• What is more important: increase traffic vs. convert traffic

    What should you do?

    It sounds all too familiar: limited budget, limited resources and a website that does not generate enough revenue, right? So if this is you, where should you start? If your online sales are low then conventional wisdom tells you to bring more people to your site. It is a numbers game after all, isn’t it? The more people you bring, the higher are your chances of converting more of these visitors into actually clients. Of course companies that sell conversion optimization services would disagree with this completely. But just like many other realities online, the truth is somewhere in between.

    Why bringing more traffic to your site works?

    There is no to dispute that fact. Assume that your current site is only converting 5% of its traffic. Assuming that you are able to keep the same conversion rate as more customers visit your site; doubling your current site traffic will roughly double your site revenue. Of course there are a couple of things you will need to keep in mind when trying to acquire new traffic. You need to make sure that the traffic you are receiving is targeted traffic. If you just get any traffic to your site, then you can practically slash your conversion rate in half.

    Why converting current traffic to your site is even better?

    You already getting the traffic. And you can easily assume that 80% of your site visitors are interested in your product or services. They are already in your store. It is a question of converting them from mere browsers to actual customers.

    In the traditional brick & mortar stores, the focus most of the time is on converting current traffic. Why? Because it is generally cheaper to convert traffic, as opposed to acquiring and targeting new traffic. Increasing conversion rate usually involves a little more focus on sales force training and changes around the store. Offline stores usually have a conversion rate of close to 30%. If a sales manager has a store with a conversion rate around 10% then he will focus on increasing that conversion rate if he wants to keep his job. It will be laughable to suggest that the store should try to bring more foot traffic because his numbers are low with the current traffic he has. Online, the story is very different. Most sites focus on increasing traffic because:

    It is easier to increase traffic as opposed to increase website conversion rate: offline you train your staff, you reorganize the store, and you conduct customers surveys.  But online it is not that easy to increase conversion rate. It is a lot easier to increase your PPC campaign spending (for example); thus increasing the traffic to your site.

    To say that increasing your conversion rate does not cost anything is foolish. Increasing conversion rate requires time, money and commitment. And while increasing conversion rate does require a financial commitment, you will continue to reap the rewards from that commitment. Keep in mind that average optimization projects start at around $2,000 and run into the tens of thousands.

    So, where should you start: increase traffic or increase site conversion?

    Of course it is a question of where you get the most for your money. But sometimes it does make sense to start with driving more traffic to your site. Site conversion rate is a statistical number that is calculated based on the number of visitors you are getting in a certain period of time. I only start evaluating site conversion rate if I am getting more than 1,000 hits for a related group of keywords with low conversion rate.

    3M Results

    Let me explain. If you are getting 1,000 “untargeted” visitors to your site per month, that amount of traffic might not be enough to evaluate how well your site does for conversion. However, if you know that you are getting 1000 “targeted” visitors to your site and your conversion rate is low, then you should consider methods to increase your site conversion rate. So, it is a question of the quality of traffic your site is receiving. Quality and targeted traffic with low conversion rate is a problem. Of course the best way to get quality traffic is either via a PPC campaign or a result of ranking well within search engine results for certain keywords.

    stop CRO frustrations

    What do you think?

Khalid Saleh

Khalid Saleh is CEO and co-founder of Invesp. He is the co-author of Amazon.com bestselling book: "Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Visitors into Customers." Khalid is an in-demand speaker who has presented at such industry events as SMX, SES, PubCon, Emetrics, ACCM and DMA, among others.

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Khalid Saleh

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2 thoughts on “What is more important: increase traffic vs. convert traffic”

  1. myikram says:

    emm, actually, i dun get this, can u give definition for convert traffic? i’m a little bit lost here..huhu…

  2. Oka says:

    Thank you for sharing. I think I should focus for increasing traffic first in order to popular my web, then, we can increase conversion rate.

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