When people talk about how successful or how valuable their site is, they often go back to traffic statistics. “My site earns 150 unique weekly visitors!” “My site brings in 1,200 monthly hits.” “My site has thousands of unique visitors every day.”
There’s an unspoken understanding between webmasters that these figures ignore fake traffic, though some site owners will try to boost the perceived value of their site by paying for unfocused, valueless traffic.
That’s one issue that comes out of traffic value discussions. The value of traffic comes from what that traffic does. If those users are focused, they’ll respond to CTAs, they’ll buy products and they’ll share social media posts. If they’re disinterested or fake, they don’t do any of that. If you’re buying a site, like through Flippa, you expect that the traffic comes with the site and that the traffic is focused and valuable.
Here are ten reasons why traffic is valuable, directly or indirectly.
A site with 2 visitors per month isn’t doing much with the space. There could be multiple reasons for that, but as it stands, the site can’t possibly be making a profit. It’s not a valuable resource; no one is referencing it. It’s nothing. Conversely, a site with a higher number of monthly visitors is a site that people are interested in. It can be improved – almost any site can – but it has a foundation. The goal then becomes two-fold; build more interested users and leverage them for profit.
It’s impossible to create a site, post a few blog posts and grow naturally. If no one links to you, if no one finds you, Google might not even index you. A site that has a reasonable volume of traffic is a site that has put itself out there and successfully drawn in users. Whether this is through targeted PPC or social marketing, or even print advertising, doesn’t matter; what matters is that some marketing has been done and that it has been at least moderately successful. It’s proof that more marketing can be done with more success moving forward.
When you have interested users visiting your site, you can monetize their presence. It might be through ads that pay on views. It might be through ads that pay on clicks or conversions. It might be through affiliate marketing or direct marketing. It might be through selling products. The point is, the audience represents one thing; potential. Those visitors can be converted into income, and that’s what most people want out of a successful website.
Sites with a fiercely negative reputation may gain traffic through viral visitors and counter-cultural protestors, but sooner or later the interest will die out. Even those sites may be considered successful. Sites with an ongoing level of traffic come with a positive reputation as well. It means people like the site enough to keep it alive, or at least don’t hate it so much as to report it to the people with the power to remove it.
This social power can come in several forms. It can come in the technological definition of social, that is, social media. A large audience on your website can be leveraged to create a large audience on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest or on any other social network. The same audience can also be leveraged for social causes, if the site angles that direction; supporting non-profits, helping the needy and other such issues.
You may have noticed that most or all of the entries before this on the list have one thing in common. That’s money. Sooner or later, it all comes back to money. Even a personal site, when it grows to a certain level, has the owner asking themselves how they can profit from it. Even if their profit just goes to site expenses and charity, it’s still leveraging that audience for monetary gain. When it comes to selling a site, that potential for income is a point in your favor. In fact, the “going rate” for a site is typically calculated based on how much money the site is bringing in on a monthly basis.
The social proof of traffic leads to more traffic. You can leverage your existing audience through social media to get them to share your site amongst their friends, bringing in more users. You can get those fans to spread your site via word of mouth. You can use user testimonials for more benefit. Traffic breeds into more traffic.
Want to build a mailing list? You need traffic for that. Want to funnel people to a specialized site following a particular cause? Those people need to be visiting your site in the first place, and they need to be interested enough to support you. Anything you could want to do with your traffic comes back to needing that traffic in the first place. You can’t have an impact on the web, you can’t do anything potent or valuable, without traffic to support you.
Having an audience to track is potent in and of itself. You can leverage that audience through Facebook to create lookalike audiences and expose your site to people just like your existing audience. You can track where your existing audience goes online and present your advertising messages to them on those sites through retargeting. Your audience is valuable to you even when they aren’t on your site.
Finally, traffic is proof that you’ve hit upon a subject people want to read about. Whatever the reason, they want to explore that subject matter in the way you’ve been covering it. It’s proof that you found a niche, found a keyword, found a place online to carve out as your own. With so many people competing for space online, having that space is value itself.
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