Free Traffic Or Paid Traffic?

free or paid trafficThere are a ton of products on how to generate free traffic to a website. Much more than paid traffic. So it’s safe to say that the market for free traffic is much greater than paid traffic.

When I first started out in Internet marketing, I focused a lot of my time on writing articles, posting to forums and wrote a lot of blogs.

Time really flies. I started 6 years ago. Nowadays, I can afford to buy traffic for my websites. But it also made me realize what a huge mistake I made on generating free traffic when I first started marketing.

Let me drill this into your head.

The words “Free Traffic ” are misleading. And they’re definitely not free. In fact, they’re damn expensive!

Yes, I’ll admit it. Until I began to buy traffic, I never knew what a buffoon I was doing stuff like writing articles, blogging, commenting on forums and so on. The problem was, I was not making much money and these tasks didn’t help fast enough.

Free Traffic – Disadvantages

The free traffic generation methods took a lot of my time. I was writing articles, testing resource boxes and keywords, and spent a lot of time distributing the articles to different directories.

The article did help in SEO later on, and it did generate traffic. But I paid for it using my time.

Let’s say that I wrote 2 good articles and spent 15 minutes submitting it to 2 article directories. The whole process took me 1 hour. If I was really lucky, the articles could generate 15 subscribers for me in the next 2 weeks and I’d be happy.

However, if I spent $30 to buy a solo-ad for 100 clicks, I could have added on average 40 subscribers onto my list.

With paid traffic, you can generate traffic much quicker to your website and most importantly, you will be able to see the conversion rate of your salesletter, email sequences, squeeze page etc… quickly.

The same applies to commenting on forums and blogs. How many subscribers do you think you’ll get if you commented for an hour non-stop?

To get 40 subscribers like from a solo-ad, you will need 100 people clicking on your link in your comment and have a squeeze page that converts at 40%.

This is very difficult to achieve by commenting on other people’s sites. Almost impossible to achieve even in a day if you’re doing the work by yourself.

My point is, free traffic works…however, the disadvantages are:

  • it takes a lot of your time
  • it is slow to generate significant results
  • it frustrates you when you don’t see any results
  • your business will progress much slower

Paid traffic on the other hand is much better. You do need to be smart though. Don’t buy advertisement from anyone. Always look for comments from their previous customers to see how well the advertisement did for them.

unbelievable offerDon’t fall for an unbelievable offer without doing any research. I once bought a solo-ad for $100 for 500 clicks. The clicks I got were from traffic exchange programs and needless to say, almost zero of them signed up as a subscriber.

If I could go back in time, I would definitely pay for traffic. With any profit I make, I’ll will throw it back into buying traffic.

Having said that, I would still write articles, comment on forums and blogs, create Squidoo lens, build Fan Page etc… but those are for long term results. They do help in SEO and traffic but take time.

If you do these tasks, don’t have any expectation that they will generate a lot of traffic for you. Remember that they are for the long run.

To build a list quickly and to start making sales, you need to buy traffic.

Once you’re profiting, things will be a lot easier. Affiliates will contact you to promote your products and because you have a huge list, you’ll start attracting super affiliates who will want to work with you.

One of the free traffic generation methods I would recommend is ad-swaps which you should definitely try out once you have a good sized list (i.e. 500 or more subscribers).

So to answer the question “Free Traffic or Paid Traffic“, the answer is both. Free traffic to build your foundation and let it generate traffic in the long run. Use paid traffic to instantly test your sales funnel, build a list and make sales.




  1. Hey everyone… I’m only new to the Bloging world (2 months) and was wondering if anyone belived it would be worth investing in a “Yahoo” or similar directory?

    I get lets of good traffic when one of my articles get’s picked up by other popular blogs, however I’m getting very little organic growth through google, bing and yahoo..

    • Hey Andrew,

      Lots of bloggers recommend it. However, for $300 I would spend it on building backlinks, solo-ads or review posts. Somehow I think it will help more traffic-wise.

