Your website is often the first and most important point of contact with prospective customers or clients. They look to your website for a take on your brand, insights about your products and services, and how to take the next steps. You should be measuring traffic to your site and metrics like a click-through rate or bounce rate on a regular basis so that you can understand how much time visitors spend on your site and where you might be losing them in the sales journey.
But what if you notice a swift decline in traffic to your website? Decreased site traffic and higher bounce rates put marketers in crisis mode. If you haven’t changed anything significant on your site or in your marketing strategy, the next question is: what’s going wrong? Many digital leaders complain about changes to search-engine algorithms or simple problems like broken URLs as the cause of stalled site traffic, but those are likely only a piece of the puzzle.
Analyzing year-over-year website analytics will help you identify the origin of any problems affecting your website traffic.
With a high-level perspective on your site’s performance, it will be easier to determine where you can improve your digital strategy to reach more prospects. If fewer visitors are making it to your website, here are five questions to help identify the problems.
Is there a tech problem preventing visitors from reaching the site? Look at your website’s analytics to determine if there’s a pattern in visitor behavior. Can they make it to the homepage but can’t reach other pages, or vice versa? One of the most common causes of a steep decline in website traffic is a tech issue impacting your site’s operations. Before you go into more detailed troubleshooting, verify that these essential functions are working properly:
● Does your website have any broken URLs?
● If you use a website hosting service, are they encountering outages?
● Was something recently changed in your website’s code, and did that change result in an error?
Have you prioritized SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) makes it easier for visitors to find your website and reach your content. Without SEO, your website may not rank on search engines, and it will be more difficult for visitors to find you. If you haven’t prioritized SEO, you may see a decline in website traffic.
An SEO strategy is layered. You must intersperse keywords and terms throughout your website’s design, and you should also create new content that uses those keywords regularly. You need a combination of both to boost your SEO ranking. You can also conduct keyword research to determine which words will most impact your brand. Settle on a few keywords and incorporate them into your strategy to boost your ranking. If you don’t see any change in your website traffic and search ranking over time, go back to your research and try a new set of keywords. Ultimately, improving your SEO strategy takes time and effort, but it will improve your brand’s reputation and help you reach more customers.
Are your paid advertisements effective?
If your website traffic is slowing or stalling, look to your paid ads strategy to determine if there are any issues with your campaigns. Many companies rely on paid advertisements to direct users to their website, so a steep decline in traffic may occur when paid ads stop working.
The effectiveness of your paid ads can be impacted by multiple things. You may be using the wrong platform and struggling to reach your audience because of it. If you don’t have a clear CTA on your paid advertisements, readers won’t know where to go next, which can mean less effective ads. If your website is seeing fewer visitors and you’ve recently changed your paid ads strategy, assess your advertisement metrics to determine why visitors aren’t making it to your website.
Did this decline happen at the same time last year?
Website traffic can be seasonal. The holiday season is extremely busy for some industries, and then interest and website traffic slows down at the beginning of the year. If your website is experiencing unexplained declines in traffic, look at the previous years’ metrics. Can you identify any patterns in your visitors’ behaviors? Before you revamp your entire marketing strategy, look at your year-over-year data to determine if there are consistent declines and increases in the number of visitors to your website. This will both help you troubleshoot the issue of declining traffic and create a more impactful digital strategy based on insights about your prospective customers.
Do you understand changes to search engine algorithms?
Algorithms change all of the time—much to the dismay of marketers—and this can complicate search rankings, SEO strategies, and the overall reach of your website. Stay informed about changes to search engine algorithms so that you can learn how to optimize your website and digital marketing. When an algorithm changes, assess your digital strategy to determine if you need to make any adjustments.
If you notice a change in your website’s metrics, ask these five questions to identify the issue. Take a proactive approach to website management by measuring essential metrics—like site traffic, bounce rates, and more—all the time. With more data available, it will be easier to determine if a change in site traffic is a seasonal issue or if there’s something bigger driving the problem. Address changes to your website’s performance by looking at them from a higher level to understand how your marketing efforts perform over time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Ohanians Accidental Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, and CEO, WebEnertia
Since founding WebEnertia, Inc. over two decades ago, Steve has led the company as the CEO and partnered with many of its clients to transform their business and brand objectives into compelling digital experiences. He has worked with leading global B2B brands like Intel, Cisco Systems, Citrix, VMware, and more. He is an accidental entrepreneur. He co-founded WebEnertia because he was obsessed with designing and building websites in the ’90s, not because he wanted to scale and grow an agency. But it is that same passion that motivates him to push the needle forward for his agency and the world of digital, 20+ years later.