So, you’ve been checking your Google Analytics, and you’ve noticed that your web traffic isn’t climbing as fast as it once was.
Or maybe you just launched a shiny new website, but are still waiting for that influx of inquiries and sales that you expected to see, and your patience is waning.
You’re not alone. With so much competition on the web, getting traffic isn’t easy. There are a plethora of factors that contribute to web traffic, and tackling them can be overwhelming to say the least.
Your website may have issues in itself that are preventing you from getting traffic, but it’s also possible to have a beautifully made site that sadly goes unseen. Having a well-made website, while imperative, is only half the battle.
Here are 20 things we ask ourselves when diagnosing why a website isn't getting enough traffic.
TECHNICAL WEBSITE ISSUES THAT PREVENT TRAFFIC
Like with so many things, starting with a solid foundation is key. If you were shopping for a new home, you would probably avoid the ones that are difficult to access, falling apart, or have bad plumbing. There are some things that a fresh coat of paint can’t fix.
Similarly, if the technical aspects of your website aren’t up to snuff, getting traffic is going to be a struggle.
1. Does the website have poor SEO?
To sum it up real quick, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about how easy it is for people to find your website organically on search engines, like Google.
When people search for terms related to your industry, do you show up? For example, If you run a pet store, what happens when you look up ‘pet stores near me’ in Google? How about ‘where to buy dog food in [your city]’? Keep in mind, we are not talking about paid ads here, but the organic results that appear.
The better your SEO, the more likely it is that people will find and visit your website. It’s super important, but the reason a lot of people mess it up is because there’s a lot to it and it’s always evolving. There are backend components of your website that should be optimized for SEO, as well as your web content, which we talk about later in this post.
2. Is the website easy to use (especially on mobile)?
Have you ever visited a website that left you feeling frustrated because it wasn’t working properly, or you couldn’t find what you were looking for?
It’s all about the user experience. Your website should be easy to use and navigate. Links should work and go to the appropriate places. Finding important information (especially contact information) should be a breeze. It should be intuitive, and it should work well no matter the device that’s being used.
Forgetting to optimize your website for mobile is a huge mistake. 52.2% of all website traffic was generated through mobile phones in 2018. Yep, we’ve passed the halfway mark, and this number is only expected to grow.
3. Does the website have slow load times?
Speaking of frustrating websites… who wants to wait forever for a simple web page to load? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Actually, studies have shown that slow load times can have a significant impact on page abandonment. Nowadays, every second counts.
Not only will slow load times repel visitors, but they can negatively impact your search engine rankings. It’s a double whammy!
4. Is the website crawlable?
It’s possible that Google can’t even find your website. And if that’s the case, it’s a problem you’ll want to fix right away.
Google indexes the pages of a website by ‘crawling’ them regularly. Usually this is done automatically, but if your site isn’t being indexed, make sure that you’ve created and indexed a sitemap and that you’ve requested that Google crawls your site.
How can you tell if your website has been indexed? Go to Google and search for ‘site:[yourdomain]’. Example: site:csekcreative.com. Then, you will see each page that Google has successfully crawled and indexed.
5. Does the website have malicious code?
Your website might have malicious code installed on it and not even know! This is more common on popular PHP platforms such as Wordpress. An attacker may have found a way through Wordpress (or more likely, one of its many available plugins) and installed code on your website that has less than honourable intentions.
If Google stumbles across anything that looks like the above - your site will get a significant penalty in rankings as a result.
6. Does the website have broken images and links?
Broken links and images happen, but it’s important to fix them as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s due to typos, or sometimes because a URL changed and the link wasn’t updated. In any case, it creates a poor user experience and can hurt your search ranking, especially if those links were internal.
You can use resources like Google Analytics or Raven Tools to identify broken images and links that need to be fixed.
7. Is there a Google My Business account associated with the website?
Setting up a Google My Business (GMB) account is free, relatively easy, and so important.
A GMB allows people to quickly find important information about your business when they look you up in Google, like your hours, location, photos and contact information.
Having a GMB is also the only way that you can get Google reviews, which not only indirectly helps with search rankings, but makes your business more appealing to potential customers (as long as the reviews are good, of course).
People who are on the web are typically searching for something, whether that be information, entertainment, or inspiration. So if you want people to visit your website, that’s what you need to offer them.
The importance of the content on your website can’t be overemphasized. Once you have a solid foundation, creating content that helps both your customers and your business is the next step, and it’s an ongoing process. Pretty much everything that the user sees makes up the content of your website — the landing pages, blogs, videos, photos, graphics, and so on.
8. Does the website have the right amount of content?
Not having enough content on your website not only hurts your search ranking, but it means that you have little of value to offer visitors. Chances are, there are plenty of other websites out there that offer tons of information about your industry — so why should people choose yours? To put it bluntly, without content (quality content, that is), they probably won’t.
On the other hand, having too much content can also hurt your web traffic. When it comes to content, it’s all about providing value to your target audience, and both visitors and Google can tell when that’s not what you’re doing.
9. How is the keywording on the website?
This comes back to SEO. Using the proper keywords in your web content will help ensure that your website pops up for relevant terms in search engines, but getting it right can be a challenge.
First of all, don’t overdo it. Always write for the reader first, and the ‘robot’ second. Keyword stuffing will turn readers off, and search engines are advanced enough to sort this type of content out.
