This post originally appeared on The Dog Trainer's Umbrella.
Your website can be a highly effective and engaging tool in your sales process.
But all too often, it's… well, not.
When a website fails to lead to clients, many business owners decide it's the website's fault — they need a new one. The design is too busy; the content is too riddled with mistakes; they need better pictures; they need to give potential clients more information; they need to quit overwhelming clients with too much information… the list goes on (and on).
However, I'm here to let you in on a secret — for many of those businesses, it's not the website that's the problem.
It's a lack of traffic.
How To Figure Out Why You're Not Getting Clients
Many business owners don't realize that in order to get one person to contact and hire them, they actually need many, many more to visit their website. In fact, when Unbounce surveyed 400 marketers, 74.4% said they'd be happy with a conversion rate of 20% or less. That would mean 1 person out of every 5 would "convert."
… And often when marketers are talking about conversions they're talking about signing up for an email list, or downloading a resource, not necessarily making a purchase.
While that's what marketers would be happy with, Unbounce notes that the actual overall industry average is 9.7%. And in my experience, dog trainers' websites convert slightly lower than that. Still, if we assume that ~10% is a reasonable goal to aim for, that means in order to have 10 potential new clients contact you, you'd need 100 people to visit your website.
So before you can decide whether your website is doing it's job or not, you need to look at how many people are coming to your website now, and how many of those people it's convincing to reach out. To figure THAT out, you need to know how many people contacted you from your website, and how many people visited your website over that same period of time.
I recommend looking at both numbers over the course of a year. When looked at over that period of time, what is your conversion rate? Is it less than 10%? More? How does your site compare to the "average" Unbounce shared?
How to Increase Traffic So You Can Increase Clients
If you pull the numbers you may find your website is doing a fantastic job — maybe it's even converting at better than 10%! The actual problem is there just aren't very many people visiting your website.
Fortunately, that's something we can fix!
In fact, there are only 6 ways someone can get to your website. They are:
- Direct: By typing your website address into their browser.
- Referral: By clicking on a link to your website from another website.
- Social: By clicking on something on social media that leads them to your website.
- Email: By clicking on a link in an email that takes them to your website.
- Paid: By clicking on a paid ad (such as a Google Search Ad or Facebook Ad).
- Organic: By doing a Google search, and choosing your website from the results that come up.
And that's it.
A Little More on How to Increase Traffic…
If you want to increase your website traffic, you'll want to pick one (or two) of those options to focus on, and choose strategies to try and increase traffic from those sources. So, what might that look like?
Direct Website Traffic
Direct website traffic is website traffic from people who type in your URL directly. Most often, that's going to be because they found your website address somewhere offline — for example, on a brochure their vet gave them. When you advertise in a newspaper or put a magnet on your car, that's all likely to count as direct traffic… your potential client will copy your website URL directly into their browser.
The one exception to this is loyal clients may ALSO type your domain name in directly, once they know and love you and have it memorized, or saved on their computer. Those website visitors will also count as direct traffic.
Referral Website Traffic
Referral Website Traffic is traffic from visitors who clicked on a link on another website that brought them to your website. If you are listed in the CCPDT or IAABC directories. and those listings include a link to your website, when someone clicks that link they will be counted as "referral" traffic. Getting links to your website anytime you're mentioned in news articles or event listings online can help increase traffic in this way.
However, there are a number of "link building" services out there that employe practices Google frowns upon — so be careful about paying for links or hiring companies that say they can get you links from random sites. You want the links you build to make sense for your business.
Social Website Traffic
Social website traffic is exactly what it sounds like — traffic that comes from social media. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social networks Google can track. If you choose to focus on building up traffic from social media, you'll want to put some thought into what you're posting and sharing on those sites and how or if they are leading people from that platform to your website.
Having active social profiles can certainly be beneficial, but if you're not ultimately pushing them to your website, then those sources won't actually grow your website traffic.
Email Website Traffic
Email Website traffic is also fairly self explanatory — it's traffic that comes from an email. This may be traffic caused by someone clicking on a link in an email you send out, or it may be something like a client referring you to a friend by sharing your website via email. Either way, that traffic gets counted here.
There is one important additional note on email website traffic however… for some reason, sometimes Google can't tell when someone has come from an email, and may mis-classify that traffic. Sometimes Google instead sticks it into an "other" category (aka Google saying they don't know where that traffic came from) or they may even occasionally count it as direct traffic. If you see an "other" option in your Google Analytics or your direct traffic seems oddly high, this may be why.
Paid Website Traffic
Paid traffic is traffic that comes from a paid online ad — typically Google Adwords. When you pay for Google Adwords and someone searches for a keyword or term that you've placed a "bid" on, your ad shows at the top of the page. This can be time consuming to set up, but is perhaps the most obvious way to simply pay for more traffic, and can certainly be effective when done well.
Organic Website Traffic
Organic website traffic is traffic that comes from search results. So, a potential client goes to a search engine (ex: Google) and types in something like, "Dog trainers in Raleigh." Then Google shows them a list of websites it believes are a "result" for that search query. If you come up in that list and the person searching clicks on your website, then that counts as organic traffic.
There are many, many (many) factors that determine what sites Google shows in search result listings. The practice of optimizing a website for this purpose is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. One of the most common ways websites work to increase their organic traffic is by blogging — blogging allows them to create new pages on their website written just to appeal to specific search queries that potential clients might put into Google.
Is It Working? Monitoring Your Results
Once you've chosen 1-2 options for increasing traffic to your website you'll want to spend 30-60 days implementing strategies and techniques to grow traffic via those methods. Then, you'll want to check back in! When you look at Google Analytics 60 days later you should see an increase in traffic via the marketing methods you chose to employ.
If you don't, then it's time to make a different choice, or re-evalute your methods for trying to grow traffic from those sources. That is to say, if it's not working, it may be that it's a bad choice for you and your business, or it may be that because it's a "new to you" thing, you need to learn more about how to do it effectively.
Once your website is getting at least 100-150 visitors a week, you'll be able to decide more effectively whether or not the website itself is working for you… and then from there whether or not you want to redesign the site, do a complete overhaul, or just make a few tweaks to improve results.
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