Website Traffic or Conversion: Which Matters More?

Which is more important, conversion or positioning? Website traffic has always been a barometer to determine just how popular or successful a web property is, correct?

SERPs Up

Without Traffic, There is No Conversion

Not anymore, as the deluge of information overload rests of the precipice and an abundance of information on every topic forces people to be more selective with how they “SPEND” their time, conversions are far more important.

Conversion implying that people take action in some track able way, shape or form such as (1) requesting more information (2) taking a poll (3) proceeding through the checkout process to buy a product or (4) picking up the phone to ask questions, engage your business or buy something.

Without these critical milestones, there is no monetization, without monetization, your website is a hobby. Regardless if you are using SEO, PPC, CPA (cost per acquisition), CPM (cost per thousand impressions), word of mouth sales, social media or any viable traffic source, what happens after that visitor arrives is equally as important as getting them to your website. This is conversion optimization and without it, it won’t matter how many visitors slip through the cracks and move on.

Your website is not a hobby, not that there is anything wrong with hobbies, however, chances are, if you don’t take your own website seriously (and run it like a business), then neither will anyone else (which means your site is essentially a doormat for a savvy competitor) who DOES understand the cues of monetization, conversion objectives and places cues above the fold.

While many webmasters are too close to see the writing on the wall, what YOU want and what OTHERS want from your website are the definitive factors that sculpt the outcome of the user experience.

We are not talking about a Myspace page or a Facebook profile here, we are talking about your website serving as a living, breathing, changing canvas designed to stimulate thought, emotion and most of all “ACTION”.

To bridge the gap, you will need to imbue the power of persuasion by (a) understanding the needs of your audience (b) catering to their questions, concerns, fears and surfing patterns as well as (c) remaining objective enough to be flexible and “let go” when something is not working.

For the love of split testing, just creating a variation of a page and then using Google Website Optimizer to change variables (such as buttons, images, headlines, text blocks, offers, etc.) allows you to determine which combination has the lowest bounce rate (approval rate determined by how long people stay and how many take the desired conversion objective).

The health of your website boils down to two things (1) getting new visitors to it and (2) ensuring that the visitors you do attract are relevant from relevant keywords or sympathetic traffic sources.

What happens next is obvious, if you have (a) placed the appropriate cues above the fold (above the scroll line on the page), (b) de-cluttered visual cues to allow a person to settle their attention on the critical problem, solution or subject (c) have a compelling value proposition, benefit, clout and trust and (4) are speaking to them at the appropriate time in the sales cycle.

Obviously depending on who the audience is, the price point, the type of conversion element required and the amount of traffic should allow you to create a seed set. That seed set of data from analytics such as 50 visitors per day per page allows you to refine performance benchmarks and determine if your page is lackluster, sliding into supplemental oblivion (with a bounce rates above 60%), fair (with a bounce rate around 50%) or tuned, performing and profitable (with a bounce rate below 40%).

Once you have assessed (1) your primary keywords (2) their primary landing pages and (3) how your sites navigation lends itself to the process of conversion, you can always “make changes” to improve conversion rates, increase cues and priorities by highlighting critical actions and removing any unnecessary text, images or elements that do not serve the simple purpose of “taking the preferred action” and generating more leads, sales or word of mouth brand awareness for your business.

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6 Comments

  1. Conversion Clint
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Great article. Conversions are the most important. And split testing is also important. We made a free Split Testing software platform that is much easier to use than GWO. Check it out at http://www.conversiondoubler.com

  2. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Clint:

    Will look into your new tool and give it a spin.

    all the best…

  3. Nauman Akhtar
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    for me, website traffic matters. I’ll see your new tool after this

  4. Business Company
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Well, The above statement is seen to be contradictory. The situation is very critical and need an experience complainer to resolve it.This conversation is going no where. It’s lacking the place of a good leader to
    head the things to come out on conclusion.
    ————–
    Jerry

  5. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Jerry:

    The answer is conversions, you can always buy traffic.

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. drew
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I say a mix of traffic and conversion is good.

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