“If you build it they will come.”
No one ever said that phrase, yet it permeates many aspects of our business lives, and is often a subconscious thought we all have when creating a new website to make some cash online.
The problem is, is that it is a lie. Not only is it a misquote from a Field of Dreams, but it just won’t happen.
No website out there is suddenly found by the masses. Whether the site owner intends it or not the message of the site has to get out there, has to be spread in order to catch people’s attention.
There are many ways for this to happen, such as advertising and even word of mouth, but however word spreads without traffic, your site is a lonely little ghost town, population 1 – you.
Free Traffic Guide by Stephen Hawkins (no, not him, a different one) aims to help you to improve the overall traffic to your site as well as make sure that the traffic is targeted.
Interestingly, the sales letter is pretty basic. It includes the usual highlighted text, but there are no over the top claims, the testimonials look vaguely real and the evidence of traffic generation is realistic.
Purchasing the Free Traffic Guide
Of course, though there is free in the product name, it is not free to get a hold of. The product is up for grabs for $9.95.
Surprisingly there are no upsells, not even after purchase. It was so refreshing I spent 20 minutes scouring the site making sure I hadn’t missed something!
The author is either really new to selling or has his own set of ethics or maybe just didn’t have an upsell ready! Who knows!
The product itself is an 89 page e-book with a rather angry looking warning about not sharing it in any form.
The membership site also includes four bonus e-books that did seem to be related to the main topic.
There was also a bonus resource e-book which contained a good number of resource links and the affiliate links were relatively few.
As well as those there was a 38 minute video which covered the content in the main e-book and built upon it in various areas.
Word to the wise Mr. Hawkins: don’t use pop up modal windows for videos, it’s really annoying to be 10 minutes or more in and accidentally click off, only to have to then start again/hunt for your spot. If you do buy this product, go full screen on the videos!
The core e-book is broken down into several sections and it is a heavy read as for the most part it is a wall of text. This is not something to be taken in in one sitting.
There are of course affiliate links dotted throughout the product, which is no doubt to make up for the lack of the upsells. They at least do tie into the topic at hand.
Blogging for Traffic
The section is like a general overview of blogging. It covers various aspects of the blogosphere including using WordPress, SEO. Networking and so on.
It doesn’t really go into much depth of each subject, but it does give a good basic grounding in various terms. No one ever explained to me what a web spider was when I was first starting out, so it’s nice to see little bits of information like this in there.
At the same time, the info provided will take some time to piece together as there are no specific directions here, just information.
The title of this section is misrepresentative, as this section actual disregards most of the common social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc and concentrates on more old school networks such as Google Groups.
Here you will learn what Squidoo is and get an overview of how to use it.
I suppose this is a valid technique though I have doubts it would work for a general purpose site, at least not without pointing directly to some sort or landing page, be it a sales letter or an email gatherer.
Social Network Connection
Covering the use of new social media (Facebook et al), the information laid out here is a high level overview. It’s valid but thin and nothing new. Basically: join, invite people, make friends, post content.
Bookmarking and Indexing
Bookmarking has been seemingly disregarded by a lot of marketers, but if you have the time then it’s still a valid way of increasing your backlink profile (if done naturally) and possibly gain some traffic. This chapter covers the main players in the social bookmarking scene.
Mainly covering RSS feeds and what they are. I personally like RSS but I’m really not sure how effective it is for getting traffic. In fact there was a huge omission (perhaps he covered it the video I’m not sure) in that he doesn’t mention that you need to limit the content to an excerpt so people actually click through to your site, as it is possible to just read the content in your RSS reader.
Also, charging for an RSS feed? Yeah, good luck with that.
The main part of this that I liked was the warning that while software can help you automate and speed up submissions to social bookmarking sites, article directories, etc, you shouldn’t abuse them.
Other than that, it was another pretty basic overview, with limited information of value.
The final section covers good old market research, or as I like to term it “neighbor spying”. It provides tactics and resources for you to find out more about other sites in your niche and how/why they are doing better than you.
It seemed to miss some services and software that could assist with this, but I suppose you can’t cover everything.
The Bottom Line
While not a scam, Free Traffic Guide is a weird product. In its 80 odd pages of solid, heavy reading text it covered a large number of ways with which to drive traffic to your site.
It just seemed to me to be too top level, telling me what I could possibly do but not giving any further direction that that.
The author stated at one point that a lot of marketers deem the systems in this book to be out dated or ineffectual, a view he does not agree with. And I concur, things like article writing, social networking etc are still viable, if sometimes incredibly slow techniques.
However I have to disagree that classified ads or worrying about your RSS feed are useful for the vast majority of sites. I wouldn’t expect Steve to use classified ads to send people to I’ve Tried That, but if you have a site that focuses on a single product such as Male Pattern Baldness Remedies, then yes they can be potentially quite good.
Overall, this product had potential to be really good, but I think the author should have dropped the number of options and focused on them in more detail.
And some images to break up the monotony of text would have been very welcome!