An internet business, if you’re not careful, will rise and fall based on one variable alone: traffic.
If you follow the Prosperly Way, then a lot of your traffic is likely based on organic rankings, which means you’re depending quite a bit on external forces (read: Google) to continue doing what they’re doing so you can continue doing what you’re doing.
Depending heavily on things ultimately outside your control can be stressful — or worse — for your internet business.
The long-term value of an internet site is not its rankings (though long-tail rankings that are massive cannot be dismissed as you’ve diversified your keyword-sourced traffic significantly) or even its traffic. The long-term value comes from its ability to reengage potential customers again and again and again. Preferably without a lot of work on your part.
The asset on which you truly need to focus is your list.
RSS Readership is important, but having a direct route to their inbox is still much more effective (why do blogs with tens of thousands of readers still have an optional newsletter? Exactly).
You’ve got to be getting those email addresses and be engaging your visitors outside their normal surfing activities. Give them exactly what they want with your communications and you’ll see their loyalty and trust toward you skyrocket. Your list becomes your most prized possession. Your list is a representation of all of the traffic you’ve seen since the launch of your site.
So where does your focus lie? On the sale? On getting the email address?
Both. Monitor email opt-ins. Split-test those just as much as you split-test sales conversions. Incentivize your readers to opt-in. Make it drop-dead simple.
Eight years down the road, when you have a list of 500,000 people, your possibilities for monetization are endless (and stratospheric). You could spend all day simply finding ways to help that list and you’d have a very profitable business.