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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!)
- The next best source of traffic is Thought Leadership, otherwise known as Content, i.e., blog posts, webinars, white papers, conference talks, etc.
- 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!
- 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.
- Finally, make sure you are distributing all this content across relevant social media channels frequently (this post shares frequency best practices)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
At first, it may seem like a benefit to be able to offer a whole lot of choices to your customers. Whether its choice of products, product bundles, colors, sizes, or pricing options, more is better, right? You offer so many choices, it sets you apart from your competitors. Your customers can pick exactly what they want because you offer so many. That’s how the thinking goes, right?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way at all — a fact which we often forget in our “more is better” world.
Here’s why. There’s a concept called the “paradox of choice”, which was identified and studied by lots of psychologists in recent years. What they’ve found is that having too much to choose from actually creates high levels of stress and anxiety, especially if the choices represent high-value purchases or outcomes. It turns out there’s a point at which too much choice causes paralysis (and hence indecision) at the thought that we might choose poorly. You may have heard this described as FOMO (fear of missing out). We’ve all been there, right?
Americans make 70 different choices every day. Talk about overload! Is it any wonder we can be indecisive?
Therefore, when you’re creating marketing messages for your products and services, think about the fact that someone’s purchase decision around your product might be #68 for that day. You can see why, at that point, they just want you to tell them what to buy!
So, guide them. Curate the information for maximum relevance.
- Think hard about whether or not your marketing message should lead with the fact that your product comes in 50+ variations. Maybe that’s not actually a good thing.
- If your product can be easily customized to reduce choices by say, asking a few questions; or it comes with a “default” setting; or additional choices can come at different stages of the purchase, then promote that in your messaging. Consumers will feel relieved that you’re helping them make a choice.
- (And if your product doesn’t come with the above, consider changing it so that it does).
- When offering pricing packages, for example on online subscription services, default to the medium option, rather than the highest or lowest priced.
- And finally (my own pet peeve), cut down on your CTAs! Whether it’s an email, blog post, or web page, don’t cram it full of multiple calls to action. Pick one primary and make it prominent. If you need to have secondary CTAs, make them less prominent so that there’s a clear hierarchy of choice.
>> Trying to find the balance between too much and too little in your marketing messages? I can help you negotiate that fine line. Give me a shout.
Interested in reading the scholarly evidence behind the paradox of choice? (I’ll admit, it’s a fascinating view into human behavior!) Start here:
- Zbigniew Lipowski, The Conflict of Buridan’s Ass, The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1970.
- Sheena Iyengar, When Choice is Demotivating, The Journal of Personal Social Psychology, 2000.
- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, 2004.