Lesson #15 - Getting the snowball rolling
Let's say that you have looked through Lessons 1 through 14. You have chosen an idea and you have created a site. You have called in every favor you have to get some friends to link to your site. Now what?
Now it is time to find out if your site resonates or not. You need to know this BEFORE you start trying to get links on large sites like Digg, Slashdot, Fark, etc.
The reason why you need to check the resonance BEFORE seeking the links is simple. These sites deliver a massive amount of traffic (tens of thousands of people) over a day or two, and you may only get one shot. You want to know that your site resonates before you seek the links.
How do you test the resonance? I would recommend that you buy traffic during the testing phase. Create Google AdWords ads (or create similar ads on Yahoo, etc.) that you can run for a nickel or a dime per click. Bring 50 to 100 people into your site with these ads per day, and watch what these people do on your site.
You want to check several things:
- Do these people click into your site? In other words, do they arrive at your site and leave immediately (bad), or do they click around and read 5 or 6 pages (good).
- If advertising or sales revenue is important to your plan, do your visitors click on ads or buy things? If not, you need to figure out what is going wrong and correct the problem.
- Do you see any evidence of resonance? The way you test this is to look at several weeks of baseline traffic before you start the AdWords campaign. Then turn on your AdWords ad for a couple of days. Then pause the ad for a couple of days. Do you see any increase in your baseline traffic after running the ad? If not, then chances are that your site is not yet resonant.
The reason why AdWords ads are handy for this purpose is because you can turn the ads on and off at will. You can turn the ads on for just an hour or two if you want -- Google doesn't care. There's also a side benefit: If you can't create an ad that drives people to your site, it probably tells you something. Chances are that creating a successful AdWords ad is not as easy as you think, and you will learn something about your site through that process.
Once you have the resonance and revenue where you want it, the snowball is rolling. You know that when you bring new visitors into your site, they will tell their friends. Now you are ready to seek some big links. You are ready to make the most of the traffic when it arrives.
What if you don't have the money (or desire) to pay for traffic using AdWords? Then I would use the people who arrive randomly and see if the number is increasing or not on a weekly basis. Remember the concept of the osmotic pressure of the web? Remember how we created a a completely random page on the web to see what kind of traffic it would get? Sure enough, that page has been getting about 7 clicks a day over the course of 3 months. That page is not resonant at all, but it still gets traffic every day. You want to see the number of osmotic clicks per day increasing over time. If not, your site is not resonating and it is not yet time to seek links.