The name of the online game is to bring people to you and then (maybe) persuade them to buy whatever it is you’re selling. It’s quite a simple formula, but often times business owners don’t know the difference between traffic vs conversion problems. A quick snippet: check out your conversion metrics (bounce rate and exit rate, session duration, traffic sources, conversion rates, pages per visit and events), measure them and analyze them. If it’s not a conversion problem, it’s a traffic issue. This blog will simplify everything you need to know to be able to distinguish between traffic and conversion problems.
What Is a Website Traffic Problem?
When running an online business, you want users to visit your domain and check out whatever it is you’re offering. If that is not happening, then you’re having a traffic issue. Imagine selling the best lemonade in the world on a road where no one is driving by; what do you do? You make as many signs as possible and post them all over town and direct the people to come to you. You advertise. If you know you have a rock-solid offer, then have no fear; you just need to get more eyeballs on the offer.
What Is a Website Conversion Problem?
Let’s say you get people to come to your lemonade stand, but people aren’t buying it, even though it’s the best lemonade in the world.
The question becomes, “Why aren’t they buying it?”
There are multiple reasons a person might not be purchasing your lemonade, and it’s time to get to the root of it.
Some of the reasons to consider:
- Perhaps it’s because you aren’t providing the potential customer with an engaging enough experience, carrying them through the journey as to why they need to buy it.
- Maybe your value proposition is too low compared to what you’re charging for your lemonade.
- Or maybe it’s just not the flavour they are after right now.
In other words, in the online world, it could be your conversion mechanism; the offer, the webinar, or the sales process, that is lacking efficacy.
So what do you do?
You become your own conversion analyst and detective. You can start looking at these conversion metrics: bounce rate and exit rate, session duration, traffic sources, conversion rates, pages per visit and events.
Bounce Rate and Exit Rate
The bounce rate tells you the rate at which new visitors check out your site and bounce away without doing anything. For example, if you were to check out a website but exit without a single engagement, that’s considered a bounce.
Ideally, you want to minimize this rate as it typically indicates a lack of conversion. The formula for calculating the bounce rate is:
Bounce rate = total single-page website visits / total website visits
The exit rate differentiates from the bounce rate by a single step. For example, if a visitor lands on the home page but decides to navigate to another page on the site before exiting, this is an exit and not a bounce.
All bounces are exits, but not all exits are bounces.
Imagine it’s your first date with someone, and 3 hours later, the person you’re on that date is surprised and says, “Omg, it’s 3 hours later?!?” This smooth and enjoyable experience is the type of relationship you want your visitors to have with your website.
Sure, 3 hours might be excessive, but ultimately the longer they’re on your site, the better. The duration they’re on there indicates the quality of content you are providing.
Comparing the duration of time spent on the higher-performing pages to the other pages might give you clues as to which pages need some adjustments.
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Having a ton of traffic doesn’t necessarily give you conversions. The phrase quality over quantity fits perfectly in this situation. Focusing on how visitors find your site can point you in the right direction.
There are four traffic sources that you should be aware of:
- Search Visitors: When people utilize a search engine to find your website
- Paid Visitors: Those who have clicked on an ad you’re running fall into this category
- Referral Visitors: Visitors who have found their way to websites via other sources like different webpages
- Social Visitors: Similar to referral visitors, but they got pulled in via social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Analyzing who is coming and from where gives you the leverage to know what you need to adjust. For example, search visitors don’t convert on your website, but social visitors do. You now have a clue as to what to do next, like creating a budget for an extra giveaway on social.
One way to eliminate website traffic problems is to increase quality traffic, but how? Although it might take some time, adding yourself to an online business directory could be very promising.
Analyzing the difference in behaviour between first-time visitors’ interaction with your website and how returning visitors interact with your website will provide valuable metrics. Yes, total conversions are important, but zooming in on the details can arm you with stronger ammo to optimize your business.
Pages Per Visit & Events
Have you ever been to a store and seen a shirt that you immediately locked eyes on but were in a rush? And because you were in a hurry, you told yourself that you’d check it out another time, and that’s where your shopping journey ended?
Imagine a salesperson was there to catch your attention and persuade you to try it on. So you did, and it looked terrific, et voila, it’s now yours.
Understanding what your visitors are doing on your pages can give you the advantage of being that salesperson that gives you the little nudge you need. If you have visitors that spend several minutes on multiple pages and interact with your site in other ways, you’ve got a clue as to where to plop that “salesperson.”
By consistently evaluating these metrics, you’ll be able to make the adjustments necessary and tune into where people are hitting this conversion-killing speed bump.
Once that part of your funnel has been realigned, rinse and repeat until you see an increase in your numbers.
The initial phase of building a funnel can be a pain, but it becomes a wonderful thing once it’s working with you and not against you.
Where To Begin: Benchmark Metrics
What does benchmarking mean? It means that before you make any adjustments, you note down all previous conversions and the periods in which they took place.
The fundamental and extremely basic form of this is to note down the following:
- # of people who visited my website in the last 30 days: 100
- # of people who became customers in the previous 30 days: 20
Then, divide 20 by 100, and you get a 20% conversion rate.
Repeat this for months one to six.
For each month, you’ll want these data points and where the traffic originated from. Did the traffic come from Google, social platforms, or paid media ads?
For each of these categories, you’ll want to try and decipher which resource was driving “QUALITY” traffic or, rather, the traffic that was converting into sales.
Note: Depending on your industry, the rate you uncover can be considered good and bad rates. So be sure to do some industry research to determine what rate others in your business niche are converting sales at.
How to Know It’s A Conversion Problem?
A quick way to test: Send more QUALITY traffic, aka people who are searching for your products/services, to your website. You can do this by using paid ads on Google or Facebook and targeting people or businesses you know use your product/service. If your offer is already dialled in, your conversion rate should remain pretty consistent. If you have a 20% conversion rate and the average conversion rate of website visitors is 10%, then BOOM! You have a GREAT offer in place. If the average conversion rate in your industry is 30% or more, then we can theorize that you have a conversion problem.
How Do We Know If It’s A Traffic Problem?
Testing, testing and more testing.
A quick way to test: Try putting out an offer similar to competitors you know are doing well but make the offer you put in front of people a little better than theirs. If the conversion rate goes up, but you haven’t played with the traffic sources, you can determine it was a conversion problem.
Suppose the conversion rate remains low; our attention shifts to targeting the right people on the right traffic sources. Countless times we’ve seen businesses position themselves in an industry they aren’t actually in. For example, the addictions rehab center is not a doctor’s office. Dermatologists are not Salons.
Wrapping It Up
If you don’t have a ton of traffic but are still seeing conversions, then you will want to boost traffic to see if conversions remain steady.
If you have a ton of traffic but are seeing little to no conversations, then it’s best to analyze the conversion metrics (bounce rate and exit rate, session duration, traffic sources, conversion rates, pages per visit and events)
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