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7+ traffic sources for your blog (that aren’t Facebook)

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Er, probably not.

But speaking of the sky… (how’s that for a segue?)… I often look up and wonder about all those planets orbiting around distant stars. I think about how everything in nature is a series of repeating patterns, endless cycles, fractals, and spirals. Nature repeating itself over and over.

And if you’ve been around long enough in this Internet marketing stuff, then you’ll have no doubt noticed some interesting patterns of your own.

Remember when Google created the Adwords platform?

If you don’t remember, or if you weren’t involved with this thing of ours back then, let me explain.

Up until that point, if you wanted traffic to your website then you’d have to rely on search engines, keyword stuffing, forum signatures and begging other sites.

Targeted traffic wasn’t that much of a consideration because we didn’t have an easy way to get any. Oh if only we could click a few buttons and traffic would come rushing in! Google was listening and our prayers were answered.

When Adwords came along they gave us a way to beat the corrupt SEO system. We could instantly put our sites right in front of the people we wanted to reach.

And the best thing of all; it didn’t cost much.

The return on investment for a high-converting page was obscenely good.

So what went wrong?

Because the placement of the ad was determined through bidding, the more people who used the platform, the higher the cost of clicks increased. No biggie really, that’s to be expected – it’s just the market deciding what the value of a product should be, normal stuff. But because most businesses had a similar ad budget, the prices wouldn’t go crazy. So there was enough room for everybody.

But what happens when you’re no longer competing with businesses that are a similar size to yours?

Well, it wasn’t too long before the big guys got wind of things.

They came rolling along with their hundred-million dollar ad budgets. You see, no longer were they buying double-page spreads in national newspapers and glossy magazines, nope, instead they were splashing their budget all over Adwords, forcing prices up.

Regular sized businesses, and in particular bloggers and soloprenuers, just couldn’t afford to compete there any more. The price of clicks went from less than 10 cents right up to several dollars, and that pushed a lot of small businesses out.

Now, if I had to choose one word to sum up this online business thing, it’s ‘adaptation’.

Nothing stays the same online for long; we’ve all been there… if Google improves the search algorithm and your website drops to the bottom of the SERP’s.

Or if your autoresponder’s IP address gets blacklisted, and people stop receiving your emails. Or if your hosting provider says you’re using up too many resources and shuts you down.

The amount of things beyond our control is enormous, that’s why it’s important to put energy into the things you can control (like building an email list, yo).

The point is, your online business is always going to face challenges. If this stuff was super-duper-easy then everybody would be doing it.

So yep, those mega-corps can jump in and make things harder, or even make it impossible for us to use a platform, but that’s okay, we’ll adapt and recover.

But at around the same time that spending money on Adwords became a bad investment, the Facebook ads platform was starting to look like a fairly decent option.

So naturally a lot of small businesses set up shop there. And because of Facebook’s advanced data-mining capabilities that allowed us to target people in new and ridiculously accurate ways, we never looked back.

Until now, that is.

Right now Facebook is the place to advertise. It’s easy to use, its cost effective, the reporting is just outta-this-freakin’-world, and we can reach hundreds of thousands, if not even millions of people, very quickly.

But is history is about to repeat itself?

Some experts are beginning to think so, and I’ve also heard rumblings that the increasing price is starting to driving people away from the platform.

It might be just a few influencers getting jittery, or it could be an ultra-secret disinformation campaign designed to deter… oh wait, no it’s not, sorry. I do lurv a good conspiracy though.

But if things do go south then we’re gonna need a contingency plan, right? It’s a ‘hope for sunshine, plan for rain’, kinda situation.

So with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of alternative advertising platforms, you know, just in-case (…bookmark this post, maybe?).

Bing ads

LinkedIn

Youtube

Stumbleupon

Yahoo ads

Quantcast

Yelp

Trip Advisor 

Taboola

Outbrain

Disqus

Ad Roll

Ad Blade

I might have already mentioned it in the video, but I only have experience with a handful of these and plan to test the others out in the next few months. Who knows, it might lead to a follow-up blog post, unless I’m silenced by the perpetrators of an ultra-secret disinformation campaign…

Anyway, hopefully things will stay relatively stable with Facebook for a long time to come, but either way it’s just a smart move to diversify your traffic strategy so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

That’s all from me, for today. Take it easy.