From an inbound marketing perspective, website traffic is a key metric to determine how many people visit your site and therefore have the opportunity to begin the buyer’s journey and become a customer of your business. While there are plenty of metrics between a website visit and conversion into a paying customer, the larger the number of visitors to your website, the greater the odds that more people will reach that final step of purchasing your product or service.
At Growth Labs, we turned our attention to the metric of our website traffic for two additional reasons:
- Building websites and marketing them is what we do. We are constantly innovating and analyzing to determine the best practices we can use both for our business and that of our clients.
- We aim to be an expert in the field of inbound marketing. Our website is both our tool to attract customers and share our expertise with a community web developers, designers, and marketers.
After several months of blogging, our traffic and thereby our list of contacts and leads had stagnated. Following one viral blog post in August 2016, we had hoped to gain momentum with a total of 641 visitors; however, our numbers fell back down and then got stuck around the 400-500 visitors-per-month range. Even with the surge in our referrals and direct traffic in August, we were not able to maintain the visitors and yes, it was pretty frustrating.
Our strategy to increase traffic took a three-pronged approach to address several of the sources from which we receive visitors to our site during a four-month time period:
Increasing Blog Volume
With an increase in team members contributing to our blog, we turned our attention to both the number of blogs we published each month, as well as the consistency. In the two date ranges in question we published the following:
Overall Publications on Growth Labs Blog
|Blog Posts||Weekly Medley||Total|
|Time Period 1: August-November 2016||12||17||29|
|Time Period 2: December 2016-March 2017||15||18||33|
Even though the number of posts themselves only increased by about 14%, the consistency at which we published blog posts was the main contributor to our number of visitors each month. For example, between August-November 2016, 7 of the 12 blog posts were enthusiastically published in August, which is likely the reason for the high traffic that month and large drop during the rest of the period.
During the other 3 months during Time Period 1, the Weekly Medley was a great way to maintain activity on the blog, however, our strategy during Time Period 2, focused more on more consistent content creation during the December 2016- March 2017 date range. On average, we published a rounded average of 4 posts per month, which likely had a greater impact on driving consistent growth over this time period.
Consistent Promotion Tactics
Other than just increasing the amount of content that we regularly published on our blog, we also diversified and created a regular schedule for our blog promotion strategies. For each blog we published, we did the following to promote it:
- Scheduled numerous social media posts
- Sent an email to our email list that linked to the blog post
- Posted the blog on our Medium account
Through these 3 tactics, we aimed to increase the sources of traffic related to social media, email marketing, and referrals:
Sources of Visits to Growth Labs Website
|Social Media||Email Marketing Visits||Referral Visits||Total|
|Time Period 1: August-November 2016||176||42||385||603|
|Time Period 2: December 2016-March 2017||352||25||423||800|
Over these time periods, these three sources of visitors provided a relatively large number of visits, in addition to the organic search and direct traffic sources that were targeted by increasing our blog publications. Although our email marketing traffic decreased, the overall increase from these three traffic sources was approximately 33%. Other than the increase in referrals driven from Medium and other sources, our increase in social media visits doubled!
Broader Social Media Engagement
Beyond scheduling posts to promote our blog posts upon publication, in Time Period 2, we also began to schedule time each day to engage on social media by liking, commenting, and sharing relevant articles in the sphere of marketing, web development, and design. While we actively use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, most of our efforts for our daily interaction focused on Twitter.
Social Media Visits and Net New Followers
|Overall Visits||Net New Overall Followers||Visits from Twitter||Net New Twitter Followers|
|Time Period 1: August-November 2016||176||43||5||43|
|Time Period 2: December 2016-March 2017||352||837||78||810|
By increasing our engagement on Twitter during Time Period 2, we increased our web traffic coming from Twitter by 1460%. However, when analyzing the data, a large number of our website visits coming from social media actually came from Google+.
When it comes to more long-term web traffic increase though, our efforts on Twitter have generated a larger base of followers to grow our community. During Time Period 1 we actually gained 43 Twitter followers, but lost 2 Twitter followers, as well as 2 Google+ followers. Meanwhile during Time Period 2, our new Twitter followers accounted for 96% of our overall increase in followers to reach our current stat of 1,049 followers.
As a result of the efforts mentioned above, it is evident that all played a part in increasing our website traffic at a more consistent rate over Time Period 2 when compared to Time Period 1. Particularly when looking at the organic search (green), referrals (yellow), social media (aqua), and direct traffic (blue), these showed more steady and consistent growth compared to the moreerratic traffic from these sources throughout Time Period 1.
Overall, our traffic nearly doubled between the end of Time Period 1 with 437 visits in November 2016 and the end of Time Period 2 with 845 visits in March 2017 with a total increase in visits of 93%. Most notably, while in Time Period 1 our number of visitors fluctuated in a smaller range, during Time Period 2 it grew an average of 20% each month. In addition, because of the tactics we chose across diverse channels to address the different sources of traffic to our site, we hope to continue and increase this pattern of growth.
Although the efforts made by our team to increase website traffic focused a lot on the quantity of publications, posts, promotion, and time we spent on engagement, an underlying factor to the success of each method in our approach was the consistency with which we did all these things. As a result, we did not see the fluctuating and stagnating website visitor numbers from Time Period 1, but rather the monthly growth pattern in Time Period 2. Based on the theory that all of our content creation efforts build on one another to create a community of visitors who visit and follow our content, this consistent, high quantity production of high quality content is the sweetspot for how we doubled our traffic in just 4 months.
Based on our findings and these conclusions, Growth Labs is committed to maintaining this pattern of consistent growth to achieve a higher quantity and quality of website traffic. While increasing numbers is always exciting, we seek to more actively engage with our community to both continue sharing our expertise and gain contacts and leads for our services. As a result, we are actively refining our content creation strategy for our blog to target keywords where we can rank. In addition, as a result of our findings, we are developing a more proactive content calendar where we publish new blogs at a steady, consistent rate. We look forward to analyzing our results over the next 4 months and into the future as we continue evaluating the success of our efforts to increase the number of visitors reaching our website.
Now take a look at your marketing and content plan. Here are some questions for evaluation:
- Are you releasing content on a regular basis?
- How are you promoting your content?
- Are you engaging with your audience or just throwing content at them?
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