Traffic or income, which should you focus on? Answering that question will leave you with neither. Since the battle between traffic and income is a never-ending fight, it's important to find harmony between the two as opposed to putting all of your effort into one. Both are necessary to your online success and you can have it all.
Before outlining the various means for achieving balance, let's explore how each relates to the whole, starting with Traffic.
Assuming that traffic, attraction marketing, and inbound marketing are all pretty much the same, there is nothing more lucrative online than having targeted visitors find your website. It's the reason why even Internet traffic machines such as major search engines and social networks can be worth billions without necessarily being profitable.
Traffic, therefore, has value before it even generates income, but for solopreneurs and small businesses not interested in acquiring capital from angel investors nor starting an ad network through their site, the bottom line (i.e. an exchange of products and/or services for money) is the only thing that counts. The question then is: How much of my time should be dedicated to product and/or service creation?
For companies that already have a functioning business in place, this question may need not be answered (especially if hired staff are in place to process orders, etc). Still, when most look to the Internet for financial growth, they seem to be stumped as to how to make money online. It's simple; sell what you have, and do so by getting traffic.
There's a misconception that generating income online is a secretive operation involving complex technological algorithms available only to those who have cracked the code (whatever code that might be) - when, in fact, the most profitable websites are those simply selling quality goods and services backed by excellent customer support. Pulling in vast amounts of traffic, then, does not need to become an obsession even for those who already have the income side of the equation down to a T.
On the opposite end we have income. Those who have mastered attraction marketing (i.e. getting traffic) more often than not are not able to enjoy the fruits of their labor for lack of getting paid (or getting paid what they're worth). They might produce fantastic content that helps people, daily... but it doesn't convert into anything other than a smile and a "Thank you!". That said, since value was provided and if karma is a real thing, it's never more evident than when you have an online store of some sort in place for visitors to reciprocate the gesture.
We understand the confusion that may arise from us emphasizing the word income, as why would anyone need traffic in the first place if they already have income? To clarify, we're referring to income as the process and implementation of a direct exchange of product or service for monetary compensation (i.e. payment)... not necessarily income already received.
Whether you have a healthy stream of income being generated or not, you may be able to increase it substantially by following only a few inbound marketing principles that your competitors aren't. To illustrate our point, we'd like to use the analogy of a popular computer programming concept, that being "You learn, you earn, repeat". Traffic amplifies income, however, there's a balancing act often going on behind the scenes with time as the common denominator. On the one side, you've got quality content, free and open source; on the other, you've got real-world tasks that need to be completed (eg: building and running a company). Side 1 develops trust with users; side 2 is a financial transaction. While both take a lot of hard work and effort, the two don't necessarily go hand in hand - at least not at first.
Finding Balance Between Traffic and Income
It goes without saying that having both traffic and income translates to a serious, sustainable online presence and positive cashflow. Traffic holds income up by bringing in new leads regularly; Conversely, income allows publishers to extend their reach and grow their audience by making more resources available to them. Therefore, each need to be present.
There's no way around the truth. You need traffic, and you need to work on income-related activities. The idea that there aren't enough hours in a day (even for the very busy solopreneur) is simply not accurate. Consistency coupled with passion, attention to detail, and effective automation systems is the key to success in the digital world.
It's important to also focus on your strengths as opposed to your weaknesses. The mistake that most make on the Net is trying to do everything at once. The reality is that since traffic and income are usually non-existent at start-up, it's rather difficult to gather enough momentum early on to quickly run through or bypass the obstacles and challenges often presented on the path to desired results (i.e. constructively dealing with negative criticism, acquiring enough knowledge, purchasing a fast computer, making important connections in your industry, etc). To remedy this, we suggest concentrating on either traffic or income in the earlier stages. Fortunately, there is another upside to neglecting one side.
An example of this would be creating an amazing product. Something highly usable with a huge potential for demand in your market will spark serious word of mouth. People evangelize products all of the time online without requesting a compensation of any sort; we've all done it and it's driven by a stellar experience associated with the item we purchased reinforced by excellent customer service. This is probably the best type of publicity you can get. This is income.
Traffic's influence on income is a little more straight-forward so it doesn't really require an explanation. But to confirm what might be your hunch, and reminding you that traffic has value embedded into it, increased visitors to your website brings new opportunities for financial growh. To illustrate our point, content marketers such as article publishers might receive book authoring propositions. Podcast and video publishers might receive speaking engagement offers, and the list goes on and on. This is traffic.
Anyone online today (which is virtually everyone, no pun intended) is seeking to do business with honest companies. And if websites are simply extensions of these companies, their website administrators, then, are expected to provide a paralleled level of professionalism. Marketing really doesn't need to be complicated, but it does need to run in congruence with whatever value you intend on providing. Treat others as you would like to be treated, and the Internet will deliver the results you're after.