      It’s a personal preference.

  2. That was pretty much about free traffic. These are all but marketing strategies which are quite effective. Now, if we talk about paid traffic, then it is definitely much easier than free traffic. Paid traffic is much easier in a sense that it does not require a lot of effort from your part. The methods which are commonly used in paid traffic are ezine advertising, banner ads, pay per click, etc. These are some of the popular methods which are used in paid traffic.

  3. Hi Alan,
    Great Article!!! I have spent most of my time generating
    free traffic and just now starting to get into paid.

    I think for most it is good to start out learning how to generate
    free traffic, then teach others and you are seen as an authority
    figure in your niche’. Ultimate goal is to get your site making money for
    an advertising budget, because paid traffic does work much faster.
    But as you mentioned, you have to know what you are doing. Back
    in the days when I was selling jewelry, I spent $3500 in 7 hrs with out
    a sale

    You mentioned ad swaps. I haven’t heard of this strategy and I am interested.
    I have well over 500 on my list, can you give me some suggestions?

    Thank you for your contribution,

    • Hi Jeff,

      Ouch! Spending $3,500 without a sale must have hurt. Was that with AdWords?

      If you have a list of 500, then you can start doing adswaps. Just type in your niche and the words adswap to see if there is anyone doing adswaps.

      You can also check out the websites, and

      I wouldn’t do adswaps too regularly though. It will pee off some subscribers.

      Good luck!

  4. Hi Alan,

    Love the post! The twist you’ve added to this is definitely cool.

    Yeah, free traffic is slower and takes alot of time.

    However I am of the belief that anyone coming in new should go for free traffic first. The reason being that paid traffic takes skills in terms of analysizing and attention to details which alot of newbies know nothing about. So they might end up stabbing themselves at the back.

    I may be wrong but I am of the belief that using free traffic first assisted you in getting a feel of the internet terrain and you picked up some skills along the way that helped you in getting those massive results with paid traffic.

    But that being said, I prefer automation as much as possible and would rather pay than go through the stress, at least that’s the purpose behind all the civilization and technological advancements the world has seen.

    Again, I love the post, Alan. Thanks!

    ~Tosin Adeoti

    • Hi Tosin,

      Glad that you liked the article.

      My reason for using paid traffic is to test the conversion rate of your sales funnel as fast as possible. Generating free traffic is still needed for the long term.

      And of course, once you know that you’ve got a successful business model, then buying traffic is like printing money 🙂

  5. Hey Alan,

    Great post here! Love it! You definitely pointed out some good things. Love your insights. I do agree that free traffic does definitely take time and will benefit us after a while of consistently applying what is needed. This is the type of traffic with long term benefits. As for paid, it’s good to start out with this to get quicker results. It’s important we know what we’re doing tho so we won’t waste money.

    Thanks for sharing this! Keep it up! 🙂

    • Hi Pj,

      Thanks for dropping by and for your nice comments.

  6. Hi Alan,

    You make a really good point here. I think you should be doing both simultaneously. The free stuff is usually the same stuff you put together to grow your reputation/personal branding, show your leadership qualities and build a relationship with your followers, so it is important to do this. But, I agree, it can be frustrating when sales do not occur straight away and this is where paid strategies come into play.


    • Hi Rachael,

      Yes, definitely do the free traffic as well. It certainly helps in the long run. And you’re right as well about using paid strategies when sales aren’t happening.

  7. Hi Alan,

    I sure can’t argue with your success. I think that many bloggers just starting can’t afford to pay for traffic, nor would they know what they were looking to buy. I’d have to say, without doing a lot of research, someone could spend a lot of money and not get results. It seems like if someone had a handle on SEO, they would be better prepared to spend their money on paid traffic.


    • Hi Lou,

      I agree that bloggers starting out shouldn’t buy traffic. But if you’re a product owner, then buying traffic would allow you to save a lot of time and “fail fast” so that you can “succeed fast”.


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