There are a few common keywording obstacles:
You’re not doing any keyword targeting
You’re targeting too narrow of a niche
You’re in a keyword-competitive industry
There are also solutions. Implementing longtail keywords, writing 10x content, using keyword planners… it gets a bit jargony at this point, but there are tons of great articles out there that can help you out (and, while you’re at it, try to pay attention to why some of these articles appear higher up in Google results over others).
10. Does the website solve the user’s intent?
Keywording is important, but it’s also important to understand the user’s intent when they are searching with those keywords.
What stage of the buyer’s journey is the user in? Are they looking for the answer to a question, doing product research, or ready to make a purchase?
Google is getting better and better at understanding the intent behind users’ search queries. If you optimize your web content for the intent of your target audience, you’re more likely to see traffic to your website (this likely means optimizing for several different forms of intent, as you want to attract potential customers at several stages of the funnel).
11. Does the site fall into E-A-T (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy)?
Google uses these three metrics to judge the quality of the content on a webpage. It looks at who’s writing the content, the content itself, and the website as a whole.
Google looks at a myriad of factors when determining the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of a webpage — here are a few:
Who is the content coming from? What expertise do they have? For example, medical advice is more trustworthy if it’s coming from a doctor.
What reputation does your website or business have? Reviews, recommendations from other quality businesses, Better Business Bureau ratings, recognition, awards, etc.
Is the content relevant to the website? For example, you probably wouldn’t trust an article about real estate on a baking blog.
Not only will increasing your website’s E-A-T help your Google ranking, but you’ll be doing your customers a service while you’re at it. After all, Google judges these criteria in the user’s best interest.
12. Is the web content outdated?
Regularly updating the content on your website will improve your SEO and give you more materials to promote on an ongoing basis (which we will talk about more later).
If your web content hasn’t been touched in a year, six months, even two months, it’s time to start thinking about making a content strategy. Creating a content calendar is a great way to ensure that you’re producing regular content that will help you reach your goals.
13. Is the web content shareable?
You can share your content with lots of people, which is great (and again, we will dive into this more in the next section). But, if you create content that those people also want to share, then your reach grows exponentially. And the more your content is seen, the more likely it is to be clicked.
How do you do this? Produce content that people care about. Be creative, but keep it relevant. Ask yourself what burning questions your target market is asking, what are they looking for, how can you help them?
PROMOTING YOUR WEBSITE
There are a ton of ways to promote your website. Some are easier and more affordable than others, but it's important to know all your options so that you can make the best decision for your business and budget.
Here are a few promotion-related reasons why your traffic may be lacking.
14. Is too much time being spent on creating, and not enough on promoting?
You have an attractive, helpful, user-friendly website with lots of relevant and quality content, you’ve optimized for SEO, and everything is working perfectly. All of this will help get you traffic, but alone, its power is limited.
You have to put yourself out there to be seen! So make sure you save some time to actually promote your website, too.
15. Is there a marketing budget?
With so many different costs to consider, marketing sometimes becomes an after-thought, especially for SMBs.
If done properly, funneling some funds into your marketing strategy can really make a difference in your web traffic. You don’t need a huge budget, you just need to plan and spend effectively. You may want to spend it on display ads, PPC advertising, geofencing campaigns… there are plenty of options!
16. Is the right audience being targeted?
Maybe you do invest in marketing, but still aren’t seeing results. If so, you may not be reaching your target market.
Avoid wasting your marketing resources on the wrong people by doing your research and forming a clear picture of your ideal target audience. Then, determine the best ways to grab their attention.
17. Is social media being utilized to promote the website?
If your business isn’t on social media yet, it’s time to start.
Getting started is relatively easy and affordable, and it’s an excellent way to build relationships with existing and potential customers and lead them back to your website. Promote your website on social media by sharing links to blogs and interesting landing pages. Just make sure that you’re posting quality content on a consistent basis!
Posting organically is technically free, so it will just cost you your time. If you’re looking to fast-track your web traffic growth, using paid ads on social media can be very effective. You can learn more about the difference between organic and paid social media here.
18. Do the display ads include a call to action?
Are you running display ads, but they don’t seem to be getting any clicks?
Let you audience know what they have to benefit from clicking on the ad, and include a clear call to action, like ‘click to learn more’.
19. Is an email marketing list being used?
Email marketing is a great way to stay at the top of your customer’s minds and drive traffic back to your website.
Build your subscriber list and share interesting content that you’ve created for your website, with links back to learn more. Including a sign-up form on your website is always a good idea.
20. Are there any authoritative backlinks?
This one is a bit more tricky, but it’s how many of the big websites that we all know got to where they are now.
When other authoritative websites link back to yours, it both improves your Google ranking, and increases your chances of getting traffic.
How do you get backlinks? First of all, you need some awesome and original content that other websites may be interested in linking to. Then, you may want to start an outreach campaign, contacting those websites and pitching them your link. This is a pretty big topic on its own!
WANT MORE WEB TRAFFIC?
If you want to increase your web traffic, then working on some of these common mishaps is an excellent first step.
It’s important to note that it can take awhile to notice changes — sometimes months, or even a year. Traffic is something that builds over time, especially when it comes to content marketing.
If you’re not sure where to start or you want some extra help, contact our team here at Csek Creative. We would be happy to perform an audit of your website and current marketing tactics to pinpoint areas for improvement.
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