Build Traffic or Optimize for Conversions? A Chicken or Egg Debate
Wondering whether you should be prioritizing building traffic or optimizing for conversions? Here’s the case for each.
I currently have a client trying to decide what to prioritize: building traffic to his website or optimizing current content for lead conversions. It’s a chicken-and-egg-style debate. If you don’t increase traffic, who will be on your site to convert? But, if you don’t optimize for conversion, what good is traffic to your website?
As with any chicken-or-egg question, there is neither a simple nor a definitive answer. What you should prioritize at any given time is highly individual, and dependent on factors unique to your business. Consider the case for prioritizing each, while evaluating and bearing in mind where your business is in building its online presence.
The egg: the case for prioritizing traffic
Maybe you’re confident the egg came first—after all, in some ways, it’s the obvious answer. Without traffic to your website, there’s not much point in optimizing for conversion, since there won’t be any leads to convert in the first place. According to AudienceBloom founder and CEO Jayson DeMers, there are three main points to the case for prioritizing traffic:
1) Brand recognition
Conversions aren’t the only thing of value that comes from a traffic-heavy website. “Every visitor who makes it to your site will have the chance to see your brand, read your content, and become more familiar with your company,” says DeMers, writing for Forbes. Building traffic to your website lets you reap these benefits, which will naturally drive up your conversions over time.
2) Long-term strategies
Because effective traffic-building strategies pay off exponentially the longer they’re in place, it makes sense to put them first. Giving your SEO and content marketing efforts time to build momentum ensures that you’ll reap the maximum benefits.
3) Optimizing for value
The best way to determine if your conversion strategy is working and how to improve it is to collect and analyze data. A high traffic volume gives you a testing ground. “Without a steady stream of visitors to test,” says DeMers, “you’ll be flying blind.”
The chicken: the case for prioritizing conversions
Maybe you’re one of those people who wonders where the egg comes from in the first place. While it’s true that without traffic, conversions are unlikely, it’s equally true that a website that isn’t optimized for conversions is not to your best advantage. DeMers again sums up the three main arguments for prioritizing conversion optimization:
1) Low investment, high yield
One of the best things about conversion optimization is that, while it does require ongoing efforts, your initial process is relatively cheap and easy. Check out our guide for creating effective landing pages, for example, and you’ll discover that optimizing for conversions doesn’t have to break the bank.
2) Traffic optimization
This is where quality is more valuable than quantity. “Focusing on conversions first instantly makes every visitor to your website more valuable,” says DeMers. Even if your traffic volume isn’t massive, if your conversion rate is higher, you’re ahead at the end of the day.
3) Reinvestment potential
If your business has limited funds to invest in website optimization, prioritize conversions. “Assuming your conversion strategy is successful early on,” writes DeMers, “the extra revenue you’ll generate from all your new traffic will give you more money you can use to invest further — in the realms of both traffic and conversion.”
The scramble: why you should balance your effortsWhether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see… Click To Tweet
Whether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see meaningful results,” points out DeMers.
So far, science hasn’t been able to settle the chicken-or-egg question. In the same way, we can’t tell you whether it makes sense for you to put a higher priority on traffic or conversion optimization. But thinking through the case for each should help you decide what makes sense for your business. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one basket.
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