Traffic isn’t everything!

Website Traffic is a popular benchmark. A simple Google search on “Website Traffic” returned me 1,010,000,000 results just now. Yes, A Billion.

But, traffic isn’t everything.

Traffic isn't everything!As per Alexa, Facebook tops globally in terms of traffic. Google & YouTube follow. Then there’s Yahoo, Wikipedia, Twitter, and Amazon in the top 10. However, traffic means different things to every one of these. What really matters is the engagement and participation, and eventually, the dollars or business impact this traffic results into.

Most people think of this equation linearly, as Traffic –> Dollars. It couldn’t get any more wrong. Wikipedia appeals for donation to keep itself alive, despite being one of the most hit websites in the world. Twitter is still toying with models to generate money. Both generate a whole lot of traffic everyday.

We ran a campaign a while back to get our offerings noticed in the tech world, and we paid by the number of leads generated – and also hoping that there would be enough traffic generated that would be good for us as well. While the model wasn’t incorrect, our “vehicle content” ended up generating the “wrong” type of traffic. That didn’t translate into revenue, directly or indirectly.

Then, I witnessed another case (happened twice in fact in two different circumstances), where 70-80% traffic kept coming from the markets & geographies that were not in direct focus for the organization. It happens over time and it is pretty difficult to reverse if it is not noticed in time. In one case, it was a scenario where the traffic kept coming from the supply side, and not from the demand side of business. Imagine prospective candidates hitting the recruitment pages, reading about the company while there are miniscule hits on Products and Services.

I was speaking to a friend of mine recently, and he lamented over the cash flow for his freelance consulting business. His blog is very popular, his Klout ratings are amazing, and the traffic comes from all the right geographies and audience. But, no cash! I asked him if his website is even supposed to be making money for him, the way the website was built. And, obviously, even though it seems simple to think of it, that was not the case. It was just a website with traffic, and nothing else.

Here are few things that I believe are important for any business, small or big:

  • Define the Revenue Model clearly. How exactly are you going to make money? Sounds easy, but this involves dumping some other attractive models in favor of the one that you choose. The Revenue Model actually defines what type of traffic you need, how much of it, and how do you channel that into the revenue funnel.
  • Get the Right Audience. Unless you’re in a business of “boasting the web traffic numbers” to further boost your market, it boils down to having the right audience coming in. This is also because some (if not all) of the traffic boosting activities cost money – Banner Ads, Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, FB Ads. Get the audience profile right!
  • Have a clear Objective / Call-to-Action. What happens when a person hits the website? The Landing Page needs to have a clear Actionable for your prospects to perform.  It’s amazing how many websites have a revenue model but do not have any way for the visitors to perform the revenue-linked actions. Sometimes, it could be a simple button screaming – “Hire Me”! How difficult is that?
  • Gather Intelligence. If your visitors just read the stuff and go back, that’s fine at times when you are nurturing the leads through content marketing, but it should get you the intelligence on why they left without performing the desired action. This should enable you to plan your message and content better for the right audience to keep them in the next time.

These are just a simple starter points, but very important. There are further nitty-gritty items such as – getting subscribers, managing funnel and lead nurturing, getting people engaged through the right content, and so on. But, it’s typically a sin to not do the basic things right.

Don’t run after traffic blindly. Traffic isn’t everything! What is important is getting the “right” type of traffic, and what you do with it. Even then, it’s not as simple as it sounds. It is definitely worth a day of thinking while you may be happily busy running errands. But, think more than just traffic.

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