In any business, progress is a marker of success.
Have you made more sales this month than last month? Did more people visit your store? Do you have more repeat customers? These are all considered markers of success.
Sales start with customers, and customers find you via your website.
You may have recently revamped your website to be more responsive and better-looking. It’s also optimized for mobile use. You have an e-commerce store that’s easy to navigate. You update your blog and post on social media often.
For all intents and purposes, you’re doing everything right.
However, growth comes in fits and spurts. You see a rapid increase in site traffic some months, and in other months, it’s a slow trickle, really little more than a crawl.
Is that normal? How long is it going to take before you see a consistent increase in site traffic? What do you have to do to nudge traffic along?
Let’s find out.
Understanding Your Site Traffic: A Breakdown
How do you even know where your site traffic is coming from?
You should use analytics software.
There are countless companies that sell such software. Google has its own analytics site that is quite popular.
You can find some analytics software for free. It’s best to shell out some cash, though. Often, if you use a free trial, you’re limited in what you can do with the software.
Analytics allow you to break down your site traffic into useful statistics. You can see where in the world people are who visit your site. You can sometimes even learn their ages and genders. This information is handy for targeted marketing campaigns.
Best of all, you can see which links these people clicked to find your website. Did they find you via social media? Perhaps a guest post? Maybe you were even at the top of the Google search engine results page (SERP).
Depending on the source of your site traffic, you know which areas of your marketing approach to strengthen. If you get a lot of traffic via social media, you can improve your posts. If guest posts are netting you attention, write more of these.
Before you can decide whether your site traffic is stagnating or healthily increasing, you have to look at your daily page views. Are you getting a lot of these or just a few?
You’re certainly not alone, though. Backlinko goes on to mention that more than half of the 164 million blogs (and counting) that exist out there only get new visitors in the 200s. That adds up to a monthly total of 5,000 views.
Again, for a first-time business owner, this may seem like a fantastic achievement. That’s a lot of people looking at your site. If your website just went live and you pull those kinds of numbers for the first few months, great!
However, if you’re a moderately well-known company that’s been around for a year or more and you’re pulling these kinds of numbers, something’s gotta give.
If Your Traffic Is Moving Too Slowly…
There are a few simple changes you can make to your website today to increase traffic. No, they don’t involve you redoing your website from scratch. They also don’t involve you hiring pricy SEO professionals.
Here’s what they do involve.
Here’s the first tip: check your content. You may have heard of the saying that “content is king.” What does it mean?
Content reigns supreme. Without content, why would your customers keep coming back to your blog?
Just because you have to post content regularly doesn’t give you license to write jibber-jabber. You need solid, exceptionally-written, actionable content week after week. You should make it a point to post at least weekly, if not a few times a week.
Content should be evergreen so it has the longest shelf life possible, so to speak. To prevent yourself from running out of topics, start an editorial calendar. Sit down a few times a month with a few employees and brainstorm ideas. Pick the best of these for topics and go from there.
You’ve got your blogging basics down. You’re writing great content and publishing regularly. What else should you be doing?
Adding keywords to your posts.
We’ve discussed this before, but it’s worth repeating: the keywords you choose matter. These keywords clue in Google to potentially increase your site ranking. Keywords also help your customers find you.
That’s why these need to be both general and specific.
Say you’re a dentist in Chicago. If a customer just moved to the area and needed a new dentist, they’d go on Google and search for “dentist in Chicago.” If you include that exact keyword in your posts, the customer will find you.
Now let’s say you’re still a dentist in Chicago, but you also specialize in teeth whitening. In this case, you should include a few long-tail keywords. These, as the name suggests, are longer keywords that are often more specific. They may include up to four or even five words.
So, for the dentist example, your long-tail keyword would be “teeth-whitening dentist in Chicago.” This way, those customers who just want teeth whitening services would find you, too.
This may seem like a really common sense question, but are you promoting your content?
You may be so busy writing your posts and running your business that you completely forget to share your posts.
This is a big mistake and could really be putting a damper on your traffic. You can’t just rely on your readers to share your content. You should definitely encourage them to, though. If your site already doesn’t have buttons to share to social media, you need to add these.
If you don’t have a Facebook business account, a Twitter account, or a Google+ account, it’s time to sign up. You may also want to make an account on Instagram, YouTube, and even Tumblr if you often share videos and other visual content.
If Your Traffic Is Already Moving Quickly…
If you already have traffic, congrats. This is a hard milestone to achieve.
It’s important not to get too lax, though. You have to keep moving and progressing. Keep writing content better than the competition. Keep naturally adding keywords to your posts. Keep encouraging your followers to share. Share your content yourself.
