Where Should You Spend Your Time: Traffic or Conversion?

Getting more traffic to a company’s website will do absolutely nothing if that traffic immediately hits the back button and leaves. On the other end of the spectrum, a website with stellar conversion rates may be a waste of money if there is not enough traffic flowing in. Finding a balance between traffic and conversion rate optimization (CRO) is no simple task, and it often feels as if focusing on one means the other is bound to slide backwards. Anyone that has found themselves in this dilemma may want to take a look at exactly what these two metrics are and which could be the most beneficial for their own business.

An Explanation of Traffic and Conversion Rates

At first glance, traffic and conversion rates seems to be relatively straightforward. Traffic is the amount of hits that the site is getting every day and conversion rates are how many of those hits lead to a sale. Many business owners will come to find out that interpreting this data is much easier said than done. Pouring over the numbers from programs such as Google Analytics might not always give as clear a picture as one would think. Owners need to be sure that it is actually potential customers that are being pulled into the site. Conversion rates are slightly more difficult to interpret and most people will use data such as the time spent on site, where they came from, and their click-through rate.

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

For most businesses, conversion rates are going to be in the single digits. This means that practically any money spent on CRO will result in higher profits. This can be tricky, however, because a mishandled CRO campaign can actually drive away traffic. Owners can think of the initial CRO as catching the “low hanging fruit” if their site is currently underperforming. This is also a great way to increase the site’s ROI (return on investment). Businesses that have already put money into a website and some basic online marketing will increase how much that investment is bringing back to them.

The Benefits of More Traffic

The primary benefit of getting more traffic is that it can be much easier than CRO. As long as the owner has gotten a feel for what does and does not work when it comes to bringing in traffic, all they have to do is increase the amount of time and energy spent on what works. Increased traffic is also predictable when it comes to how much will be made off new visitors. If conversion rates have hovered around 1 percent for the past few years, then any increase in the traffic will have a predictable increase in profits. A final thing to think about is the fact that increasing a site’s traffic is essentially risk free. Unlike a CRO campaign that could actually harm conversion rates if done incorrectly, more traffic will always be neutral at worst.

Which Should I Be Focusing On?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer that is going to be right for every business. When it comes to creating long-term growth, shifting focus over to conversion rates will produce great results as long as it is run by an experienced and dedicated team. An influx of traffic may provide immediate gains, but it can be an expensive proposition to continue pushing for higher numbers every single month. The third option is a balanced approach that can provide slow but steady growth, but this will make it difficult to gauge exactly what is working and what must be tweaked.