Getting more traffic is almost always a good web goal. It’s usually a good measure of your website’s overall health — like taking your temperature. It’s also usually a good sign that your strategy is working for you. It allows you to create SMART, measurable goals. Increased traffic also usually brings you more customers, more patients, more leads, more sales, and so on. It tends to correlate with your key performance indicators. But what if you have small traffic at your website right now? What strategies work with your current reality?
You may have small traffic because you have a new website. Or perhaps you have a very small niche and the number of people in the world who really want your goods and services is actually very small. Small, targeted traffic may be exactly what you want.
If so, you don’t have to strive for more traffic. Nonetheless, you should work to give your customers a good experience.
- They should be able to find your website without getting frustrated.
- They should be able to find their way around your website easily.
- Your site should load quickly and provide a consistent visual experience — not confusion.
- Your content should be informative, comprehensible, and enjoyable to read.
- You should answer the questions your visitors bring to your website.
These things give your visitors a good experience. Your patients should be able to book an appointment, find out whether their insurance will be accepted, pay their bills, and check on your hours easily. Shoppers should be able to find your products and shipping information easily, and to fill their carts and check out without glitches. Whatever your website is supposed to do, it should be easy for your visitors to accomplish that.
The things on the list above are signs of good SEO, too. If you want to increase traffic, add fresh, original content to your website regularly and make sure you provide a good experience, and you should see natural traffic growth over time.
This line shows monthly traffic at a site we recently launched. The numbers are small, but the trajectory is just what we want to see. If you’re seeing this at your website, you can feel confident even if the numbers are small now.
We install Google Analytics at every website we build or work with. Analytics provide lots of useful information you can use to develop a strategy for your website. But it can definitely be more difficult to work with small numbers.
Say your website gets about 1,000 visits a month, as many small business websites do. You check your analytics, comparing the last 30 days with the previous 30 days, and you see that one referral source had 25% more action this month than it did the month before. It makes sense to check out that referring web page and see if you can replicate that increase. You could try to build more links like that one, or identify the demographics or behavioral traits of those visitors so you can reach out to them.
But what if your website gets 100 visits a month? You might see a similar 25% increase in referral traffic — but it’s only an increase of one or two additional visitors. Is that actionable data?
The truth is, it’s harder to get actionable insights from small data. How can you squeeze out some useful information?
- Look at longer periods of time. If you get 1,000 visits a day, you can find patterns in a day’s worth of data. If you get 100 visits a month, ten months will give you that same 1,000 visitors. Look for patterns over a longer time to get more data to work with.
- Look closer. Small data can provide some insights, too. It’s not a deep scientific analysis, but you may be able to learn useful things from Google Analytics’ User Explorer report. This report is more like chatting with an individual visitor. You may not get useful patterns, but you can get to know individual users well enough to extrapolate and hypothesize from their experiences.
- Compare your data with third-party data. Third-party data, or reports of aggregated data, can be useful for understanding your own information. The Capitol Tweets report, for example, found that Republicans got more engagement than Democrats — and they also tweeted 30% more. Do you see more engagement when you tweet more, even if you have just a handful of followers? If aggregate data matches with the patterns you see in your data, that will tend to confirm what you see. If it doesn’t match, then you need to be open to the possibility that you don’t have enough data to see the true pattern.
Just getting lots of traffic may not be what you’re after. As Rosie says, more traffic can just be more people not buying anything.
For example, we’ve often see good amounts of referral traffic from Facebook, but very low levels of conversion. Facebook is famous for that, in fact. Almost always, higher conversion rates come from organic and direct traffic.
That can also mean that people who discover your brand on Facebook come back later via Google or just typing in your URL. They convert when they’re ready instead of when they’re busy checking out what their friends are having for lunch.
Build a conversion point into your website, and then set up goals in your analytics so you can see which traffic converts. Get to know your customer’s path to purchase. Then set goals for those web visitors.
Say you’re offering a high-end service and you want just one more lead each month. If you discover that it takes 62 visitors for one online conversion and 10 online conversions for one qualified lead, then you know that you must have 620 website visits on average each month in order to reach your goal.
Getting 6200 visits from people who don’t convert would not move you toward your goal.
Work to increase targeted traffic, even if that doesn’t increase your total traffic, and you’ll see good results.