Okay, so you’re doing all that and seeing a spike in traffic. How fast should your traffic increase?
It varies. Obviously, the more customers who visit your site, the better the likelihood they’ll buy your products, which equals more money for you.
Before, we mentioned how 200 daily visitors is an okay amount for a brand new small business. To really make money, you’d have to convert all 200 of those visitors into customers. That can be challenging, especially for first-time business owners.
Keep your expectations realistic. If you are a small business and you have 200 daily visitors now, aim for 500 within the next few months and then 1,000 visitors by year’s end. If you’re a bigger business and you get 1,000 site visitors every day, try to get at least 5,000 in the next few months.
Everyone wants millions of site visitors. To get there, you have to be willing to put in the time, work, and effort.
You also have to remember that the number of visitors you get isn’t everything.
Your company could be in the news one day. You could get a million visitors as the result of that free publicity. Yes, that’s right. One million.
You’ve got it made at this point, right?
If those million visitors check out your site, click a few pages, and then leave, guess what? You gain nothing from that. Your analytics will show a spike in traffic, but you’ll have nothing to show for it. No sales, no new customers, nada.
Think of your site as a fishing lure and the site visitor as a fish. In fishing, you use the lure to attract the fish and reel them in.
The same principle applies. Your website should be well-designed and your blog full of awesome content. That attracts the visitor to your site. It’s then up to you to use opt-ins to reel them in and make them a customer.
It’s okay to get excited about a spike in traffic from new visitors. However, that’s one piece of the pie. The rest of the pie is visits from repeat customers. When combined, you should see consistent traffic that may gradually increase over time.
More Tips for Improving Site Traffic
Whether you’re satisfied with your site traffic or still want more visitors, try following these five tips.
- Pumpkin hacking: No, don’t worry, this has nothing to do with literal pumpkins. Pumpkin hacking is a marketing tactic for growing traffic. It involves several steps:
- Planting “seeds,” aka writing superstar content.
- Caring for the seeds, or promoting your content through newsletters, ads, and social media.
- Pruning your pumpkins, or analyzing your content approach, seeing which posts are most popular, and using similar ideas in the future. Discard ideas that aren’t as popular.
- Maintaining the health of your pumpkins, or pushing your new content ideas to the max.
- Harvesting pumpkins, or watching your traffic grow.
- Start a newsletter: Email marketing is still a viable means of getting traffic. You just have to make sure your emails are full of useful content. This prevents the reader from deleting your email or sending it to the spam filter. To entice readers to visit your site, offer freebies, discounts, and exclusives in your newsletter. Use automated software to schedule newsletter delivery semi-regularly (biweekly, monthly).
- Host a webinar: Again, offer something exclusive in the form of a webinar. Promote the webinar as much as you can. If you’re writing any guest posts, be sure to plug the upcoming webinar. You can use this as a chance to direct people to your site to learn more about the webinar topic.
- Add videos: Before, we mentioned how you should have an account with YouTube. It’s time to put that to use. Videos can help you reach a whole new audience. These visitors may find you through YouTube and check out your site from there. Make sure you include a link to your site in the description of every video.
- Sharpen up your headlines: Clickbait headlines are in, but don’t write something sensationalistic just to push blog traffic. That’s a cheap tactic that wears thin very quickly. Save the clickbait-y headlines for rare occasions.
Focus on the reader benefit in your headlines. Why should they care? What do they gain? If you tell them in the headline (or hint at it), you will get their attention.
Numbers and stats make you look like the expert you are. If the stats in a headline are surprising (such as “How I Gained 10,000 Page Views in Two Weeks”), readers are going to click. They’re going to want to know how you gained 10,000 page views in two weeks.
Growing your site traffic is a marathon, not a sprint.
It all starts with your website. Make sure this is mobile-optimized, easy to navigate, and appealing. Update your blog often. Write killer content with natural keywords. Increase your social media presence. Share all your posts and encourage your readers to share.
Be patient. Barring an event, like a giveaway, contest, or webinar, traffic shouldn’t crazily spike overnight. It should build slowly over time.
Remember that traffic numbers mean nothing if you’re not converting these visitors. Repeat traffic is just as important as unique, first-time visitor traffic. It’s only when you combine the two that you can enjoy consistently high traffic month after month.
If you’re not getting the kind of traffic you want, check the headlines on your blog posts. Rewrite some of these. Start making videos. Send out email newsletters.
Overall, if you’re asking yourself how quickly you should see a spike in traffic, do know the answer varies for every company. As long as your traffic continues increasing over time and you’re converting the majority of your visitors into customers, your company is poised for success.