Quantity vs. Quality: Not all traffic is created equal
Which is more important when it comes to traffic, quantity or quality? This is a question that has sparked numerous debates amongst bloggers and entrepreneurs over the years. Should you focus your attention on getting as many traffic sources as possible? Or should you primarily focus on quality traffic sources that will lead to more conversions? In this blog post, I will be looking at quantity vs. quality and how not all traffic is created equal.
Over my years blogging and working with so many different entrepreneurs and businesses, I’ve personally noticed that many people are quite blinded by the power of traffic; the more, traffic, the better, is what most seem to think.
The common misconception here is that receiving lots of traffic to a website practically equals success. And sure, that is definitely true in some cases. Some of the biggest, most successful websites receive a lot of traffic on a daily basis. But, what so many fail to recognize, is the power of a smaller website, that doesn’t get much traffic, and yet, makes conversions at such a high rate, that it simply doesn’t matter any longer.
So, the question here is, what is most important? To focus on getting as much traffic as possible, from as many different traffic sources as possible? Or, to focus your attention on fewer traffic sources, but of high quality, so that ultimately, a bigger part of your audience is converting?
There is no clear, universally true answer to this question; in my opinion, it can depend quite a bit on your overall goals from your website or blog, and at the end of the day, it’s a case of finding the perfect balance between the two.
For example, if you only have a blog and want as many people to read it as possible, or you want to boost awareness of your blog, then having as many sources of traffic as possible is a good option; however, if you’re a business selling something online, then you’ll probably want to focus on getting high-quality traffic that converts.
In an ideal world, people want as much traffic going to their website as possible; but, they also want that traffic to convert and turn into paying customers.
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How to determine the quality of your traffic sources
Now, the question is, how do you determine the quality of your traffic sources? How do you know which traffic sources deserve more of your attention and which don’t?
In order to determine the quality of your different traffic sources, you can use your Google Analytics account. Here’s what you should look out for and which stats you should pay the most attention to:
- Number of lead conversions: how many conversions are generated by a particular traffic source? This is arguably the most important metric to consider, as the number of conversions you make can ultimately determine the success of your business. In order to determine conversions, you can set up Goals in Google Analytics, to see how many people are taking a certain desired action on your website – if you’re not sure how to set up goals, you can check my guide on how to create goals in Google Analytics here
- Bounce rate: How many people are leaving your website immediately or don’t go on to any other page? If the traffic you get from a certain source tends to have a big bounce rate, then this could be a sign that your are either not targeting the right people, or that the pages you guide them to are not truly relevant to them.
- The average visit duration: how much time do visitors spend on your website? Ideally, you want your visitors to spend as much time as possible, so the more people from a certain traffic source spend on your website, the better.
- Number of pages per visit: another important metric in establishing the quality of a source is the number of pages viewed per visit; when a traffic source generates multiple pages viewed per visit, the better its quality.
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To sum it all up, a good quality traffic source requires that visitors spend time on your website without leaving it immediately, or without viewing any other pages on your website and most importantly, that they take action – i.e. sign up to your newsletter, download something, buy a product or service, visit a certain page, or read a particular article or view a video.
To view your most important traffic sources and see relevant stats for them, go to your Google Analytics account -> All Traffic -> Channels. You will then be able to see your top channels, as well as behavioural and acquisition stats and goal conversion rates and goal completions.
The quality of your traffic sources is very important; good sources mean more sales, more time spent on your website, more loyal visitors. But, is quality more important than quantity in this case?
The importance of having multiple traffic sources
The answer to that is a big, fat, YES. Quantity is very important, as it can be quite dangerous to rely on only a couple of traffic sources.
This happens because, if something goes wrong with those few sources, or even just the one that you rely on the most, you will lose the majority of your website’s traffic. And without enough traffic, there are no conversions made, no sales made, no readers for your blog and so on – which means no business growth.
Say, for example, that a majority of your traffic comes from search engines. What happens if you drop in ranking and stop receiving as much traffic? You will essentially be left without a big chunk of new visitors and even return visitors, and until you can get that coveted ranking back, or find a new traffic source, you are likely to lose a lot of money.
That is why you need to work on finding and building up multiple traffic sources, such as various social networks, search engines, your email list, blogging communities, advertising and so on.
The more sources you have, the better – but, that doesn’t mean that you should forget about quality.
So, now the question is, what’s better: quality or quantity?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Why you need multiple #traffic sources via @lilachbullock” quote=”Why you need multiple #traffic sources via @lilachbullock”]
Quality vs. Quantity: the final results
In my personal opinion, it’s very difficult to give an exact answer to this question. In an ideal world, the best solution is a combination of the two: high quality sources, mixed with lower quality traffic sources that while not as great, they still help make some conversions.
However, you should definitely focus most of your attention on the highest quality sources, because that is where the money is. But, don’t forget about nurturing and growing your lower quality sources, so that you always have a steady stream of traffic to your website.
Instead of eliminating the bad traffic sources, you should also consider how they can be improved. Perhaps the way you promote your business or website on these sources is not relevant to the pages linked to. Or, you might not be targeting the right people. Before outright dismissing a traffic source, check first to see if there are ways of improving its quality, so that you can have even more quality traffic sources.
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In order to make sure you always have a good, hopefully ever-growing stream of traffic, you need to find the right mix of quality and quantity of traffic sources. Focus most of your attention on finding and building the best sources – but don’t forget about those smaller, less successful traffic sources, because, when push comes to shove, those can help you make sure you always have traffic coming to your website.
What do you think, what’s most important, quality or quantity? How many traffic sources do you have, on average and which ones are the most important? Let me know in your comments and please share:)