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Focusing on traffic can be an expensive mistake

Our monthly contribution from Andrew Leon Walker of Rame Marketing

I had a recent conversation with a prospective client who asked me to help his business get more traffic to his website. He stated that he wasn’t getting enough leads from his site and his view was that by increasing the number of visitors he’d get a corresponding number of enquiries.

I asked for access to his Google Analytics account and said I’d take a look.

My initial impressions were pretty good – there were a decent number of sessions to his home page and to many of the service pages. There were enough visitors to the site to expect a reasonable number of ‘conversions’, such as inbound calls, emails or downloads. However, when I looked a little deeper I noticed that the bounce rate was high on the key service pages, average session duration was low, pages per session were low, and so was the average time on page. All of these signals were good indicators that there was an issue somewhere.

I spent some time looking at his website and I spoke to him in more depth about his marketing activities and concluded the following:

  • The content on his web pages did not meet the expectation of his visitors. The web pages focused inwardly on “the company” and not on explaining how his business could solve the issues his web visitors had.
  • The page content was “too skinny” i.e. there wasn’t enough of it and too much of it consisted of downloadable PDF documents which had not been optimized for search. This also meant the page visitor had to jump through too many hoops to find the information they needed.
  • He was running and managing his own PPC campaign and linking all of his ads through to his home page. This was having an adverse effect on his quality score and click through rate, which in turn made his clicks more expensive but more importantly caused any visitors to bounce out because he wasn’t delivering to expectations.
  • In addition, the only place where he had included company contact details was on the web “Contact Us” page. This was adding another unnecessary layer between the visitor and the company, as he was asking them to take an additional step to get in touch.

I recommended to him that rather than attempt to drive more traffic to his site, it would be more appropriate to spend his budget on fixing what was wrong and then to review progress before taking any further decisions, and he agreed.

After spending some time building ‘customer personas’, mapping out and creating the required content and improving the layout and navigation of his site along with several other improvements, he has experienced a rise in email and telephone enquiries.

The moral of this story is this: make sure you really understand how traffic is behaving on your website before you throw good money after bad. Doing so will result in a win for everyone.