Successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and eCommerce tactics can be deployed by smaller brand owners just as effectively as by big business. In fact, the processes behind learning to increase website traffic and sales are incredibly digestible when you break things down.
Generally, more traffic equals more sales. Though it’s one thing attracting your target audience to your site, it’s another thing altogether converting those numbers into sales. For simplicity, let’s break down the process into two stages: creating traffic and encouraging sales.
Traffic is influenced by search and SEO practices. These include:
- Keyword research and implementation.
- Marketing and advertising – either via social media, search, or traditional campaigns.
- Outreach – this includes offers and promotions, email marketing, utilising influencers, and so on.
Online Sales are influenced by similar aspects, but it’s all about conversion here. The focus now is on:
- The actual content and effectiveness of your copy, ads, emails, etc.
- Targeting the right people in the right way, with the right words and strategies.
- Streamlining the customer journey and removing any ‘friction’ points.
It’s all about incentivising visitors to complete the customer journey, achieving that conversion and graduating them from browser to customer.
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Why is website traffic important for online sales?
It all starts with traffic. Which, in its most basic form, means attracting the attention of people as they browse Google or Facebook and leading them where they need to be – your online store. Think of your site as the centre of a spider diagram, with all the individual arms reaching out in different ways across multiple channels, reeling in customers.
Each spider leg represents the channel in which customers inevitably find your business. If you’re looking at how to increase website traffic, this is usually achieved through implementing effective:
- Email campaigns
- Social media marketing tactics
- Traditional ad campaigns
- Paid and organic search strategies
Optimised content will ensure these spider legs remain untangled and easy to navigate. When your content is optimised, it will show up to the right people at the right times. Failing to attract this traffic to your website can derail your conversion targets, only a few steps into the customer journey. If we’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, conversion is key.
To aid this frictionless journey, you must build a rapport with your target audience. Leading them through every step of the journey, up until they make the purchase, shouldn’t be a struggle for either party.
How is website traffic measured?
You can measure your website traffic across your whole site and for individual pages. Certain tools reveal how long people tend to stay on each page, as well as general visit numbers, traffic sources and bounce rates.
The latter is perhaps one of the most important analytics to remember.
Bounce rates are so-called because they show if people are ‘bouncing’ away from certain pages on your site. As an example, HubSpot defines a ‘healthy’ bounce rate as 40% or lower, while anything near 70% is considered too high.
Bounce rates help to illustrate if certain pages are failing to provide the right information as quickly and easily as they should. From there, you can identify how and where content needs adapting – which is key when learning how to drive traffic to your website.
Analysing this data overall is a good way to see how and where to refine your customer journey. Say you have good landing page traffic but numbers drop off the further into your site people venture. Consider refining the number of pages/steps they need to go through to complete their journey.
However, all this guessing is useless without truly analysing and comparing individual traffic data factors. Platforms like Google Analytics and HubSpot provide a comprehensive overview of onsite activity. These platforms present in-depth data reports, so you can set goals, identify KPIs (key performance indicators), and effectively increase website traffic.
Setting realistic KPIs is important for any business. These are usually defined by three areas of focus, which BigCommerce highlights as the following:
- eCommerce data – includes conversion rates, shopping cart abandonment rates, new vs. returning traffic, bounce rates, traffic sources.
- Marketing success factors – includes click-through rates, social followers, reviews, search position, email open rates.
- Small business KPIs – include gross profit, cost of goods sold, competitive pricing, customer lifetime value (how much a customer is worth to your brand during your relationship).
How are online sales measured?
Online sales are measured by combining traffic data factors mentioned above with general sales and conversion rates. Again, tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot are used to measure these analytics.
Here, we observe similar factors to traffic metrics, such as sources and bounce rate. However, when analysing online sales data, you need to look at the percentage of new and returning visitors. Once you’ve defined the differences between the two groups, you can take steps to improve attraction vs. retention processes.
Furthermore, average session time is also important. This shows how effective your content is at encouraging conversion, and whether things need switching up on your site.
Besides time, also consider place when looking at how to drive online sales. Understanding where the most conversions and click-throughs come from in terms of page and traffic source is vital. If most conversions are from your new social media campaign or a range of new offers, this is something to capitalise on.
Tools used to measure and increase website traffic and online sales
Google Analytics (GA) is good for analysing your processes on a larger scale. GA provides in-depth reports on identifying data factors like device type and new/returning visitors. It measures traffic based on the medium of referral – e.g. Google organic or paid search, direct search and social media. In short, this platform focuses on the way in which your site is found.
HubSpot analyses, and presents reports on, the activities taken by users, such as page views and clicks. The software is great for tracking smaller details and individual page data. HubSpot measures each session based on traffic source and referral domain as its key indicator – so its focus tends to be on where your site is found.
SEMrush specialises in collecting traffic analytics for both your site and those of your competitors, so you can compare and improve. The platform provides you with an accurate picture of what the ‘ideal’ looks like in terms of CTRs (click-through rates), conversions, and the tactics being used by others. It helps you to improve SEO and keyword strategies, traffic numbers and, thus, boost online sales.
There are many analytics tools available, with each doing things a little differently than its neighbour. These three, in particular, are perhaps the most widely used and relied upon by businesses across all sectors and of all sizes.