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« First, do no harm | Main | The five step brand lifecycle »

Silly Traffic

This is a truth of the Internet: When traffic comes to your site without focused intent, it bounces.

75% of all unfocused visitors leave within three seconds.

Any site, anywhere, anytime. 75% bounce rate within three seconds.

By unfocused, I mean people who visit via Digg or Stumbleupon or even a typical Google search. If your site is spammy or clearly selling something, the number is certainly higher. If you’re getting traffic because you have a clever domain name, it might be even higher. I don’t know of many examples where it is lower.

It’s good for your ego, that’s certain. You can brag about hits if you can get away with it, or pageviews or visits. But the bounce rate is still that scary 75%.

So, what should you do about silly traffic?

The tempting thing to do is to obsess over it. If you could just convert 10% of the bouncers, you’d be increasing your conversion rate by almost a third! (7.5% is about a third of the 25% who don’t bounce). There’s a million things you can do to focus on this, and almost none of them will show you much improvement.

One other thing you can do is get hooked on the traffic, focus on building your top line number. Keep working on sensational controversies or clever images, robust controversies or other link bait that keeps the silly traffic coming back

I think it’s more productive to worry about two other things instead.
1. Engage your existing users far more deeply. Increase their participation, their devotion, their interconnection and their value.
2. Turn those existing users into ambassadors, charged with the idea of bring you traffic that is focused, traffic with intent.

“I’m just looking,” is no fun for most retailers. Yet they continue to pay high rent for high-traffic locations, and invest time and money in window displays. Very few retailers lament all the traffic that walks by the front door without ever walking in. A long time ago, they realized that the shoppers with focused intent are far more valuable. Smart retailers work hard to get focused people to walk in the door and to keep the riff raff walking on down the sidewalk.

Your website can do the same thing. In fact, you might want to make it more likely that bouncers bounce, not less, but only if those changes increase the results you get from the visitors you truly care about.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Silly Traffic:

» Web sites that make you run away, make you stay from Quicken Loans Blog - THE DIFF
The good, bad and ugly come to light as Quicken Loans team members consider Seth Godin's post today on "silly traffic." How do some retail web sites do at attracting the right people on their home pages, and what are other sites doing to scare everyone... [Read More]

» Web sites that make you run away, make you stay from Quicken Loans Blog - THE DIFF
The good, bad and ugly come to light as Quicken Loans team members consider Seth Godin's post today on "silly traffic." How do some retail web sites do at attracting the right people on their home pages, and what are other sites doing to scare everyone... [Read More]

» How to Use Customer Newsletters to Nurture the People Who Really Matter from Simon Payn's Effective Customer Newsletters
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» Chapter the Next, Wherein the Author Gets Fan Mail from Maximum Customer Experience Blog
... And Finds Herself Inspired to Whip Off a Huge Email Response :) (Anybody surprised?) Kelly, I just recently found your blog via Big Bright Bulb. Your success and exceptional blog content are an inspiration for me. [Dear Kristen. I [Read More]

» The problem with losing the big picture. Clickthroughs from Richard Yong
A curious advertisement. A spinning lady. Is she spinning left, or right? I clicked on an ad with that picture and was brought to the SAAB site. I'm sure the click through statistics are impressive. But that's what happens when [Read More]

» Getting the occasional rebound from dustbury.com
Seth Godin declares: This is a truth of the Internet: When traffic comes to your site without focused intent, it bounces. 75% of all unfocused visitors leave within three seconds. Any site, anywhere, anytime. 75% bounce rate within three seconds.... [Read More]

» Post 301 from bethsblog
Today I'm celebrating my three-hundred-first post. It's been 15 months of waking up excited to sit down at the computer and type what's rolling around in my head... or create a photo album, or publish a new recipe, or wax [Read More]

» is your site traffic silly? from seachangestrategies.com
Most of it probably is. In a short and useful blog post, Seth G. defines silly traffic as visits from people who are coming to your site without focused intent,  that is, folks who are not coming to accomplish a specfic task.  he argues... [Read More]

« First, do no harm | Main | The five step brand lifecycle »