“How do you get traffic? Good question…”

Truck on Interstate 66How is traffic “gotten”? Well, you can get some major traffic to come to a location and stay there by putting up a roadblock in one lane, for one thing. That’s why this traffic’s sitting. But actually, this is not the kind of traffic I’m referring to. What I’m referring to is Internet traffic. The thought came to mind because I was talking to Drusilla Rain, a friend of mine, a talented writer in her own right, and the editor in chief of Phoenix Forum, a small print magazine that showcases writings, artwork, and more in a professional, enjoyable-to-read format. The conversation on Yahoo Messenger ended up falling into two broad categories. First of all, how do we get Phoenix Forum to break even financially, or even better, to get it to make a profit. The second concern was a little more fundamental than even breaking even… how do we get people to even notice the site? For the first question, my answer was clear, with two parts to it. First of all, I said that she should accept PayPal for the print subscriptions she is selling. Currently, the subscriptions may only be paid for by check or money order, making it a purchase that has to be thought about before committing. PayPal takes the subscription ordering and turns it into an impulse purchase with a credit card. With PayPal, it becomes “Oh, that’s cool… I think I’ll get one of those,” and then next thing you know, there’s another subscription ready to be fulfilled. Additionally, back issues can currently be ordered in print form for a small fee. I suggested putting all the issues online, including the latest issue, and then adding equipment from Token Systems in order to allow instant gratification of the desire to see an issue, for a small fee. Simply drop the specified number of tokens (purchased at Token Systems’s site, http://www.tokensystems.com/) by entering your token number, and you’re in, and can read the issue on screen, and print it on your own computer if you want. Now, while that problem is relatively easily solved, what about problem number two, which is getting Phoenix Forum more widely known on the Internet at large. Search Engines are now charging to allow good placement in their search engines – otherwise, there are long waits and no guarantees. LinkExchange is a thing of the past, it seems, and so that’s kind of a waste of time to do. “Real” banner ads cost more money than is feasible for Phoenix Forum, with a just-starting-out budget and already in the hole. So how do we promote the site, and the magazine, considering the limited budget? Seems to me that the best thing to do is to ask individual site owners for a conspicuous link, preferably with an image along with it, both within the “correct” market and outside of it slightly. And of course, also continue to improve the product, because as the product continually improves, and word spreads, people will come.

Date posted: December 26, 2001