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Traffic: Stop Thinking in Numbers, Start Thinking in Words

Recently I’ve been writing down the frequently asked questions from my SEO clients. Here’s a few you may recognize:

  • How much traffic do I need to make $10,000 a month in revenue?
  • How do I get people to click like on my Facebook page?
  • Why is no one following me on Twitter?
  • Are the only people online successful because they are famous?
  • How many links do I need to hit page one on Google?

These questions are asked on nearly every incoming call. Sure, the keywords and markets are different, but it’s my job to manage the clients’ expectations and to give them the facts. Most of the callers just want straight answers, but every once in a while, one of them will listen and start to understand what you really have to do to achieve good search rankings. I know that the community on ProBlogger is full of great listeners and learners, so here’s my advice from are three years of SEO knowledge.

Forget the numbers look at graph shapes

Okay, you can use numbers as a guide, but unless you’re starting a magazine or advertisement-driven website, why are you worried about figures? The difference in sales you’ll generate from 5,000 visitors a month or 10,000 per month is very small. Trust me—it is!

What you need to do is look at the graph shape for the past six months. Is it going up in the right direction?. If it’s not, see where your best source of traffic is, and look to add content to that source. For instance, if your Facebook page brings in 500 hits a month, add a couple of photographs a week, and maybe a video or two.

Look at integrating share buttons after a transaction

A fresh visitor doesn’t know you, but a buyer probably does. I read ProBlogger for two years before I gave Mr Rowse any cash, but when I purchased his audio book from iTunes I recommended the product afterwards on Twitter to 5,000 people.

I think that’s much more powerful, in terms of buying traffic, than quickly sharing a story. Have a chat to your web designer about this. integrating a share button after a transaction on your blog may take five minutes of coding and be cheaper than you thought!

Build your story

It’s surprising how many of the business owners I speak to are scared of the Internet. When I suggest they should have a photograph and a brief story about themselves on their sites, they shy away from the idea.

Look at every successful business out there, and you’ll quickly see a trend: there will be a face attached to the logo on the company’s website and other media. In most cases, a short story is included to make the owner more memorable. An example is GaryVaynerchuk—from his story, you quickly get to know he’s a family guy, wine expert and loves the New York Jets.

I always ask my clients to start slow and build up to that—maybe begin with name and photo, or even an illustration of their faces. Over time, as they become more comfortable, build up to mentioning their hobby or hero, for example. It’s a great exercise that will improve your whole website. I’m working on mine at the moment!

Imagine you’re the visitor

We’ve all seen thousands of websites. So these days when we visit a site, what goes through our minds? “Nice logo? Not interested.” (Well, maybe graphic designers are.) “Blog posts? Not that great.” Most bloggers aren’t that great at writing compelling posts, and good content on its own isn’t going to stop a visitor pressing the Back button.

My advice is to think of it like this: your mission is to keep a brand new website visitor on your site for two minutes. I’ve found that’s a pretty good incentive to get a client to make the changes I’ve mentioned here. Try that for yourself, and let us know how you go in the comments.

David Edwards is the founder of www.asittingduck.com and now working as a freelance consultant, finally!

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Comments

  1. from past 2 weeks I am facing same problem, as traffic not growing, just still. I have to look for the past sources.

    • Ivan says:

      Be more focussed eg Money Blogger is too generic so choose a specific topic eg financial investment for over 65s and zero in on that.

    • Have a look, and where you have had success, try and add a few extra bits of content.

      All the best!,

      David Edwards

    • Hi guys,

      I just wanted to let you know the new website is now live. It has a nice link to this guest post and it should make a lot more sense now with the branding!…

      Thanks for your support,

      David Edwards

  2. Whizzing through lots of sites with Stumbleupon is a great way of assessing your own landing page. Whizz through a load of sites and suddenly click to your own landing page: gives a really good perspective of what a new visitor sees in that crucial first second (if they stay that long!).

  3. It took me a long time to put my face in my logo. I honestly just didn’t want my blog to be all about me. Finally, I figured out that I was my blog, whether I liked it or not.

  4. Stefanie says:

    I really admire what Gary has been able to accomplish and I’ve tailored a lot of what I do around what he shares in his book Crush It. I’ve also started looking at my traffic and being mindful of what referral sources are providing the most traffic to my site.

  5. Samantha says:

    Referral traffic is important to me more so than SEO, in an ideal world I know we’d all like to see more traffic generated from referrals other than the search engines. Looking at your history in traffic growth and where it is coming from is essential for making improvements for continued growth, great post thanks.

