If you are a content creator, you may wonder how your visitors reach your website. Perhaps you don’t even know if you can influence the traffic source on your website and if you can gain something thanks to it. Because it’s your audience – and not content itself – that makes you prosperous. Let’s dig deeper into these questions and see what are the main traffic types, and if they influence the monetization method you use to earn money from your content. Let’s explore!
What is website traffic?
Simply speaking, website traffic refers to web users who visit your website. When measuring the traffic number, it doesn’t matter how often users come back to your website, if they stay for a longer period of time, or if they perform any action there. This concept considers only the number of visitors. Web traffic is measured in visits, sometimes called “sessions,” and is the simplest (but not the most truthful) way to assess whether the website is prosperous or not. If the website gains significant traffic, it will probably foreshadow success for the content creator, but if not – it will need changes to impose interest.
In the past, when any other metrics didn’t exist, traffic measurement was the most important and common way to determine website potential and popularity. However, nowadays, there are many more ways to measure online success. Thus, traffic numbers became less important to accredit other methods that would say more about website effectiveness. As digital publishers have become more experienced, website performance analysis has become more comprehensive. We know that website traffic is not the only reason a website generates revenue. If you have a lot of traffic but apply a poor monetization method, your efforts to earn money soon will back themselves into a corner. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean traffic is not significant anymore – it is, and interestingly, there are a lot of opinions out there about how much traffic you need to make money from a website. But, most of all, you need to understand, that you need to use your traffic resources effectively to gain any result from your monetization efforts. How you deal with your traffic – that’s what’s the most essential here!
What is direct traffic
Direct traffic is a type of traffic leading directly to your website. Anyone who types your website’s URL directly or clicks on a link in their bookmark list (a list of saved websites on someone’s search engine that quickens the time to enter a website thanks to automatic shortcuts creation) is seen as direct traffic. Unfortunately, assessing whether users come directly to the website is difficult. Direct traffic happens to be lumped together with organic traffic. This misinterpretation leads to enormous numbers of direct traffic that isn’t direct and makes publishers misjudge their website capabilities. However, it’s not always their fault. Browsers don’t always know where users come from when visiting a website. Thus, even the best analytics tool can’t always determine where traffic originates from. The tool may correctly assume that a given user wasn’t redirected, but still won’t know where they’re coming from. As a result, the analytics tool may automatically dump them into the direct traffic sack. And here, the concept of “uncategorized direct traffic” comes in.
Uncategorized direct traffic
Here are some of the reasons why you might be seeing really high numbers of direct visits (which aren’t actually direct traffic):
- Your website is not secured
If you haven’t secured your website yet, you still surely have an HTTP site. Some website creation platforms secure your website automatically while creating it. However, sometimes, it doesn’t work like this, and you end up with no SSL certificate. If you don’t purchase it externally, your analytics tool won’t track any visitors from secure HTTPS websites. That’s simply how their security protocols work. If you want to change that, you will need to buy a third-party SSL certificate to update your site to be secure. Then, your analytics tool will be able to see all the redirect information you need from users visiting your website.
- Incorrect redirects and missing or malfunctioning tracking codes
Anyone could forget to put the tracking code on their landing pages. It’s a small mistake, but it can turn your analytics results upside down. Let’s imagine the user visiting your web page. When they want to see another page of yours, they need to click a link with a tracking code that redirects them there, so they can carry on exploring your website. If the code is incorrectly put, the whole process of tracking starts all over again. The analytics tool cannot recognize if the action was performed by the same person. The same visitor who clicks a referral link with the code on your website from an incorrectly tracking landing page will appear in the tool as a new visitor. Simply speaking, to your tool, it looks like you are redirecting the new user to your site by yourself. Similarly, if you use improper SEO practices for your redirects, you risk removing UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters. The more complex redirecting chains are, the higher the possibility of removing referrer data, simultaneously increasing fake direct traffic numbers.
- Traffic from mobile apps, desktop software and e-mails
The app market is still growing, but the truth is that mobile app users do not provide referral information. It’s similar when it comes to desktop software and some e-mail redirects. The only way to acknowledge the problem, in the case of e-mails, is by noticing a spike of direct traffic in your analytics tool right after you send out a newsletter to subscribers or run an extensive e-mail campaign. And it’s quite a good scenario, as when it comes to mobile apps and desktop software, traffic tracking is even more challenging and in some cases, impossible.
What is organic traffic
The other name for organic traffic is search traffic, considered by many to be the most beneficial for websites. It’s easy to confuse it with direct traffic, but fortunately, organic is more explicit, so it has no “uncategorized” version. Let’s say you want to increase your organic traffic and maintain a steady stream of these types of visitors – it will require an effort to create a good SEO strategy for your website. SEO is fundamental for website rankings and must be considered when creating prosperous content. If you write without proper SEO practice, chances are you won’t find big audiences.
On the other hand, if you have a good one, your hard work will be well rewarded. Organic traffic is the most appraised by many advertisers and publishers because it’s generated by position in search results. Naturally, the higher your site ranks for searched queries related to your content and niche, the more organic traffic you’ll see. The ultimate goal of most inbound marketing tactics is to optimize the position you take in search engine rankings to increase organic traffic. This type of visit emerges from the users who came to the site by previously performed intentional research. As a result, they see your site as an organic result from a search engine that showed them exactly what they were looking for. As you can see, it’s a win-win situation, benefitting both users visiting the website and its creator.
That’s not all!
Ok, you just got to know the two most confusing types of traffic – organic traffic and direct traffic may cause some trouble to understand, so I hope that after reading this article, it’ll be a bit clearer for you. And if you feel like a traffic expert already, hold your horses before you swim to the open sea – that’s not everything! There are several other types that you need to understand to be light on your publisher’s feet. If you want to know more about that, you may be interested in what are the other traffic types. See you there!