Social Marketing Fella

What to Do When Your Website Traffic Drops

For months things had been flowing smoothly with your e-commerce site. Traffic was steadily increasing, your conversion rate was high and sales were booming. Then suddenly, it all came to a halt. Like a busy freeway during commute hours, your site’s traffic came to a near standstill.  And now, you’re now faced with the question of what to do when traffic drops.

Well, It’s time to hone your analytical skills to figure out what happened and why.

Here’s where you start.

Are Your Keywords Still Ranking?

A huge factor in the flow of your organic traffic, how well your keywords rank will absolutely determine the amount of search engine traffic delivered to your site. If your purple passion pajamas have been consistently showing up as the first result when someone types “romantic sleepwear” you’ve been getting a nice bump in traffic from it.  However, if those delightful PJs suddenly drop off the first page, you’ll get fewer clicks and a traffic decline. In this instance, the ranking of your keywords is the most likely culprit. It’s time to perform some keyword research to figure out what you can do to get those purple pajamas back on the first page.

Is it Just A Slow Time?

Experienced retailers know to expect to a deep trough on sales charts right after the holidays. In a similar fashion, most businesses tend to be seasonal in nature. If you’re in the time of year when fewer people have reason to seek what you’re selling, this will kill your traffic. To find out, use Google Analytics to examine your year over year statistics to see if there is a corresponding pattern.  If so, and you want to eliminate it, broaden your product line to encompass items that will appeal to customers during your current slow periods. This is also a good time to refresh the look of your site and create a free logo to telegraph the evolution of your business.

Did a Trend Shift?

Let’s face it; those purple passion pajamas might well have a sell-by date. In the late 1990s, green was the color of favor with Volkswagen Jetta buyers. Demand was so high dealers commanded sticker price for green Jettas, while the price of every other color was negotiable. Then, the trend shifted to silver. Green Jettas languished unsought, while silver ones came off the truck already bought. Run your highest ranking and highest traffic keywords through Google Trends to see if there have been any such paradigm shifts in your area. It could turn out to be black is the new purple and you’ll need to adjust your business accordingly.

Did Your Competition Get Stronger?

It’s entirely possible that none of the above applies to your situation and your strategy is still working just as well as it always has. However, while you were motoring blissfully along, your adversaries changed their tactics and are now ranking higher than you.  There are a number of website change monitoring tools you can employ to keep an eye on your primary competitors to see if this is the case. While it might irritate you to discover someone is playing better than you, it’s also an opportunity to learn and up your game.

In most cases, these factors will determine the volume of visits your site accrues. Now that you know what to do when your traffic drops, you can keep an eye on these things and mitigate them before they happen. After all, any good general will tell you it’s far better to plan an attack than it is to react and defend.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at:


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