses out of the newsfeed and into a new tab entirely.

In recent years, many users have noticed a marked decrease in organic interactions between their pages and users – even users who have “liked” a given page.

Facebook could also, like Google, blacklist and ban you with or without warning.

Facebook isn’t our solution.

Ok. Pinterest?

Pinterest is fantastic. I love finding ideas for my niches there. It’s like a visual idea engine.

Even though it seemed to be exclusively for fashion and recipes in its early days, Pinterest has grown to included nearly every niche and interest.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite sites for browsing 3D art and getting new ideas for my 3D models.

What you might not know is that Pinterest is a wonderful source of traffic for your blog. In fact, a lot of my traffic for comes from Pinterest.

If you can pin something that others will like, your pin can take on a life of its own and go viral. Users can repin and promote each other’s content.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Pinterest can terminate your account just as easily as Facebook. In fact, it’s happened to one of my colleagues several times.

Even though she violated no rules, her account was suddenly suspended. When asked asked why the account was suspended, Pinterest would provide no answers.

Maybe this isn’t the perfect traffic source we’re looking for. Hm.

Hey! LinkedIn!

I love LinkedIn. I’ve reconnected with some of my highschool and college friends there. It’s a great place to connect with potential employees and employers.

This site is a hub for business-minded individuals. Depending on your niche, LinkedIn might be a good option.

But you can easily be banned from LinkedIn at the drop of a hat if they decide they don’t like you.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

What’s the pattern?

Even if you do everything by the book, you could find yourself banned and blacklisted.

Any time you use a third-party service, you are at the mercy of whoever owns and controls the service.  That controlling party can boot you off the service at a whim.

Hey! They can’t do that!

Is it wrong of Facebook, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, et al to ban users? Actually no.

Legally, these companies have every right to manage their services as they see fit. That means that if they want you gone, you’re gone.

Just as you have the right to kick out an unwanted house guest, they have the right to remove you from their respective lawns.

They should always provide a reason for your suspension and a solid appeals process. If they don’t, that’s just a jerk move. But it’s their house. They can do what they want.

So what are we to do?

If our accounts on these sites aren’t safe, should we rely on them for traffic? Maybe not.

Each of these services is excellent and can be a source of traffic. But they should be supplemented with a traffic source that is owned and controlled by you.

A traffic source you control

Hopefully by now you can appreciate that you need a traffic source that doesn’t rely on a third party service.

What is that source? An email list.

An email list of subscribers can be a more powerful traffic source than any of the others I mentioned. And it’s a traffic source that cannot ban you.

What about your autoresponder? Can’t they ban you?

You can’t build an autresponder. This is the service that handles user subscriptions, unsubscriptions, and delivery of your emails to your subscribers.

But wait. I just said this is a service. Can’t GetResponse or Aweber – or whoever I choose to use – ban me from their service, taking my list with it?

Yes. They sure can. But they can’t take your subscribers away.

These services also allow you to back up your email contacts to a format of your choosing. You can then, at will, move those contacts to another service if you get banned – or if you just want to.

Take some time now and start building your email list. Your email list is a valuable asset and a source of traffic that you don’t want to pass up.

Play nice, now

Account suspension happen to the best of us. But the best way to keep your accounts in good standing is pretty simple: read the rules and follow them.

Make sure you study the terms of service for each service, and don’t play games.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

Are you likely to get banned by one or more of these services? Maybe not. But would it not be wise to make sure your business is protected just in case?

Maybe Facebook loves you. Could be Pinterest would never suspend you. Awesome.

But if you don’t build your list now, you will wish you had if you ever do get banned.

2 thoughts on “Are You Traffic Independent?”

  1. Great post!
    When I first started blogging, I was told to get at least one social media site for traffic.
    Facebook was complicated and Pinterest had a huge learning curve (which I got over because I love getting traffic from that site).

    I signed up for the pin scheduling tool Boardbooster, which was bringing a ton of traffic to my site, but then it was shut down because it was not an API approved tool. Bam! Massive drop in traffic almost immediately.

    Now I use Tailwind, which does not give me the traffic that Boardbooster gave me (sad), and I have been suspended twice for no reason at all. So fickle, that Pinterest.

    I have been working more diligently on my email list ever since. You hear it from the big bloggers all the time…grow.your.list.

    It really is the best advice.

    • It’s maddening, isn’t it? That’s the risk we take when we rely on a service we don’t own and control. It’s like sticking your hand through an open window. You never know when that window may slam shut. Ouch. BUT, we we own and control that window, we decide when it opens or closes.

      Building an email list is – I believe – one of the best things any marketer can do. I don’t care what someone’s niche is. He needs a list of contacts that he can email on demand.


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