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Website Traffic Origins: An Analysis

Research has just been released that shows the overall percentages of ways people come to your website, but it only tells part of the story. Let’s take a look …

Search Engine Traffic: 40%

Those who work with me know that I’m not a huge proponent of search engine optimization, but looky here: 40% of your site visits should come from search engines. The problem is that many people arrive at your site only to discover you are not the holy grail they are looking for, and then leave within a few seconds (which often sends your visit stats into the toilet). If they do not message you, you have no idea who they are and what they wanted, if they found what they were seeking, and how you can make them yours for life. So, if you spent tons of dinero on getting this traffic, you may not see the return. Many do not agree with me. I can live with that.

Referring Links: 10%

Then there are referring links, those that mention you in their online copy, and then link to your site. I like this 10% of visitors. They come to your site as a result of something that was said about you that piqued their interest. It is likely you sell or service something they want/need. I also like that the referring site is usually a company/person that thinks you're swell, or why would they tout you? But beware: From the sites we manage, I don’t want to refer to anyone else. We work hard to get traffic to our sites; why would we want to send it somewhere else?

Social Media: 20%

Now I’m happy. Something you did on your social media said to the person, “Go look more at what we do. We are just what you always dreamed we’d be.” Keep in mind that when you link from a social media post to your website, you should not always link to the homepage. Link to the page on your site that is most relevant to your post. And, if possible, have a call to action on that post that gets the visitor who comes by way of a desired destination visit to commit to you even further.

Direct: 10%

Your ads. Your business card. Somewhere they contain your website address. The recipient then types in the URL. These site visitors are coveted, but they are hard to decipher. They might just be coming to get your phone number. They might be your competition. They are often your competition.

Newsletter: 20%

The best of the best. Your newsletter will tell you exactly who that person is and you will know why they came to your site. It allows you to follow up personally in a way you can’t with the other ways people land on your mother ship. If they took the time to click on a URL in your newsletter, then the least you can do is take the time to reach out and make the connection personally—the very least.

We don’t spend as much time on websites as we did five years ago. Blue Shoe believes that there are other ways to gain trust, but that your site must first and foremost present your brand, what you do, and what you sell in its best light. Every person who visits your site should have a doorway off the homepage that will fulfill his or her reason for taking the time to show up.

— Christine Merser, Managing Partner

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