Traffic

So, What Exactly is a Lot of Traffic?

Day in and day out I check my stats on PMetrics. I admit, I’m addicted and it’s become a bad obsession. Sometimes I sit for hours (or at least minutes) watching visitors interact on the site via Spy. Not sure if I should commend the programmers or curse them.

Anyways, since I’ve had my site up, it has grown steadily and plateaued twice. The first plateau happened around 400-500 unique visitors a day. At that time, I was indexed well in Yahoo, but Google was refusing to list me. I struggled along at that level for months – may even have been close to a year — I didn’t really keep track and then one day — BOOM — I jumped up to 800 visitors a day. It was a happy day. I danced, I rejoiced. Google finally got around to listing me. Unfortunately that’s about where I’ve been ever since.

I have to admit, I rely heavily on search engine traffic for visitors. I have never gotten the hang of getting links from prominent sites in my niche, and feel really odd about begging for them — so I don’t. I get the feeling that is more about the level of tech know-how in my niche and not so much about whether my site deserves it. Of course, I’m a little biased there, but there are comments in forums all over the place that say I’m not doing a half bad job.

I see the tips about commenting on other blogs and developing relationships with other people in my niche. I’d love to, honest, but very few good blogs exist elsewhere on my subject where I can develop those relationships. I’ve looked. In the end, it means my strategic linking goals aren’t panning out very well. About 7-12% of my traffic comes from links other than search engines – so unfortunately if I ever lose my rankings, things are going to hurt.

I keep trying to increase traffic levels and I’ve seen excellent comments about my site in forums all over the place. It feels like I’m on the edge of another explosion and every day I check and see the same numbers. Sometimes it spikes above a thousand, but mostly it hits the same mark day by day. Maybe I’m overly optimistic and I’ve tapped out my current niche…

How do you determine the saturation point of your niche? That point where no matter what you do, you’re not going to get another increase. How do you know when you’ve tweaked everything as much as it can be tweaked and you are getting the most traffic you are ever going to get? I realize more content, means more search terms and possibly more visitors — and overall that’s basically all I do in hopes of increasing traffic. I look at my site and what my visitors are asking for in the forums and then give it to them. Hopefully in the end, that is the best strategy – although hope is not really a viable course of action when you are looking for success.

One thing I want to be careful about is diluting the overall theme of my site by branching off into other areas, but at some point it naturally has to happen, unless topics are absolutely endless in your niche. Either you branch out or you build another site.

Maybe that is the way to go? A few smaller sites that all together make up a larger number of people. So when do you decide that your site has peaked and it’s time to spend less time on it and more time on another venture? If this is your avenue of growth, I think you have to be very careful and ensure the community that you built around your current blog is self sustaining. If you don’t you go spend hours on another site that you were using to nurture your community and suddenly you take that away — can’t be good for business. In my case, I have built a large community of users. Unfortunately, not enough experts and a lot of beginners are frequent meaning if I spend less time on it, the community is going to suffer. I like to think I’m overly important I guess. Attracting tech savvy experts in my niche has not been an easy task.

So, What is a good level of traffic for a site? I realize in some niches it may be 300 visitors a day and others it may be 30000. There has to be an “average” consensus. What constitutes a decent traffic level? For example:

  • 0-100: Quit while you’re ahead
  • 101-500: There may be hope
  • 501-1500: Low, but getting there
  • 1501-5000: Medium – Should be making a decent income
  • 5001-????: High – enjoy life on the island.

I think if you devise some method to determine the maximum size of your niche, then you have some way to know when your site has met is maximum traffic potential. You will get the signal you need to stop putting anymore resources – time and sweat into it and add something else in order to continue your upwards income climb. It’s also the signal that you better have a site that takes care of itself (or you’re paying someone a portion of the profits to take care of it for you), so you can devote some time to something else.

How do you determine whether your hitting a decent traffic level in your niche?

Author: Chris Berry

12 thoughts on “So, What Exactly is a Lot of Traffic?

  1. And I’ve been delighted that I’ve reached 60 this week. Ahem. In my defense however, I’ve only begun my blog in the last 30 days. If I reach 800 hits per day, I too will be doing the happy dance. Till then, 60 is making me pretty happy.

  2. Thank you for this really interesting article. I’ve been thinking abit about visitor numbers for the past few weeks (the site receives between 300-400 unique hits on average) which is small by any large blogger’s standards, but for a fansite of a Japanese band, I’m hoping it is decent for a niche area, but is definitely ‘may have hope’!

