Focusing on traffic is a metric that is probably hurting your business.
Online business really isn’t that different to an offline business.
The same rules need to be applied.
I am not talking about affiliate marketing – I am talking about service providers, such as myself, who use their sites to promote themselves.
Recently some really important questions have been brought to my attention and it’s a really juicy subject. It’s the question of numbers …
“I need to increase my traffic numbers and then my business will take off”
“Once I get to 2,000 subscribers that’s when I’ll really start making money”
“How do I increase my comment numbers so I can make my site a success”
All these statements are focusing on traffic. That delicious thing we are told to believe is the foundation of a successful website.
The numbers sirens
In Greek mythology, sirens would seduce sailors into rocks with their beautiful songs.
Now we have numbers. Yes, the numbers game is really important. The more exposure you get the higher your chance of converting some of that traffic into cold hard cash.
But if your goal is to make an income, does that mean you can’t make money with low traffic numbers?
Before we dive into this you need to be clear on what your goal is.
Why do you have your site?
Why are you doing what you are doing? Keep asking why, never stop.
Increasing traffic is not a goal. It’s a tactic.
If you want to know how to get clear about your goals and uncover your WHY you need to read this.
My case study
You may not know that I have 3 sites. To illustrate my take on traffic numbers I am going to be very transparent and share some numbers with you.
I’m not going to tell you right away which site is which but I want you to read through the important stats below and think which is the most profitable.
Average daily traffic: 120 visits (69% new visitors)
Crazy hot spikes in traffic: 3,500 visits/day
Posts: 2 a week including one guest post
Twitter: 500+ followers, 5 tweets a day (most automated)
Facebook: Fan page, 250+ likes, 3-5 updates a week
Age: 18 months old
Time spent per week: 1-3 hrs
Average daily traffic: 3 visits (74% new visitors)
Crazy hot spikes in traffic: 15 visits
No social media presence
Age: 16 months old
Time spent per week: 0 hrs per week
So, which one of these is the most profitable?
You might be surprised when I tell you it’s #2. Yes, the site that gets a measly 3 hits a day and some days it’s ZERO.
The site that has zero social media activity to it’s name.
So what’s the deal? I strategically market my holiday apartments through 3rd party channels, use my existing personal networks, and in all honestly it sells itself most days.
Let’s look at #1
#1 makes NO money at all.
This site is the truest form of weblogging – it’s a journal. It has some things for sale but I have never ever made a cent out of it.
Well, if you are reading this the chances are you aren’t making money out of your site, or at least not enough.
Spikes in traffic are distracting
It’s true that we love to get recognition as people who blog for business. It feels so good.
We puff up our chests proudly and strut around like a peacock with magnificent tail feathers. Do it, yell “yay me!” but it’s distracting.
Spikes in traffic do the same thing – I know that when I get a huge surge in traffic triggered by being StumbledUpon or by receiving recognition from a big player in my niche I get so excited.
Watching that huge phallus rise spectacularly on the screen of my analytics is exhilarating. Then it crashes just as fast as it went up, the emotions crash too, leaving you cold, questioning, and hungry for that feeling again.
Then you spend hours, days, consumed by thinking of ways how to recreate that delicious spike when in reality it’s out of your control, then you feel like a real d*ck.
Traffic is not everything
Not all traffic is created equal. Remember that. People are wired to seek out delights – delights aren’t always amusing.
We also like to see a bitch-fight or a car cash – yes, people are sick like that. Quite often the biggest posts tend to be those which are either intensely personal, insanely funny, or attacking someone or something.
Before you get all defensive about this – think about the highest traffic posts you have.
What are they about? I know mine are all personal ones. Ones that don’t really lend much to my business, yes, they give another dimension to who I am but they don’t always convert into clients or even subscribers.
Focus on growth you can control
Focusing on the normal days will help you grow your online business.
As I’ve said, the spikes are distracting. The average days, and making that grow is what will help.
Look at what you’ve done that has had a direct impact on your business and repeat it, just do it louder.
Maybe it’s commenting on certain sites, maybe it’s guest posting, maybe it’s using social media, whatever it is, do it again and again!
Focus on quality not quantity
Ok, this is a bit of the chicken and the egg again. BUT hear me out.
I will be honest and admit that I prefer to get lower traffic on this blog because my subscription rate is considerably higher than any other site I’ve ever had. In addition to this, the subscribers actually reach out and email me directly – the conversations are rich, personal, and mutually beneficial.
Driving traffic to your email capture form is crucial, but you have to have a goal. Then speak to those people directly. Having conversations in the comments is not enough.
Never forget your existing connections
Remember, your site is a tool, one of many. The reason traffic isn’t everything is because, before the crazy world of the internet we did business the old school way. Pen, paper, fax, personal connections etc.
APPLY THE SAME RULES!
Yes, what a crazy idea.
Take some time to reflect on your existing network, people you’ve worked with in the past. Let them know what you are doing. Introduce yourself to people on and offline. HUSTLE!
Tell everyone you meet what you do – tell your friends and family (an often neglected network) and make sure you are promoting yourself where ever you see fit.
Do not confine yourself to your site and social media networks.