Updated February 10, 2016
I’m often asked this question: What is good traffic?
It’s one of those questions that isn’t easy to answer, but here’s my advice…
Speaking the same language
Let’s make sure when we say “traffic” we’re talking about the same thing.
First, there are a lot of stats and metrics involved with traffic. Examples: unique visitors, visits, hits (although “hits” is such a vague, unhelpful term in my opinion). They all measure and indicate different things.
Second, you have to specify a time period for which you are measuring traffic. I’ve heard statements like, “Her site has over 1 million visitors!” Alright, but are you saying she has over 1 million visitors per month or are you saying she’s had over 1 million visitors since she began her site 5 years ago?
For the sake of example, let’s talk pageviews
For many years, especially in the days of display ads, “pageviews” was used when conversing about traffic in general. Unique visitors or unique visits are stats that are talked about more these days, but for the sake of this example let’s concentrate on pageviews.
A pageview is counted each time your site loads.
For example, when someone lands on your main page and your site appears on the screen, that’s one pageview, because your site loaded. The visitor might scroll down to read (still the same pageview) and then click over to another one of your posts. When they click, your site will load that new post (on a new page) and that will be a second pageview. And so on.
In general, when bloggers talk about traffic in pageviews, the default is monthly pageviews (as opposed to daily or weekly or yearly).
So, how many monthly pageviews is good?
Well, it depends. There are site owners for whom 500 pageviews a month is fantastic. There are bloggers for whom 50,000 monthly pageviews would be mediocre. There are bloggers for whom 500,000 pageviews would be devastating.
The age of a website or blog, niche, popularity and purpose are all things that would determine what is good and what is not-so-good.
(But let’s be real here, many times the reason why we want to know if our traffic is “good” is because we are comparing ourselves to others. That’s a quick route to discouragement.)
Measure your site against your site, not against other sites.
A better question
Instead of asking, “Is my site’s traffic good?” first ask, “What is my site’s main goal and am I reaching it?”
Why are you asking the traffic question in the first place?
Do you want to make money and aren’t sure if you have enough traffic to do so? Do you want to build a strong, intimate community? Do you want to know if a move to a more robust hosting plan is warranted?
Another way to ask the question better is, “Is my site converting?”
In other words, are the people who visit your site converting from a simple visitor to someone actually doing the thing you want them to do? Is the main thing you want to accomplish happening?
- If your goal is to make money, are you making money?
- If your goal is to get people to sign up to your email newsletter, are they signing up?
- If your goal is to build community, are your readers interacting?
Your answer will help you define what a good amount of traffic is for you.
Using myself as an example
If you look at my traffic numbers over the years, you would see that it has been a slow, steady climb with a lot of seemingly endless plateaus in between.
At first, I found this discouraging. But that all changed when I realized my income (my main goal for this site) was increasing significantly from year to year as I optimized my site and refined my marketing strategies.
Suddenly I became much more interested in conversions rather than traffic.
Don’t look at numbers, look at trends
So to recap, my answer to the question “What is good traffic?” is this:
- It depends.
- Don’t get hung up on the numbers. What matters more is you getting closer to your main goal, which can only be defined by you.
- If traffic numbers are indeed important to you, look for an upward trend in your numbers. Is your traffic steadily growing from month to month? Sure, we all have months that dip & spike for all kinds of reasons, but if you look at the last 6 months or the last year, are your numbers steadily increasing? If so, then I would say you’re moving in the right direction.
- Don’t chase traffic, chase conversions.
Going back to the example of me
I may be satisfied with my income increase, despite my lack of traffic increase, but we all can see that if I increased my traffic, my conversion rate would also likely increase.
And that would be even better, right? Yes, it would. So in that way, don’t dismiss traffic altogether. Just have the right perspective.
Traffic is still important
If you want some tips for increasing traffic read my top traffic tips.