Your business doesn’t have a website traffic problem, it has a conversion problem: Here’s why


I’m going to say something you might not like to hear.

Why? Because it’s probably the easiest excuse to all of your problems.

Is your business not getting enough leads? Sales are sluggish? No people signing up to your newsletter? Haven’t acquired a new user in weeks?

You think: “Traffic isn’t high enough, we need more visitors.”

Quick, spend more money on ads and the best SEO guy your limited amount of money can get and make sure MORE people come to your website because that means MORE money, right?


The answer to your woes is not always the amount of traffic you are getting, but rather the amount of conversions coming from this traffic.

The conversion rate is, quite simply, your conversions (sales, signups, downloads) divided by the amount of website visitors. So, yes you need a level of traffic you can convert on your website, BUT…


All traffic is not good traffic


What do we mean by this?

Well, let’s say you run a company that hires out goats for $250 an hour to graze on people’s lawns (oh it’s real, I didn’t even have to make that up. Welcome to the internet).

So anyway, you hire out these goats and you’ve spent all this time, money and effort on driving traffic to your grazing-goat-hire site.

There are so many hits! So many new visitors! You think: “We are going to make so much money off goats!”

And yet only one person hires your goat. One out of thousands of visitors. Why?

Because the traffic you had driven was not good traffic. It was not qualified. It was not comprised of people who had lawns that need grazing. They’re as useless to your business as a goat without grass to graze on. You’re no help to each other unfortunately. This is why a tonne of traffic is not always the best goal to have.

So, how do you become a magnet to people with lawns and who have no aversion to goats grazing them?


Step one: Do your research


Talk to potential customers. Find out where they hang out, what they read, and what they think about goats grazing their overgrown lawns.

Do they google stuff or ask their Twitter and Facebook friends?  What words do they use? There are tools for these, by the way. SEMRush and Social Mention are a good start.


Step two: Use this information to your advantage


Hang out where these potential customers hang out.

If they’ve never heard of Twitter, there’s no point hanging around there either.

Be seen where they are. Speak their language.

Sooner or later they’ll want to talk to you about your goat-grazing service.

But it’s not enough to push raging rapids of people to your site when it’s like a bucket that has holes. So you must make sure your bucket doesn’t have holes.

Buckets? Goats? Sorry, what?

I promise this all has a purpose and my crazy analogies will teach you something for the better. I hope.

Your bucket is your website. Imagine filling a bucket with water when it is riddled with 50 holes anyway. Why are you filling it with water? It is pointless. It’s all going to run out again.

This holey-bucket could be your website if all you are doing is focusing on traffic instead of optimising it for your visitors. The water is your traffic in the form of lost leads. Plug those holes.

Here are the five absolute minimum conversion tactics every marketer needs to nail.


1. Make sure your website is super-fast because speed is a killer 

Did you know that visitors expect your website to load in just two seconds? They also tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within three seconds!

Around 79% of online shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.

And guess what? Kissmetrics says that once you lose a conversion from a visitor, they are almost certain to pass on the negative experience to their friends and colleagues too.

That’s a hell of a lot of lead loss due to a simple sluggish load time.

2. Have a compelling value proposition


Why would customers use goats to graze their lawn over Jim’s Mowing? Answer that question.


3. Make it easy to find stuff


If everything is more than one click away, you’ve lost more than half of your web traffic.

Why? Because people are busy and lazy, and they are easily annoyed if they have to work hard. They want whatever they’re looking for, right now.

Do some usability testing to eliminate annoying experiences for your customers.

Don’t test it as you, test it as them. Their annoyance threshold is much lower than yours!


4. Look like someone that can be trusted


Show off your happy customers and what they have to say about your service.

An e-commerce site needs to have an SSL Certificate or trust badges that tell people you’re legitimate and that their information is safe and secure.


5. Do some A/B testing


If you change the colour of your “buy now” button to green, do you get more sales? Does a $1 offer work better than “free”?

Test it. Test everything.


So, which is more important: traffic or conversions?


That is the question.

We say plug your bucket. Optimise your website so you know it will convert. Make sure you have done everything possible on your site to capture your leads.

Then focus on driving those few people who want your goats eating their lawn into your intact bucket. And they will convert.

Optimise conversions first; drive traffic second.


Gary Tramer is the co-founder of LeadChat, a Melbourne-based company helping SMBs generate conversions out of their web traffic. This article was first published on theLeadChat blog.


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Patrick O'Doherty
5 years ago

Conversion rate is an extremely important and often overlooked metric. If a site is spending any kind of money on advertising or promotion then a conversion rate analysis must be considered. Check out some tips to improve a site’s conversion rate here: