Why traffic doesn’t always matter (and what to focus on instead)

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is: “How do I increase my website’s traffic?”

But if that’s the only thing you’re focusing on, you’re missing out on identifying huge opportunities to improve your business.

Once people visit your site, are they signing up? Making a purchase? Subscribing to your newsletter? Engaging with your product?

If you’re only thinking in terms of traffic, you’re not thinking about your end goal. Remember that traffic is just one part of the overall equation.

Imagine you’re selling a taco recipe book. If you had a 1% conversion rate, you would need to bring in 100 visitors to your website to get a sale.

Or, you could focus on increasing your conversion rate from 1% to 2% by creating an effective headline. As a result, you would only need to bring in 50 visitors instead of 100 for each sale.

By not understanding the other metrics that affect your business, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to know which actions will have the biggest impact on your business.

Click here for an in-depth guide on the five metrics every entrepreneur should know.

Or you can continue reading for the summary.

Every Successful Entrepreneur Knows These 5 Metrics

I’ll bet you a lifetime supply of tacos that every successful entrepreneur knows what the pirate funnel (AARRR) is.


Where is the traffic to the website coming from?

Why It’s Important

There are over 19 different marketing channels you can leverage to bring traffic to your website.

You need to prioritize which channels to focus on. And the best way to do this is by understanding which channels contribute the most to your website’s traffic and conversions.

What You Can Do

Go to Google Analytics, click on “Acquisition” → “All Traffic” → “Channels”.

You want to do more of what already works, so identify which traffic sources currently bring in the most traffic and brainstorm ways you can focus and scale those channels.

Examples of other things you can do with this information:

  • Increase direct/search/referral unique visitors: Improve either the number of people typing in your url into the browser, coming from google, or coming from another site.
  • Interactions per visit: Even if your visitors don’t convert, by increasing the amount of time they spend on your site, you could leverage the increased time into increased conversions.
  • Increase click-through-rate: Improving the effectiveness of your ads at inspiring an impression to act and visit your site.


What do your users do once they get to the website?

You need to ask yourself, what do you want your visitors to do when they’re on your website?

Once you know what you want your visitors to do, that’s the action you should use to decide who should be considered a “Converted/Activated User”.

Why It’s Important

The truth is, the number of visitors on your website is just a vanity number. It’s great for giving yourself an ego boost, but in the end, you need those visitors to perform some sort of action.

What You Can Do

Again, go to Google Analytics, click on “Admin” → “Goals” → “+New Goal” → Create your goal

Once you’ve created your goal, Google Analytics will track your goal performance and attribute it to the appropriate sources.

There are several ways to track your performance. If you want to track by referral or traffic sources, go to Acquisition → Channels → Click “Goal Set 1”

Examples of other things you can do with this information:

  • Increase number of trials started: If you notice that you have a high conversion rate from trial to paid users, you may want to focus on encouraging visitors to sign up for trial accounts.
  • Increase email subscribers: Turn your blog visitors into subscribers by asking them to give you their email using Welcome Mat or List Builder
  • Optimizing your bounce rate: If you’re driving in a lot of traffic but they’re all leaving without doing anything, focus on decreasing your bounce rate (e.g. reduce page load time)


How often are users coming back to your website?

Awesome! After all that hard work, you’re finally getting the traffic and conversions you deserve. There’s just one problem. A bunch of your customers are leaving because they aren’t happy with your product.

One of your biggest challenges to growing your business will be retention, and it’s one of the most important metrics to keep track of. That’s because it costs 80% less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one.

Image taken from CTV Calculator

Why It’s Important

Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of the most important metrics you need to know. All it takes is a small improvement to your CLV to have huge gains to your bottom line.

Graphic inspired by GrooveHQ

What You Can Do

Find out your Net Promoter Score (NPS) by sending a survey to your subscribers:

A NPS survey is super easy to fill out and only asks two questions:

  • How likely are you to recommend [your product] to a friend or colleague? This question will help you identify who your biggest fans are (a score of 9–10), your normal customers (a score of 7–8), and which customers are at risk of leaving (a score of 0–6).
  • What is the most important reason for your score? This question will help you understand the reason behind the score to give you ideas of how you can improve your business.

Examples of other things you can do with this information:

  • Increasing the number of returning visitors: Encouraging users to check into your website (blog/ecommerce store) frequently.
  • Increasing your monthly active users: Increasing the number of people who frequently use your product. The more they use your product, the less likely they’ll leave


How do you make money?

All the previous steps in the funnel were to prepare you for the most important metric of them all — Revenue.

In the most simplest terms, you’ll want to know your average revenue per user.

Why It’s Important

To get into the big leagues, you’ll need to start scaling by spending money to make money. And the only way you can do this is if you know your average revenue per user and customer acquisition costs.

By doing so, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend. Would it make sense to spend $100 to acquire a user when they are only worth $50? No of course not!

What You Can Do

To do this, you’ll need to know these three key adspend metrics:

  • Unique Impressions: You’ll want to know how many people will see your ad. Remember, there’s a big difference between unique impressions and just impressions, 10,000 impressions doesn’t mean 10,000 people saw it.
  • Click-Through-Rate: How many people will click on your ad? Most ad platforms will give you a benchmark you can use for your assumption. You’ll want to run tests to get a more accurate CTR value.
  • Average Revenue per User: How much is each customer worth? Remember, for there to be a return on your investment, your revenue-per-user has to be higher than the costs-to-acquire that user!

Examples of other things you can do with this information:

  • Reduce cart abandonment rate: The percentage of people who started the checkout process but did not complete it
  • Increase average order size: Improving the number of products people buy on your product or encouraging visitors to select the more expensive pricing plans
  • Increasing your customer lifetime value: Increase the revenue associated per customer over the course of their relationship with your business


How many people are sharing your website?

Getting referrals is one of the cheapest sources of traffic. Once your customers are using your product and even paying you for it, it’s much easier to get them to refer your business.

Why It’s Important

Keep an eye on who is talking about your brand so you can build a relationship with these folks and foster any leads they’re bringing in.

The people talking about your brand in a positive light are your potential brand ambassadors, influencers, and community members. These are the people who will happily be a part of your focus groups and help you improve your product.

What You Can Do

Check out Mention for real-time monitoring. Google Alerts is always a good fall back as well.

If you notice your customers are referring your product often, consider building an actual referral program incentivizing and rewarding them for referring your product. The rewards might be swag, a discount, event tickets, partner giveaways, etc…

Some other great tools you could use are ReferralCandy, Friend Buy, and Referral SaaSquatch.

Examples of other things you can do with this information:

  • Increasing your net promoter score: Increasing the likelihood of your customers to refer your business
  • Increasing your viral coefficient: How many the number of invites your customers sends to their friends, and the conversion rate of those referrals
  • Increase number of social media shares: The number of times your content is shared on Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Pinterest/Instagram etc…

Want more?

This post was just a summary of our massive 7000 word article that goes into greater detail with more examples.

Check out our full guide by clicking here: Why traffic doesn’t always matter (and what to focus on instead)

Did you like this guide?

You can also read more from our blog:

1. Growing A Site From 0 to 10K Visitors A Month

2. How To Science The Shit Out Of Your Marketing Strategy

3. 130 Ways To Get More Website Traffic

Work free tools and guides on how to grow your online business? Over 435,000 websites use products made by Sumome. And over 1 million people have read our blog.

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