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Traffic vs. Conversions: What is the Difference and Why Is it Important?

Updated on October 27, 2015

Getting more traffic to your website isn't always better

Rgoogin at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, GFDL ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons
Rgoogin at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, GFDL ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons | Source

Have you ever asked yourself why you have a website? Are you only trying to sell a product or raise money, or are you trying to provide valuable information to the world? These are important questions to ask yourself about your business. Lots of emphasis is placed on having eye-popping keywords and great content to place yourself above your competitors, and of course to expose your site to high traffic. However, if you have no goal in mind, then you don't really have a purpose. Without a clear, measurable purpose, there's no obvious point in pursuing your online business.

Use content to drive traffic

Turn Your Words Into Traffic: Finally! the Secret to Non-Stop Free Targeted Website Traffic
Turn Your Words Into Traffic: Finally! the Secret to Non-Stop Free Targeted Website Traffic

Still looking for that traffic "silver bullet" for your website? It doesn't exist in paid subscriptions or the next great SEO guru -- it has to be an integral part of your site. This book addresses how the words on your site affect its overall long-term success.


What is Traffic?

Traffic doesn't refer to a bottleneck, as it might on the road, but rather is the number of times a visitor comes to your site. Generally, this is either counted as the number of clicks on links to your page or the number of unique visitors to your site. These are two important ways to count visitors to your site.

If your site only monitors email capture and the same people keep returning to your site, then that doesn’t show growth. But if your site is a personal blog where you constantly need repeat visitors, then that type of repeat traffic is highly profitable.

Spend some time getting into the minds of the type of people who need what your site offers. Are they casual readers who offer emails for a one-time deal or some free information? Are they motivated buyers looking for specific solutions? Are they on their lunch break looking for entertainment? Each of these types of traffic can be profitable to certain types of sites, but you need to know which ones you're going after. Remember, you don’t want “window shoppers,” you want people who are ready to buy in to your service, product or idea.

Untargeted traffic can severely deplete your website's marketing and operations budget, but only conversions offer the benefit of income and quality leads.
Untargeted traffic can severely deplete your website's marketing and operations budget, but only conversions offer the benefit of income and quality leads. | Source

What are Conversions?

This is basically a rate of accomplishment of the goals for your website. This rate shows the percentage number of your site visitors that are making purchases, leaving email addresses for correspondence, leaving feedback, etc. These types of visitors, called converting visitors, help to keep your site afloat and add value to it. These visitors are also the ones who help to pay your site hosting fees, URL registration fees, and any other business fees. If you didn’t have conversions, you would not see any profit from your site, if you were lucky to have a site at all. So, be very appreciative of conversions.

The Problem of Low Conversion Rates

When you check your traffic levels and and they appear low but you still have a decent number of conversions on your site, then your site may be surprisingly successful as-is. It's still a good idea to test multiple iterations of the site to see which ones work best, but you're obviously on the right track. However, if you have low conversion rates -- even with overall high levels of traffic -- it’s time for some serious change. Your goal is to maximize your profit while decreasing the amount you have to pay out, and certainly while eliminating the "deadwood" traffic that does nothing for you but bog down your bandwidth.

Conversion Strategies

Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion
Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion

Delve into website design with these proven strategies to help boost your conversion rates. Bear in mind that exact search engine requirements may change over time, but the marketing processes that develop around how people think still hold true over the years.


What you may have to do is start by having paid ads to attract visitors to your site. These ads are used on a pay-per-click or pay-per-impression basis. Pay-per-impression may seem like the better deal, but it's often more expensive if you haven't yet honed in on your target audience. In the case of pay-per-click every charge equals a certain action, whether that action is a visit, a download or some other objective.

You could just trust in organic traffic to your site through search engines because you don’t have to pay for it. If you’re getting a low conversion rate and not paying for traffic currently to your site, then your current organic traffic is not working. Keep tweaking your site SEO, layout, welcome messages and page titles until you start reaching the people you want to find.

What You Can Do

So you’ve realized that you’re not getting the traffic you want to your site because you have low conversion rates. First, start with quick, simple changes before you try to tackle anything bigger or more time-consuming. First, check the keywords that you use to optimize your site, and check your ranking for each of those keywords in the search engines. If you find results that are not in line with the way you are trying to present your site, then optimization may be at the top of your list of problems. This means that you may need to restructure your title, description, content, and tags.

Another tool to consider is backlinks. Backlinks produce a large income stream potential for your site, though recent algorithm changes have made them a bit controversial. Old practices stated that placing any "do-follow" backlinks on good domains would help your site, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. What you want to do instead is make sure that you have backlinks in places where potential customers will see them when looking for your product or service. You must also make sure that the starting page for your website is easy to navigate and easy to understand. Look at other websites and compare their setup to your own in order to see what changes or updates you may need to make.

What was your level of knowledge before arriving at this hub?

Do you know the real value of the traffic coming to your site?

See results

Programs tools like Google Analytics will help to give you an analysis of your site in relation to other competitor sites. This site analysis tool will give you information about where your traffic is coming from, their length of stay once on your site, and what competitor sites are luring visitors away from your site to theirs.

To understand the difference between traffic and conversions is to understand profit and loss. It’s great to have traffic to your site, but traffic will not keep your website in business. Conversions are what will keep your website in business continuously. So the two, traffic and conversions, work hand in hand to produce profits for your site.

Thank you for reading my hub; I hope it has been helpful to you. Now, I'd really appreciate it if you'd take a moment to comment below with the answer to one question. As a website owner, what is your single biggest frustration with tracking your website's traffic and sales? Please also feel free to offer suggestions of additional hub topics that would be useful to you.


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    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Very educational hub, wychic. I need to bookmark this one for future reference. I don't really write for money anymore, however if I do decide to begin again, I'll need hubs like this.


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