    I can only presume the site has already reached saturation point with the existing content, and the only really viable way of increasing the number of visitors, would be even more news (wondering which ones to write up first at the moment) as well as the band promoting itself overseas (which it is doing slowly) to reach a larger audience. At the moment, I’m trying to figure out the best way of redoing the layout of the site, as I do really like the existing design, but feel that maybe it is worth updating the look after one-and-a-half years.

  3. @davidlind – right you are, I constantly want more traffic and I doubt that when I achieve any goal I set, I’ll be happy with that. More traffic = more conversions = bigger island.

    @candyaddict – in it for the money or for the topic? Both – I love what I’ve built but it sure doesn’t hurt to bring in some cash – especially when the strategic plans I have for the site/business mean a lot of expansion and network building both on and offline.

    @pholpher – I agree completely and constantly tweak to increase the conversion rate – testing everything in controlled ways. I’ve built a substantial monthly income with 800 visitors a day – which excites me and gets me thinking — what if I could double, triple, or somehow explode that number…Problem is, as I posted, not sure if I can in my niche. Researching and writing is basically the only traffic building strategy I have – and it isn’t a quick one – but in the end, I’m sure it’s the best one.

    @Jennifer C – I do think there is a limit in a niche. Nice to think that we could just work harder and have a never ending increasing supply of visitors, but at some point, getting that extra visitor probably requires more work than it’s worth. I think if you’re seeing a huge increase in page views with an increase in work — then you’re not even close to saturating your niche. I work plenty hard and do not see a huge increase which means I’m either doing something wrong, or I’m reaching everyone already. I don’t think I’ve saturated things – or have even scratched the surface — so I’m still searching for the magic formula.

    If only I could buy the island, I’d have somewhere nice to do my searching from…

  4. I go by the month. I guess out of habit because most of my blogs pay me per monthly page views. I want over 100,000 at all my blogs. I arbitrarily picked that figure. Maybe once I reach it, I’ll choose a new number. I don’t go by niche because I think that limits my drive as a blogger. Say, I decide well, this niche can only get 60,000 a month; guess I’ll quit trying once I hit that niche number. I recently got 130,000 at one of my blogs (smaller niche) but I was really trying plus scored some nice stumbles. That was for a blog that usually only gets around 60,000 page views a month.

    I just need to try harder at all my blogs; not just my favorites. Right there is my problem. Overall though, I think we should assume we can get as many page views as we want – if we try. Sure a Brad Pitt niche is easier to do that at, but it’s not impossible at any niche. I have one super dull niche blog, but even there my pvs go way up when I really smack down and work at it.

  5. On few of my websites I reached some kind of maximum visitors that I can get per day.
    No metter of SEO activities that I have traffic is the same all the time.

    I hope this will change soon

  6. Nice post. Thanks for telling us your experience.

    I agree with candyaddict. The overall traffic trend is more important than the actual numbers.

    Also, I think it’s better to look at revenue rather than traffic. John Chow (johnchow.com) hasn’t grown his blog a lot when you look at his traffic numbers. However, when you look at his revenue, he’s figured out how to make a lot more money with the same traffic numbers. There are ways to increase your revenue per unique visitor through various monetization methods.

    To increase traffic, you might want to try doing keyword research and writing articles based on relevant keywords. Also, have you tried marketing on the forums in your niche?

  7. I have thought about this very same topic a number of times. I don’t think you can necessarily put it into a set of numbers that works for everyone. Suppose I had a blog on “underwater basketweaving while wearing knickers”. Probably not a big market there and if I got 5 visitors a day I would be a success. Now flip to a celebrity blog – who knows what the limit is for a celebrity gossip blog?

    The way I would look at it is this: are you steadily (or even slightly) increasing traffic month over month? I thought I had peaked once or twice but if you look at the overall visitor graph month-per-month, my traffic has increased almost every month.

    It also depends somewhat on your goals. Are you in it for the money or are you in it because you enjoy the topic? The answer to that question would lead me down two different paths.

    And about the island…… I am almost at 5000 a day and I am nowhere close to an island. For me, 4000-5000 = mortgage payment

  8. A very subjective thing depending on your lifestyle and needs. No matter how many we have we want more. Because we want to grow. It’s a competition to see who can be number one. And the number one guy (whoever he is) is always concerned that he will be overtaken. I think it’s called a rat race in some circles.

    Onward and Upward
    –C.S. Lewis

    Virginia Breeze/davidnotes.com
    My Photoblog /photolinklove.com/

  9. Wow, a few minutes ago I thought 800 wasn’t half bad…now it feels a little small. At 100K unique visitors/day I could buy the island in a very short time. (assuming my conversion rate stays the same).

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