Should I focus on increasing my conversion rate or growing website traffic?

Setting aggressive website traffic growth goals may sound like a great idea, but increasing site traffic has very little business impact unless you are converting visitors into leads and customers. This is why revenue oriented marketers are more concerned about optimizing their website’s conversion rate then they are about growing overall site traffic.

What’s a conversion rate and why is it so important?

A website’s conversion rate is essentially the percentage of site visitors who complete a desired action. Depending on your business model and the goals of your website a “conversion” could be:

  • An ebook download
  • A request for more information
  • Signing up for a product demo
  • Watching a video
  • Entering the shopping cart
  • Sharing content on social media
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Booking a sales call

Inbound focused websites have at least three conversion goals, each of which is designed to target website visitors in different stages of the marketing funnel. For instance, to help nurture leads towards a more sales ready state you could offer:

  • Top-of-funnel whitepapers
  • Middle-of-funnel live product demos
  • Bottom-of-funnel free product trials

Each of these content offers requires website visitors to signup, or “convert” from an anonymous visitor to a sales lead.

Consider the following example – Which is more important? More traffic or conversions?

If your website is currently attracting 5,000 monthly unique visitors and converting only 1.8% of those visitors into leads, that means 98.2% of people represent a lost opportunity.

In this case would you rather double website traffic or reduce the percentage of lost opportunities to just 96%?


As you can see, a slight conversion rate improvement can actually generate more leads and revenue than a massive increase in traffic. Let’s now consider what would be involved in achieving each of the two scenarios outlined above.

How do you grow website traffic by 2X?

It is very unlikely that you could achieve such an aggressive traffic growth goal with just one tactic, instead you would need to employ a number of tactics including:

  • Improving your site’s SEO
  • Blogging more consistently and more frequently
  • Investing more heavily in pay per click advertising
  • Improving your email marketing click-through-rate
  • Building an engaged social media following
  • Gaining more backlinks
  • Targeted guest blogging

While each of these tactics are important components of a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, none of these tactics are going to produce a 2x lift in site traffic overnight. You may have been lead to believe otherwise but in most cases blogging, SEO and social media typically require several months of consistent work before they really start to generate significant results.

Let’s now consider scenario 2

How do you improve your website’s conversion rate?

Keeping in mind that conversion rates can vary for every industry and business model, there are a number of factors that consistently impact a website’s ability to generate leads.

Typically when we look to improve our client’s conversion rates we focus on a few core activities:

  • Introducing or improving on page calls-to-action
  • Integrating various points of conversion throughout the site
  • Leveraging conversion centred design best practices
  • Using persuasive and action oriented site copy
  • Ensuring the site is responsively designed

Unlike many of the traffic growth tactics that we addressed in scenario 1, improvements to your website’s conversion rate can often be achieved in a relatively short time frame. In fact, many of these activities can be launched within a few weeks and then continuously measured and optimized for on-going marketing performance. Thanks to analytics tools like HubSpot, Google Analytics and Visual Website Optimizer we are able to quickly gather statistically significant insights and make data driven decisions that directly impact revenue from online sources.

While there are certainly advantages to growing website site traffic, there is almost always untapped revenue to be generated from your website visitors who are not converting into leads.


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