Learn how to set a realistic goal for your website traffic and what factors influence the number of visitors your site attracts.
Whether your business depends on selling products online or using a website to attract new customers, you’ve probably wondered: how many visitors should my website get?
Your website probably has a tool like Google analytics installed that counts and breaks down your website traffic. These metrics are helpful, but it can be hard to figure out what the numbers mean to your business and what you can do about them.
Let’s look at how you can come up with a website traffic goal and what tactics can help you achieve it.
How many visitors should a website get?
Every business has a unique purpose and different needs for website traffic. Some websites attract millions of visitors every month, but those are outliers.
Imagine the difference between a small café serving local customers and a vast e-commerce website that can ship anywhere in the country. Does the café need the same number of visitors to be successful in its marketing goals? No. It can only serve a certain number of customers per day within a specific geographical boundary.
So how many website visitors does your business need? The answer has more to do with your marketing goals and how many website visitors you can convert into customers than an arbitrary number.
Types of website traffic
First, look at where your traffic is coming from and how visitors found your site. Why do the types of website traffic matter? If you know how people find your website and how many people click through from these different sources, you can decide how much you want to invest in marketing in those areas.
Here are a few sources of website traffic you’ll want to note:
Direct traffic to your website includes anyone who visits your site by typing in your website URL or navigates there through a direct link in an email or via their browser bookmarks.
Search traffic is people who find your site by searching for relevant topics via a search engine, and either click on your site URL from the search listings (organic or non-paid traffic) or on an ad you’ve paid to show up during their searching for specific terms (paid traffic).
Referral traffic comes from referring sites or other websites that link to your site. This type of linking can include links in articles and other content that send people to your website.
Social traffic comes your way from social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Knowing where your traffic comes from is the first step in understanding it and seeing how different actions can influence the number of people who find and visit your site.
Key factors that affect website traffic
Once you’ve used analytics to learn where your website traffic is coming from, you can examine what factors are affecting it.
Here are some of the most significant factors that could be influencing your website traffic:
- Industry standards (or typical traffic for comparable websites in your market);
- Quality of your website content;
- Quantity of your website content;
- Accessibility that ensures all visitors who want to use your website can;
- User experience (UX), such as site loading speed, page loading speed and ease of use;
- On-page search engine optimization of your content;
- Off-page SEO activities to boost visibility;
- Search volume for the topics you’re targeting;
- How competitive your keywords are; and
- Mobile-friendly responsive design.
Optimizing each area can help you increase the number of people who discover and visit your website. And the opposite holds, as well. If any of these areas are being ignored or are underfunded, you’ll likely see your numbers dip or stagnate.
When you understand how these factors work together, you can begin to build an effective strategy to grow your site traffic that fits your budget.
Pro tip: If you can connect boosts in website traffic to business growth and increases in sales, you can begin to make smart increases in your marketing budget.
How to set a realistic goal for website traffic
So how do you come up with a number? It’s probably clear by now that the answer depends on many factors, but that doesn’t stop you from setting a goal.
Why not start with what you know?
1. Check out the competition
Granted, sometimes these numbers are hard to find, but you can often get a good idea from online sources. In some cases, you may only find metrics for huge websites in your market, but those can be useful as a reality check.
2. Gather relevant information
To understand if another company’s numbers are relevant to yours, try to gather information about their business. For example, how long has the company been in business? Can you find any information on their annual revenue or marketing budget? How big is the company? Who handles their marketing and content?
This step will help ground your goal setting. For example, if another company pulls in 10 times your company’s annual revenue, their budget to increase website traffic will likely be much higher.
3. Distil the information into a helpful comparison
Use the information you find to help create reasonable goals for your business. Ideally, your comparisons will give you a realistic idea of what’s doable.
If another company has been in business for 10 years and yours is new, you likely won’t draw the same traffic. However, you could undoubtedly work backwards and imagine how you could grow by a certain percentage each year to get you there.
You may decide your goal is to increase your website traffic by 10 per cent a month. Decide what factors you’ll try to influence to see that happen. At the end of the month, you can measure your progress and decide if your efforts are working or if you need to devote more time to the factors that influence website traffic listed above.
Remember that you can’t take a website from minimal traffic to thousands of visitors overnight. What you can do, however, is start where you are, set a realistic goal and identify the different paths you can take to get where you want to go.
3 critical elements to jumpstarting website traffic
Now that you have a goal in mind, you can tackle three essential aspects of building organic (unpaid) website traffic:
1. SEO (search engine optimization)
SEO helps attract more people to your site by targeting the right audiences, using the right keywords and ensuring your website delivers a quality experience to every visitor. In addition, you can use your Google Analytics data to improve your SEO strategy.
2. Content marketing
Create a content marketing strategy to build a collection of content that will pull relevant visitors to your site with targeted keywords.
3. Backlinking tactics
Attracting people to your site with optimized content is one part of the strategy. Getting people to find your site through more popular sites is another. Guest posting on influential sites in your market is a way of doing this.
Don’t expect overnight magic. Be patient. Once you have these tactics solidly in place, you should see your organic traffic grow over time.
Figuring out how to set a realistic and attainable goal for traffic is a critical part of managing a website. In addition, you can learn how to interpret what the numbers mean and how different traffic sources help you grow your business. If you need assistance getting on track, download our Search Engine Marketing Handbook to learn more.