You’ve ticked all of the “marketing” boxes for your new business – you’ve created a Facebook page, signed up for Google My Businesses, started keyword research, and designed a shiny new website. But now what? How do you know if your efforts are successful? When new businesses are first starting their digital marketing efforts, one of the most frequently asked questions is “how many hits should my website be getting?”
The answer to that question very much depends on you – the size of your business, what the function of your site is, how “online” your industry is, how quickly your industry moves, and how old your site is, among other things. While there is no definitive answer to how many page views you should be getting, the general goal is for your website traffic to always be increasing, and your bounce rate to be decreasing. In this post, we’ll look at some of the factors that affect website traffic, how to monitor your traffic, and how to know whether your numbers are healthy or not.
Factors that affect website traffic
As mentioned, there are many things that go into how much traffic your website gets. And because numbers vary so widely by industry and type of business, it’s hard to nail down a precise number or growth percentage for what’s “healthy” when it comes to website hits. However, there is lots of anecdotal examples, as well as data out there that can help us pinpoint what might be affecting your traffic.
The first factor that might affect your site’s traffic is the size of your business and what vertical you work in. In a recent study, HubSpot analyzed 1,324 of their customers to see what traffic trends they could find. According to their data, if you are a small business with 6-10 employees in the B2B space, “average” website traffic is around 124 unique visitors every week. Anything over that would be exceptional. Obviously, the bigger the company, the more site traffic you’d expect. In addition, companies in the B2C space had higher traffic overall – B2C companies tended to have 200 percent more traffic than B2B companies of the same size, and B2C companies with fewer than five employees still earned nearly 70 percent higher traffic than B2B companies with five or fewer employees. Based on this data we can learn a few things about site traffic. First, if your company is larger, you should be expecting higher site traffic than if you’re a solo entrepreneur or only have a few employees. In addition, if you work in a B2C space, you’ll likely have less traffic overall than companies of the same size in the B2C space.
The next factor that might affect your site traffic is what the function of your site actually is. Is your site purely informational to help potential customers learn more about you? Is it an ecommerce site where customers actually complete their purchases? Is it a landing page where customers sign up for a consultation? The number of hits your site gets will vary dramatically depending on what the function of your site actually is.
The next thing that might affect your site views is how “online” your industry is. In some industries, digital marketing is all the rage, and it’s impossible to stay afloat without being savvy on the internet. In other industries, however, your website is less important and its existence is more of a formality. Knowing what role digital marketing plays in your industry will help you determine how much traffic is actually realistic. Similarly, if you work in a fast-moving industry like media or home decor, your website will likely have a lot more traffic than industries that move more slowly, like office supplies.
Lastly, the age of your site can play a big role in how much traffic you earn. In general, more mature sites are seen as more credible by the search engines, and therefore will appear higher in SERPs (search engine results pages), thereby getting more clicks. If your site is under a year old, you’ll probably have a harder time garnering as much traffic as a more mature site, so don’t despair if your site isn’t as highly trafficked as your competitor who’s site has been online a few years longer – age goes a long way in the game of digital marketing.
As you can see, there are many factors that may affect your site’s traffic and overall health. While they aren’t a perfect predictor of what your traffic should look like, keeping these factors in mind will be important as you monitor your site traffic and make judgements about the health of your website.
How to track your website traffic
There are many tools, both paid and free that can help you monitor your site traffic. We recommend using Google Analytics, which is a free web app that allows you to not only see how many hits you’re getting on your site, but also things like:
- How many of your visitors are new and how many are returning
- How many visitors you earn in a day, month, quarter, year, etc.
- How many pages on average people view on your site, along with which pages they viewed
- The most popular pages on your site
- The pages that are causing people to leave your site
- How long visitors tend to spend on your site
- Which country or region they’re visiting from
- What type of device they’re using to visit your site
This information is incredibly valuable for learning more about who your customers actually are, what’s bringing them to your site, what they do when they get there, and where they tend to leave. When you know these things, you can better tailor your site to the customers you actually have, rather than the ones you think you have, and you can address issues that are causing users to bounce or leave your site.
Another hugely important function of Google Analytics (GA) is learning where your users are actually coming from. This is what GA’s Acquisition tool is used for. Using the Acquisition Overview, you can see exactly which channels bring in the highest number of visitors, down to the specific email campaign, Pay Per Click ad, or URL. You can also filter your acquisition sources by paid versus organic, so you can better tell how well your advertising dollars are being spent and where adjustments need to be made, in addition to knowing exactly which organic content pieces are drawing in the most viewers. Is most of your traffic coming from sidebar ads? A specific email promotion? A holiday gift roundup blog post from last year? Knowing this information helps you better focus your time and resources on your most successful acquisition strategies so you can waste less and earn more.
How to set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics works by inserting a few lines of code onto every page on your site that you want to log data from. Using “cookies,” which are small text files that GA caches in each user’s browser, GA can determine who your users are and what they did on each page of your site. These cookies collect user data, send that data back to Google’s servers, and the data is then logged as a “hit” on your site in your Analytics dashboard, making it possible for you to tell exactly where a user entered your site, what actions they performed, how long they stayed, and where they left.
To set up Google Analytics for your site, the first thing you need to do is sign up for an Analytics account, and get your Analytics tracking ID. On a computer (rather than a mobile device), open a new site in Google Sites. Next, choose More > Site Analytics, and enter your tracking ID. Your ID should look something like “UA-XXXXXX-X.” Finally, hit Save, and allow 24 hours for Google to start logging your traffic. In about a day or so, you can open Analytics again and start combing through your data. You can learn more about how to use Google Analytics with this short Google Analytics tutorial.
Do more with your website analytics
Now that you’re tracking your site traffic and know exactly where your customers are coming from and what they’re doing when they arrive, you can better tailor your site to meet your customers needs and to achieve your marketing goals. Keep in mind that you won’t be getting the traffic numbers you want right away – intelligent digital marketing takes a lot of time and effort, and sites need time to mature before they’ll rank highly in Google. As long as you consistently track your site behavior, are willing to make changes and adapt, and don’t give up, you’ll see success in your marketing efforts over the long term.
Feeling overwhelmed with running your business, managing marketing tasks, and monitoring your site traffic all at once? We’ve got your back. Big Leap helps businesses of all sizes analyze their website data, optimize their content, and drive more traffic to their pages through intelligent marketing and consistent support. Sign up for your free Big Leap SEO consultation today.