Sure, everybody wants to have a lot more traffic, but the truth of the matter is that you could send many sites all of the traffic that their server can handle, and they still wouldn't make any money! The reason for this is quite simple: although one of the most important decisions that you as a Webmaster have to make is what to do WITH your traffic (that is to say, where and how to send it away from your site for maximum profitability), it is a subject that few folks give much thought to.
The first thing to consider when deciding what to do with your traffic is where you can send it in order to make the most profitable use of it. This destination may be a sponsor, or in the case of less-productive traffic, it may be to a traffic exchanging mechanism, for example: washing TGP traffic through a targeted Top List. I'll cover traffic washing in a later installment, so for now, let's take a look at sending surfers to your sponsors.
Matching Traffic to Sponsors
Most aspiring Webmasters are content to slap up a few banners and maybe add a few text links, hoping to make a sale. Perhaps a little consideration has been applied to targeting the sponsor to the traffic your site is generating, but it usually ends there. This is a shame, as it costs sales.
If you do not match your traffic to your sponsor, then start now! If you run a teen site, send your exit traffic to a teen sponsor. If you run a mature site, send your exit traffic to a mature sponsor. This has been the traditional and oft-repeated method for filtering one's traffic, but I will throw a slight kink into the works: add a few bold text links (perhaps on an exit console) advertising a different niche, in hopes of catching curious, or misdirected traffic.
For example, you may have a surfer fall into your "amateur" site that was really looking for "mature" content. Help him find it, and you might make a few bucks! Think your site appeals to "straight" surfers only? You might just be surprised at how many gay/bi/curious surfers you have - surfers who would likely click a link targeting their specific desires.
The type of site you operate (free, AVS, or pay), also affects how you should handle your traffic. We'll examine a few of the scenarios for managing your traffic flow based upon the type of site you operate below:
The most important thing to remember about free sites is to get the surfer OFF of your site as soon as possible. Your goal is to send him to your sponsor BEFORE he sees any of your content, costing you precious bandwidth and web server resources. All too often you see free sites with hundreds of large, high-resolution images. This is a mistake, and I pity the owner if he ever drives a substantial amount of traffic to his site, as he may receive a very nasty surprise when his next hosting bill comes in.
Another thing to remember is that since you run a "free" site, the surfer paid nothing to get in, and so you owe him NOTHING! Toss enter and exit consoles, blind and deceptive links, and any other sneaky traffic tool that you can come up with at him in an effort to send him to your sponsor. Of course, most sponsors will limit your use of these techniques (depending on the particular type of program) and traffic sources (such as some link lists) will not link to your site either, so be sure to strike a balance through experimentation.
You want to be much nicer to surfers when you run an AVS site, as YOU ARE the first sponsor that you are trying to make a sale for. You want the surfer to feel comfortable with your site, and not fear that you will jerk him around after he pays to join. Avoid the use of entrance consoles and blind links, but feel free to pop an exit console or back button re-direct off of your "Join Page" to send traffic that didn't sign up over to your sponsor. After you sell the surfer an AVS membership, you want to up-sell him on your sponsor.
After you sell the surfer an AVS membership, you want to up-sell him on your sponsor. One good way to do this is to add a full-page ad between the "member's page" (the one the surfer hits after entering his AVS ID code) and the "content" or gallery pages. Another great way to profit from the traffic that already has an ID (and encourage sales to those that don't) is to offer "Live Video Sex" feeds, such as those from Pornication, that pay you for "private chat" up-sells.
Exit traffic management on pay sites (especially larger, higher traffic operations) can often be complicated at best. While many pay sites today belong to a "family" of sites owned by a main holding company, passing exit traffic from one property to the next, the final destination for any "unproductive" traffic is often a console promoting the pay site's sponsors.
Established pay sites (and other high-traffic operations) will often make "sweetheart" deals with other pay sites, selling a certain amount of signups, or a certain volume of traffic at rates and terms unavailable to other Webmasters. This is an example of the power of networking, as these deals are made over the phone between "friends."
Pay Sites should also use up-sell programs (1 on 1 Video chat, or live phone sex, or toy stores for example), and may find that adding one last console after their sponsor's console that advertises a number of good Top Lists is a great way to recycle traffic.
As you can see, different sites have different needs as far as how they handle their traffic, and while this was a simple overview of time-tested techniques, it may be the key to success for quite a few folks. The only way that you will know for sure what works for you is to test, test, and test again, monitoring your results, and refining your approach as necessary. Good Luck!