Stop Focusing On Traffic: Convert The Visitors You Have

It may seem strange for a blog that often advises how you can get more traffic to tell you to stop focusing on it, but that’s exactly what this post will do. Am I crazy you ask? Well maybe, but not for this post. The goal is not to bring as many people as you can to your sites The goal is to have as many people as you can buy something from your site or at least get in touch so you can convince them to buy something from you. There are better ways to do that than the get more traffic to your site.

Everyday I come across posts on forums by people begging or pleading for others to tell them how to increase their web traffic. The pleas usually come from a site owner who’s not making money from their site and assumes the problem is due to a lack of traffic. Often the sites in question are getting some traffic and enough to be able to make the money the site owner wants. When you go to the site though it becomes clear that the problem isn’t from a lack of traffic, but rather a poorly developed site. Often these sites are lacking in both design and content and it’s wonder someone expects to make money from it.

If your site lacks quality and you’re unable to convert the visitors you are currently getting then spending time getting more people to your site doesn’t make a lot of sense. If none of the first thousand visitors bought anything why would you think the situation will be any different with the next thousand.

Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, the conversion gurus at grokdotcom, make the analogy that a website is like a leaky bucket. You fill the bucket with water and it starts to come out all of the holes. The water is your traffic and the holes are the opportunities people have all the time to click away from your site. If your bucket has holes does it make more sense to keep filling it with more water? Not until you first fill those holes.

Similarly with your website why keep trying to attract more and more traffic when you should first be working to make sure you have a site that’s performing well. Until you make the site improvements that will get people to buy any new traffic will leave your site much the same way it has in the past.

Let’s consider some simple numbers. Say you typically attract a thousand people to your site each month and from that thousand people you make 20 sales for a 2% conversion rate. If you want to make another 20 sales each month you need to bring another thousand people to your site. And not just next month, but each and every month after that. However if you make some improvements to your site and double the conversion rate to 4% you’ll make those extra 20 sales with the same thousand visitors you’re already getting. And you’ll be getting those extra 20 sales every month even if your traffic stays the same.

Once your site is converting then you can focus your efforts more on bringing in more traffic. Doesn’t it make more sense to bring traffic to a site that turns visitors into buyers over a site that just turns them away.

In truth you can and should be doing both at the same time. But to focus on traffic without also working to improve conversions is a waste of time. You can make money from your website without having the kind of traffic you would ever brag about. Yes more traffic is good and we all want more, but a lack of it isn’t necessarily the cause of a lack of revenue. More often the problem is an under performing site. Improve your site before worrying about how many visitors you get and how to get more. More traffic isn’t better unless your site can convert that traffic.

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  1. Very good article Steven. I’ve done countless redesigns on my blog and everyday I just think of what still needs to improve not only on the design side but the overall aspect. I still need to fill some holes. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Thanks Raymond.

      Unfortunately I think people sometimes spend too much time focusing on the wrong things. They see traffic as automatically leading to revenue, but unless your site is capable of turning traffic into sales all the traffic in the world won’t make a difference.

      I hear you about all the improvements. I don’t know about you, but I have giant to do list of things I’d like to do here. Now if I can only find the time…

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