The Client Asks: “Why Is My Website Traffic Decreasing?”

Website traffic

I’ll start by saying that this question is more complex than it looks. Bad news.

But the good news is that you can uncover the issues impacting traffic, and/or jump right into resolution, depending on your timeframe and resources. Here are some of the top reasons for decreasing website traffic (assuming it’s even a metric you need to get worried about – see#1 below), with suggestions for resolution, as well as additional resources.

  1. First, know that the success of a website is not necessarily measured by web site visits alone. Additional metrics from Google Analytics should be considered. Ultimately, you want qualified leads coming to your site; rather than an increasing number of unqualified leads. Unless you can tell which you’ve got, it’s hard to make a judgement about traffic alone. If you know your site is set up well to drive traffic, then look to optimizing your marketing efforts as a start.
  2. In reality, businesses have to market a lot to drive traffic to their site. (I’m going to assume you’ve already optimized your site for SEO).
    1. Email is the most successful traffic driver. Make sure you’re doing all you can to collect the email addresses of your interested-but-not-yet-ready-to-buy prospects. If you are, then email them regularly with valuable content which includes links back to your website (and make sure there are good reasons why they should want to click back to your site!)
    2. The next best source of traffic is Thought Leadership, otherwise known as Content, i.e., blog posts, webinars, white papers, conference talks, etc.
      1. Frequent (but valuable!) blog posts drive traffic. A recent Hubspot study showed that “companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” . In other words, you gotta’ blog a lot!
      2. In addition, consider other content mechanisms. For example, host a monthly webinar series providing prospects with valuable and relevant industry information. Find well-known guest authors to write white papers for which you can require email addresses to download. Record any panel or conference talks you give, and then post that content on Slideshare, as well as your own site, after the event. 
      3. Finally, make sure you are distributing all this content across relevant social media channels frequently (this post shares frequency best practices)
  3. It may be that one or more of your competitors has done something new (such as increasing marketing efforts) and is suddenly drawing away prospects that may have gone to your site. It goes without saying that you should keep an eye on competitor marketing efforts.
  4. In the beginning of 2015, Google made a change to its search algorithm so that it now requires sites to be mobile-optimized in order to rank well. If your site isn’t truly mobile-friendly, it will definitely impact traffic.  
  5. Finally, there are a host of website technical issues that can impact website traffic (e.g., site load time, accidental duplicate content, expired SSL certificate, etc.). You’ll need your developer(s) to investigate these.

There are certainly other issues that can impact site traffic, but if you go through the list above, you should be able to turn that trend around.

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