How to lose 80k visitors a month and survive

TrainIt’s a fickle industry really, one minute you can ride the crest of a wave and then next you hit a wall, well after my domain faux pas I thought I would also share the loss of 80,000 visitors per month as well, I think I should call this sober up September :)

While it is much more fun to talk about making large amounts, success stories, flipping websites and bumper pay days it would be remiss of me not to disclose setbacks as well, they are just as important and if you deal with them properly they can certainly help you shape your income and business in a better way for the long term.

I mentioned back in April how Everyclick.com a charity based search engine were sending me 1000 visitors per day and in June that was reaching 4000 a day at times, well that train has since been decommissioned! It was mentioned at the time that Everyclick seemed to be buying most of their traffic in through PPC, they certainly generated a lot of it and plenty of it came my way for free.

Everyclick Alexa

You can see just by having a quick look at their Alexa graph the rise in June/July and just as startling you can see someone switching off the lights and closing the door in August/September.

Now it is easy to get philosophical and say easy come easy go, but like organic rankings when free traffic comes your way in a sustained manner it is very easy to get used to it, looking back at May-June I was getting around 80,000 visitors per month from Everyclick.

 Everyclick June

Nice, now compare that to the present day and you can see it hit, it doesn’t matter how many visitors you get per day or how much money you make you are always going to feel something like this:

Everyclick closed down

Ouch, for August and September it flatlined, not much you can do about it. Just like if you do a good job on SEO and get good organic rankings with Google then that free traffic can soon be taken for granted but it is good to consider what would happen if it were not there, as is the case here when the gravy train runs out you really need to make sure you survive.

For me this means diversification, sure I’ll take my half a million + unique visitors from Google every month and I’m very appreciative of it (long may it continue) but it is always dangerous to rely on any of it, Everyclick accounted for around 5% -10% of my traffic at one point and now that has gone. This year and next year I have plans in place that I am implementing as we speak so that I could survive a Google free future if it were to happen as a worst case scenario and still make a full time income online.

I also heard a whisper that someone wants takeover Everyclick, was this always in the deal to buy traffic and put yourself on a pedestal and then look for someone to buy the brand? Interesting, a search engine that gives 50% of it’s revenue to charity would certainly be fashionable so who knows, maybe the train will came back to town but I won’t be sitting at the station waiting for it, onwards and upwards!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Relying on traffic from SE’s is dangerous as you mentioned. I know when something isnt right on my site and messes up google rankings for a week it kind of sucks to loose a chunk of traffic and you do get worried it wont return. The other problem is how you make money from what types of traffic. Adsense does well for those who come from google, but regular readers wont click. That would be a good reason to make private advertising deals so that as long as you have some traffic you always have an income.

  2. Its all part and parcel of running an online business, one just can’t rely on one source of traffic. Even though over half of my traffic comes from Google, I am sure I have enough backup plans in place to not go out of business if it all dries up and this is what more and more webmasters need to ensure.

    • I can’t say that I really have a backup plan… 90% of my traffic comes from SEs. I really just hope that they continue to perform the way they have, otherwise I’ll be forced to learn affiliate marketing!

  3. I tend to try and get traffic from links rather than SE becuase it changes all the time.

    Idea of giving a % to charity is good and ppl will love it.

    But what proof do they give that they do so apart from their word?

  4. Thanks Scott When I first got into this buis I heard people sayin dont put all your eggs in one basket so to speak re “income or Traffic” & it pretty much washed over me as both my traffic & earnings where nonexistent. Today my income is coming from three different types of streams & I know I can add three more that way if one takes a dive I’m down just 15% all my traffic is natural except for one site thats a totaly different animal & all PPC So I’m allways at the mercy of an unfavorable algo update from G yesterday whilst browsing DP I came across a site with 12,000 uniques a month on a topic I could bend towards some of my sites
    & I realised that even if I only got 5% of those to visit my other sites that would be a nice steady stream & a lot easier than increasing my position in the serps to get 600 uniques.

  5. Google scares the heebies out of me at times. They are my best source of traffic, provide me with the the best converting ads and on top of that manage all my email.

    One of the strategies I’m using to become less independent is by pushing my feeds, that way if search engine traffic does drop I will still have a steady supply of readers.

    • I guess my problem with that is that my readers aren’t really ‘readers’ per se. They won’t come back to my site to read what I now have written. They’re there for a particular solution to a programming or SEO problem that I’ve written about

  6. Your posting makes me think of the chicken and egg problem. Nice to see many of you are reaching a point where you can ‘make your own rain’ and I must admit a small amount of envy since I am still not able to see how to reach it – I have yet to earn my first dollar online you see. But I am a persistent fellow and will put more time and effort into it hopping to see a payoff at some unknown point in the future. I am starting a new site this week http://www.hightekbiz.com, nothing to see there yet, but should be soon. This is inspired largely due to what you are saying above – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

  7. My traffic is no where near those numbers. 38% is from referring sites and 95% of that is from only three sites. I am working hard on building a wider base instead of digging deep in the few.

  8. I agree about the feeds and having many subscribers. A newsletter would also be good solution.

    I wonder how many visitors would a top blog like problogger.com have without publishing a post every day where thousands of followers ;) come and check it?

  9. I actually love traffic from SE’s. As long as you build up your rank with links and other tactics, the traffic should be fine. Not only is it free, but also highly targeted.

  10. Hi Scott

    Thank you for your comments, our focus at Everyclick is shifting to increasing the community facilities within the site. While we have been establishing our brand we have trialled a number of different marketing strategies, all of which have had varying success.

    As the founder of Everyclick I am 100% committee to turning search into a significant fundraising facility, believe me there are challenges around every corner. We are improving all of the time – watch this space.

  11. Well, we all have our moments. As long as we learn from them, its not all wasted time.

  12. Everyclick while helping noble causes is at the end of the day still a ppc affiliate site and while they are undoubtably better than many out there, they are trying to grow in a climate where traffic buying and reselling is being squeezed particularly by Adwords because of user experience and conversions.

    As a ppc affiliate myself with YSM the last 7 yrs, this year is certainly one where you have to diversify traffic sources more than ever, if Everyclick were buying most of their traffic from Adwords and got quality score slapped, then they would lose a big chunk of their traffic and I would imagine that was what happened. Also the traffic arbitrage model is one whereby the source click costs need to be as low as possible and cpcs are on the rise. Now if Everyclick had started in 2002 they really would have been able to rock as I am sure they know too well.

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