    • Graham Lutz says:

      I’m with you, Samantha. I’m more interested in referrals and than in SEO. It may be because I’m not an expert at SEO, but I do think that a trusted referral is worth a lot more.

    • Thanks Samantha, appreciate all the comments… ;]

  6. Graham Lutz says:

    My graph is looking good! Sounds like it will start looking even better now! I’m in the process linking a share button to a freebie, like an ebook, ecourse, or report.

    I’ll let you know how that goes!

  7. jackoo says:

    my visitors come from referral traffic than SEO. it is hard for a new begginer blogger like me to fight with other in SEO. but the graph is better every day. i’m with samantha Too.

    but the way, i’m running experimental domain now with blogspot domain to looking for a nice for my desire.
    sometimes you should go to the forum… i got much traffic from the forum…

  8. Hey David,
    Great points that you added here. It’s important to focus on providing value to your readers and they will become eventual customers.

    We can’t be shy about adding a pic of ourselves and a short bio on our blog/website.

  9. Tikyd says:

    It really seems to be about conversion, thus more about quality than quantity. This being, for a person who is still starting out, I think that it might be necessary to try out several things and then focus on what works. It reminds me of a comment I made on youtube about the 4 Hour week. It seems to be easier to make a business more efficient when data is available.

  10. Edison says:

    Thank you for the post. I think it’s not on the quantity of traffic that you are getting. Traffic numbers could help but quality is the most important. If you have a great content the pierce through the emotion and needs of you audience then they will create a buzz about you. That buzz will give free traffic to your website. That’s when you get quality traffic that will lead to conversion.

  11. I love this post. We focus more on the numbers that we loose touch of what we need to do to get the numbers increasing daily.

    Thanks

  12. What you mentioned in this article is so truth but sometimes we’re so obsessed in achieving results that we miss the greater picture. This post is an eye opener..

  13. The Dame says:

    I want to know how I can get someone to evaluate my blog and tell me what needs to be added and subtracted for the better.

  14. This is a great post. I really learnt a lesson from it.

  15. WebCareFree says:

    This is a really good tip. We will definitely consider these great ideas and share them with our blog readers.

    Thanks!

  16. Excellent thoughts about creating traffic. Quality work or output should really be out priority not the monetary value if we want to succeed in this aspect.

  17. pepper says:

    As someone who works with the mommy blogging society I quickly learned that numbers don’t tell the whole story. There is this if you follow me I will follow you mentality in this crowd. But what do you really get besides numbers if you do this? You get high numbers but who is really coming back?

    As a 10+ year blogger from the generation of bloggers that believed it was the relationships you create through your blog not numbers matter I always disliked this follow to be followed idea. Luckily I think that the mom bloggers are learning that all this does is inflate your numbers.

    • Hi Pepper,

      I realised that after about a year!… With running an online business, there is only a few things you can actually do and you just repeat the process over and over.

      But every day other people are inventing new distractions from your work!… Darren will probably agree with me on this,

      “Whoever Invents The Most Distractions Wins”…

      Thanks again,

      David Edwards

  18. Nick Lawless says:

    Great post David and I really like the part about a ‘share’ button at the transaction page – i’m definately going to use that when I start selling.

    I just got back from a seminar on the weekend ‘instant profit seminar’ by Alex Jefferys (where I also met DAVID by the way) and a recurrent theme there and here in this article is to stop chasing the sales and really start focusing on delivering great content to your customers (see tips above). If you engage your audience they will keep coming back and converting sales should be easier.

    Thats what all the experts are saying and I guess I will see for myself soon enough. I’ve started my own blog to track how I go following advice like David and Alex. Hopefully it will be a living example!

    Thanks David, I will be sure to listen to your advice!

    Nick

  19. zacharie says:

    how would you build traffic on a tight budget. The only way I know to promote is through facebook, twitter, and youtube.

    • You’re using the best social platforms, try and work on getting to know the readers you have got even if it’s 5 readers a month, email them, skype them!… If they are happy for you to do that. ;]

  20. Buck Inspire says:

    Hi David,

    I’m still building my story. Also great reminder on thinking how the visitor feels. I forget sometimes as I am just churning out my posts. Thanks for the advice!

    • Nice!, most of the business for me has happened over the phone or face to face, I guess the old skool methods of relationship building will always be around!…

  21. Sarah Rees says:

    It was lovely meeting you at the marketing event,

    Keep in touch,

    Sarah

  22. Great blog. I am new at this and I need to get up tp speed quickly. You have so many great posts. This is one of the largest blogs I have found. A great resource.

    Thank you,

    Christopher