Well, I'm back with another gimmick-dispelling post/rant. This time, I'm here to tackle the “traffic-getting” plugin bullshit that you see being peddled by stupid and/or unethical internet marketers.
It's pointless, at this juncture, to specify examples. Just go google “traffic-getting plugin,” and you'll see exactly what I mean. After all, there are over 7 1/2 million results!
Now, everybody wants free traffic. Who doesn't? I mean, I want money to pour into my bank account, too, and I certainly wouldn't turn it down. Free stuff is awesome. But as Milton Friedman, the famous Nobel-winning economist, said many years ago, “There ain't no free lunch.”
So here's the basic premise behind the free lunch theory of internet marketing:
- You have to buy a plugin
- Install & configure the plugin
- Sit on your fat ass and wait for the traffic to rain down on your site like a Florida thundershower
- (Bonus: Since you're getting all this awesome traffic, you're undoubtedly gonna make bucketfulls of money)
Nobody ever talks about the fact that your site needs content. And guess who has to write that? You? What? You aren't a good writer? Oh, yeah, you could pay some chick on Fiverr, who barely speaks English, much less writes it, to supply your content. Or, better yet, you can just go strip the words off somebody else's page. I mean, it's the internet where everything (except that plugin you just paid for) is free, right?
(By the way, some would argue that the plugin should be free, too, since it's open source, and we should never succumb to paying for somebody's effort. But I digress.)
Now, don't get me wrong: The plugin may be awesome. I mean, really really really awesome. So awesome, in fact, that the plugin's author told his mom about it and she's nominated him for the “International Son of the Year Who Makes Awesome Plugins” award.
Can a plugin actually create traffic out of thin air? Well, hell no. But that's what those crafty sales pages say.
Can a plugin make some configuration changes to your WordPress site such that your site's “onpage SEO” is just a tad bit better than it was before? And can tweaking onpage SEO make a difference in your rankings? Of course.
But there is no such thing as free traffic. There is no plugin on this planet that can create traffic out of thin air. That's all complete and utter bullshit of the stinkiest, squishiest kind.
Referring back to the Milton Friedman quote above about free lunches and their impossibility: There's this concept in economics called “opportunity cost.” That means that every choice you make has an implicit cost. You may think you're getting free traffic, but you'd be mistaken. You may think all that content you wrote that surged up the search engines and shot your rankings to the top cost nothing.
But there was a cost. In this case, that cost was time. You could have spent that same amount of time creating a product, sales page, and offer that you could sell to your email list that would have made your far more money than that content EVER will.
So forget about free traffic, “traffic-getting plugins,” and all of that other horse shit.
Do this: Create stuff people want at a fair price, make it easy for them to share it or sell it on your behalf (i.e., affiliate marketing), and treat them right before, during, and after the sale.
Internet marketing – any marketing – is just that simple. Gimmicks may work in the short run. But they fizzle out and die. Solid business practices will always prevail.