About 4.57 billion people were active internet users in July 2020. That’s 59% of the world’s population. (1) Between them, they make almost 5.5 billion Google searches each day. That’s 63,000 searches every single second. (2) In other words, there’s an awful lot of web traffic navigating the web’s highways each day.
Today, we’re going to uncover exactly what web traffic is, why it’s so important to the bottom line of your business, and reveal the tricks you can employ to persuade some of the traffic to stop by your little corner of the internet.
- What is web traffic?
- Why does web traffic matter?
- How to increase web traffic?
- Technical improvements
- Optimising content
- Good web design
- Strong UX
- Guest posting
- Content promotion
- Need help boosting your website traffic?
In the same way road traffic refers to how many cars are using a particular road, web traffic refers to how many web users are visiting a particular website. Using free services such as Google Analytics, this data can be analysed to see (among other things) total visitors, new users, where each visit began, where it ended, and what pages (or parts of pages) were most popular.
Broadly speaking, web traffic can be split into three categories:
- Paid: visitors who find your site after clicking on a paid-for piece of advertising such as a banner ad or pay per click advert
- Organic: visitors who find your site after using a search engine to specifically look for the services or products you provide
- Bots: this non-human web traffic (software applications running automated tasks) made up a quarter of total traffic in 2019 (3)
In the same way that you get good and bad bacteria, there are good and bad bots. Good bots are programmed to improve the web by, for example, checking web links are working and by indexing web pages to improve search results. Bad bots, however, can get up to malicious tricks such as ‘scraping’ data and overwhelming a site so it’s ‘shut down’ with a denial of service (DoS) attack.
Web traffic is important to your site for the following reasons:
- There’s more opportunity to convert visitors and boost sales
- It can help to your increase your brand awareness online
- You can earn extra revenue through sponsored ads and posts
Your web conversion rate is the percentage of your visitors who do what you want them to do on your site (e.g. to complete a contact form, sign up to a newsletter, or buy something). Without web traffic, there’s no one to convert so the two work hand in hand to affect your revenue stream. So the goal is simple: increase traffic. The only question now is ‘how’?
The ‘behind the scenes’ technical set up of your website can affect factors such as page loading speed, indexing and crawling, which make a difference to the user experience and your page ranking – both of which can drive traffic to your site. Making adjustments to your technical SEO – such as fixing broken links, adding language meta tags, and custom H1 and introductions to web pages – can also drastically improve your traffic. HubSpot’s director of acquisition, Matthew Howells-Barby, reported that technical SEO changes resulted in them “growing our organic traffic by more than 50% in just one month.” (4)
Here are a few other technical performance tips that can help increase traffic to websites:
- Fast loading pages: Amazon found a difference of just 100ms (a time measurement humans can’t perceive) could reduce sales by 1% (5)
- Simple navigation: Google finds it easier to index the pages on your site if the content is easy to find so keep the amount of required clicks to a minimum
- Internal links: one way to help Google find your content is to include internal links which can improve page ranking and bring in more traffic
To optimise your content is to make it more attractive to your users. One simple solution for this is to give them what they want. Research who your typical users are, then ensure your content taps into their needs and contains the keywords they search for. A popular way of making your content more attractive to users is to include list-style blog posts, which studies suggest are the most-referred (shared and discussed) content type. (6)
When it comes to the design of your website, minimalism is key. Keeping web pages, navigational menus and the search bar simple allows visitors to easily find what they’re after by drawing attention to what you want them to see. With more than 60% of your web traffic likely to come from a mobile device (7) if your site isn’t mobile-friendly you could lose out on a lot of visitors. Particularly as Google punish non-responsive websites with a lower ranking. (8) So ensure your site’s design layout is pleasing on the eye and easy to navigate on handheld devices. In fact, web design is such an important factor when it comes to increasing ROI (return on investment), we mined our experience as a WordPress design agency to write a whole article about it, which you can read here.
We’ve discussed how your site looks, now let’s focus on the functionality. Creating a positive user journey with a site that’s easy to navigate makes it more likely visitors will stick around. Not only will this help your search engine ranking, but it can also bring about the following benefits:
- More web traffic coming to your site
- Visitors staying on your site for longer
- A higher conversion rate
One trick for achieving a strong UX journey, with the user at the heart of the design, is to think like a user. Ask yourself what keywords, questions and content they would search for to find the solution to their needs. By including content that answers the most-likely searches on your website you’re more likely to appear higher in search engine results and boost website traffic.
As the name suggests, guest posts are where you write a blog, article, or white paper to appear on another website. Doing so helps position your brand as an authority in your sector and, by including what are known as backlinks to your own website, can generate traffic to your site. Where you include the link in the article can make a real difference with one SEO expert, Brian Dean, reporting that adding a link in a ‘helpful resources’ section resulted in 78% more traffic than his author bio link. (9)
You could have the most wonderful content in the world but if no-one’s visiting your site to see it, it won’t impact your business revenue. So let’s take a look at the most popular ways of promoting content so it drives more traffic to your site.
- Paid: there are plenty of options when it comes to paid promotion including pay-per-click advertising and targeted ads on search engines and adverts and sponsored posts on social media. Social spend is expected to rise by 62% over the next five years, according to the 2020 CMO Survey. (10)
- Organic: social media is your best friend for organically sharing your content. The key is to use the social channels your target audience use the most, then create strong, quotable content with images and videos, and make it easy for visitors share by adding social share buttons to your site.
- Competitions: giveaways on your website (and social media channels) can boost visitors and encourage brand loyalty. Whether you promote the contest via social media, newsletter, or to your email database, be sure to include links to the web pages you want them to visit.
- Influencers: With their ready-made audience of followers, influencers can be a cost-effective method of generating word of mouth and boosting web traffic. That’s because a massive 63% of consumers trust what influencers say about brands more than they trust the brand’s own adverts. (11)