Covering the bases: Seven reasons for your platforms lack of traffic

Discovering Errors

Understanding your key traffic drivers and conversion metrics aside, another key metric you will need to monitor is your platforms overall usage. While it will not offer anything like the complete picture of your property, it can still inform you as to the health of your marketing strategy.

Remember, if your audience levels are lower than expected based on budgets, active spends, et alia, it is likely that you are making one or more basic mistake. Errors that need to be corrected.

Below are seven of the most common reasons for poor traffic.

Slow load times

If you have a large open access platform, systems resources can often be dominated by the myriad of bots and crawlers out there. Some of the crawlers such as Googlebot are good, others however are malicious. Monitor them via your server, or application log files. Ban the IP or bot at the server level if you notice a problem. After all, this is what firewalls are for.

If your server is located in the UK, but your audience is located in Australia then you will (1) be penalised by search engines; and (2) the server response time will be slower.

You can check your page loading times by using Google PageSpeed, YSlow and GTMetrix. From discovering errors, to highlighting resource usage, all of these services will help you better understand what is slowing your property down.

Server errors

Server downtime is always bad. Its even worse if you are spending marketing budget whilst the server is down. Upon discovering any error, always pause all marketing spend. Once fixed it could be worth waiting 24-48 hours before restarting your marketing activities in order to ensure that the ‘fix’ is indeed a genuine fix.

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Error codes to look out for:

  • 404 Not Found: If you see this common error code in your analytics it means that the requested resource is no longer available. This could be because it has moved, or the hyperlink the visitor clicked on has a typo, or illegal character
  • 403 Forbidden: Think of this as a rejection letter. The server, or application is rejecting your attempt to access a particular file, or folder. If using a Linux, or Unix-based stack it probably involves incorrect Read Write Execute privileges on a file, or folder
  • 500 Internal Server Error: This is often referred to as a general purpose error code. Numerous reasons for the error code being generated. Could be caused by anything from caching, mis-configuration, or resource usage spikes.
  • 503 Service Unavailable: This is often a temporary issue and caused by traffic spikes (nee scalability issues), a DDoS attack, or systems maintenance on a server-level. If you see this code then check your human traffic levels for spikes in the analytics software you are using. If you notice little to no difference then it could be a DDoS attack and/or crawlers attempting to flood your site. Check your firewall setting and amend as necessary
  • 504 Gateway Timeout: If you see this code, then it will be because their is a network issue between servers. Systems Admin professionals with access to the network infrastructure can solve it. It is always worth understanding and then optimising the relationship between servers
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Again, PageSpeed, GTMetrix and YSlow are your friends here. Use them to better understand the issue(s).

Poorly targeted social media campaigns

Social media is one of the most cost effective marketing tools you have at your disposal, and if you use it correctly, it can drive a lot of traffic to your site. However, a lot of businesses do not see the full benefit of social media because their campaigns are poorly targeted. You might be reaching a lot of people, but are you reaching the right people?

If you want your social media marketing campaigns to drive traffic, you need to keep a close eye on the important metrics so you can fully understand not just how many followers you have and what engagement levels are like, but also who is engaging with your posts. Unless you are reaching the right audience, people will not click through to the site.

Badly managed pay-per-click campaigns

A lot of people say that pay-per-click ads are ineffective, but that’s just because they are not using them properly. It’s not enough to pick a few keywords and post some ads, you need to do thorough research into keywords and keyword competition, so you can ensure that the right people see your ads and you are not being outbid by your larger competitors every time.

Pay-per-click campaigns are a lot more difficult to get right than people realise, so it may be worth hiring a digital marketing agency, like Click Hunt, to manage them for you. Once you start running pay-per-click ads in the right way, you’ll realise how effective they can be.

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Lack Of mobile optimisation

A site that runs smoothly and looks great on desktop will not necessarily be as effective on a mobile device unless there is a dedicated mobile version. Users will experience issues with certain aspects of the page not loading properly, and lots of endless scrolling to find what they are looking for. Most people will give up after a few minutes and never visit the site again, so it’s vital that you optimise the site for mobile.

Over 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices, so any property that doesn’t run well on mobile is going to suffer.

Complicated web addresses

The URL for your property should be easy to remember. If it isn’t, you will lose out on potential traffic. If people make mistakes and end up on the wrong site, they won’t sit around trying to guess the correct URL, they will just give up on the idea. When you are deciding on a URL, come up with something that is unique to your business, but also simple to remember.

On-page issues

Is the page in question indexed by search engines?

If indexed in search engines, is your platform optimised?

If your site is not indexed, is there something stopping visitors and crawlers from visiting the page in question?

Are you including huge files on the page that stops the page from rendering quickly?

Finally, ask yourself, is your content relevant?

If you are experiencing low website traffic levels, it is likely that you are making one or more of these mistakes.

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