Traffic Analysis - Turning Traffic Into Sales

By: Jim Novo
2003-05-05

Question: About 5 months ago I started on a quest to make the best site possible, with the best content for the users that I wanted there. My URL is http://www.skateservice.com. Now that I'm actually getting traffic, I can't turn it into sales. I am an affiliate of the #2 online skateboard shop, but I'm not seeing any turn around from it. I place banner ads, and feature ads on my site, but no one seems to be buying anything. The whole purpose of the site is to make it an E-Zine type, with the option to buy products that I know the customer is in the market for. Any ideas or thoughts would really help me out here.

Well, there's a lot of questions underlying this one; there really isn't enough information provided to give you a direct answer. So I'll give you a general answer:

1. Content / Commerce Mix - Content sites tend to attract people who are interested in content, and may not be interested in buying anything. It is difficult to do both well at the same time, which is why many content sites sell ads, not merchandise. This happens offline too; it is very hard to be entertaining and sell things at the same time.

2. Traffic - You say you are buying ads and getting traffic, but all traffic is not created equal. The places you advertise and what you say in those ads largely determines the quality of the visitor and the likelihood to buy. If the ads you are running say "Check out the Free Video" than the traffic you will get is people interested in a free video, not people interested in buying stuff. So make sure you ads are the kind that will attract buyers. If you're not doing it yet, try using Google Adwords or Overture which are ad formats that tend to attract buyers. Make your ad merchandise oriented.

3. Tracking - do you have tracking set up, do you get reports from the store on how many visitors you are sending and if any of them are buying? Generally, if you are sending a lot of visitors but none are buying, then you are attracting the wrong kind of visitor for a merchandising idea. If you aren't sending any visitors to the store in the first place, then you probably aren't pushing the right merchandise or pushing the store enough in general on your site.

4. Affiliate Marketing - are you aware of the "commission stealing" game that is going on with many of the file sharing downloads? Last year, a lot of the software used to share music also ended up over-writing affiliate codes and replacing them with their own when a user clicked on an affiliate link, either with or without the user's permission. This situation is fluid and changes all the time, but just search Google on "commission stealing" and you'll find a ton of info on it. There are some tricks you can employ to try to keep this from happening. My guess is your target market is probably heavily into music file sharing, so you might be particularly hurt by this.

Hope the above helps!


See Jim's articles plus more reader Q & A at his expert page.

About the Author: Jim Novo has nearly 20 years of experience using customer data to increase profits. He is co-author of “The Guide to Web Analytics” and author of “Drilling Down:Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet”. If you want more visitors to take action on your web site, try using the free conversion metrics calculator, downloadable here. If you need to sell more to customers while reducing marketing expenses, get the first nine chapters of the Drilling Down book free at http://www.drillingdownbook.com.

Ask Jim a Traffic Analysis Question!

Traffic Analysis Turning Traffic Into Sales