Today, Ryan Healy posted some advice to his blog that most of us have ignored before:

If you're building your business solely on top of a fickle web-based business like Google, Facebook, or Twitter, I strongly advise you to BE CAREFUL.

All it takes is one tweak of an algorithm... one revision of the Terms of Service... and you could be out of business faster than you can say "Google Slap"

You've probably heard that before. You've probably thought "yeah, I should really be doing something other than [name of your sole traffic source]".

If you're like most people (and you probably this way at least) your very next thought was probably "...but it's working okay right now, and doing something else is too much trouble. Sure, bad things happen, but they probably won't happen to me."

And you'll probably read, momentarily consider, and promptly ignore what I'm about to say too.

But I'll say it anyway.

You don't have to diversify today. But you'd better start thinking more concretely about how you're going to diversify. And if you don't do it today, when are you going to get around to it?

The next time somebody reminds you? What's going to make that day different from today?

After your traffic basket gets a hole in it and all your eggs are lying cracked on the ground? Don't wait till that painful day, because it won't be a painful day. It'll be the first of many painful days.

So here's what I suggesting doing right now (it won't take very long, and doesn't require any real "work"):

  1. Grab a piece of paper or open up a new word processing document.
  2. Write down where you're getting your traffic right now. Organic search results? PPC? Affiliates? Mailing list subscribers? RSS feed subscribers? Your forum signature? Referrals by friends in the industry (links to your blog, products, ...)? etc.
  3. Write down as best you can figure how much of your traffic comes from each source.
  4. Underline the traffic sources you think are most at risk of drying up.
  5. List some other potential sources for traffic.
  6. Add a few notes for each potential traffic source, including things like:
    • what you'd need to do to get started with them (if you don't know, just write something like "luck" for now)
    • what costs would be involved (in terms of time, effort, money...)
    • how much traffic you think they could drive
  7. Post what you've written somewhere where you will see it.

That wasn't too hard, was it?

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
Lee, Thanks for the comment. I read a post over at Copyblogger today titled How to Beat "Invisible Content Syndrome" -- ie. how to keep going when there's little evidence that anyone is listening. I've been getting enough feedback both through ...
(join the conversation below)

Even if that's all you do today, congratulations! You've taken your first step towards diversifying your traffic sources!

Of course, you'll need to do some of the things you wrote about sooner or later. But won't that be a lot easier if you've got a list of current traffic sources staring you in the face, reminding you how short it is (assuming you're not one of the rare traffic superheroes who's already diversified) and how much risk you're subjecting yourself to by not diversifying?

Won't it be a lot easier if you have a list of potential traffic sources staring you in the face?

One final note: today's exercise was easy because it was one small, simple task with clearly defined steps. If you can come up with small, clearly defined steps to move you closer to any of the potential traffic sources you listed, write those down, post them where you'll see them, and tackle them a little at a time.

Share your favorite traffic sources and why they're so great in the comments so that the rest of us can add them to our "potential sources" lists.

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