Whether you’re working with an online business or a brick-and-mortar bolstered by an online presence, one question is destined to come up: how many visitors should your site get?
Some tracking software makes it easy to gather metrics, but what does it all mean? A screen of numbers doesn’t magically transform into a successful marketing strategy and more visitors. Understanding and interpreting your site’s analytics (users, sessions, bounce rate, etc.) is the key to building, adjusting, and implementing the proper plan for growth.
To understand how many visitors your site should get, you will need to:
- determine how many visitors are typical to websites in your industry
- establish a goal based on the variables (industry, size, user experience) of the company
- create a reasonable plan with actionable steps to execute a successful marketing strategy
How many visitors does a website typically get?
It depends. With the number of websites available on the web, it would be impossible to narrow this question down to one answer. Fortunately, there are tools and resources to help you make an educated guess.
Before diving into monthly website visitors, it could help to understand the breakdown of website traffic. As of 2019, the statistical data platform Statista outlined the distribution of worldwide website traffic by its source. The breakdown is as follows:
- Direct (55%)
- Search (29%)
- Referral (13%)
- Social (2.5%)
- Paid Search (0.5%)
As you analyze other companies and industries, you can assume that typically, over half of their visits come from direct searches. Most visitors are landing on a particular webpage because they typed the URL into the address bar. Understanding that more than half (55%) of visitors come from direct traffic and more than a quarter (29%) come from search engine result pages (SERPs), use this knowledge when combing through the metrics of other companies.
How do you find these statistics? Platforms such as SimilarWeb, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Alexa offer website traffic information for many domains. While these websites will push out an impressive list of metrics, take this information with a grain of salt. Unless the information is coming from the company, and even then, you can’t assume that the data is foolproof.
The following table compares traffic breakdowns from SimilarWeb (SW) and SEMRush (SEM) for five companies.
Pages Per Visit
You’ll find that the same website differs in every single metric provided by Similar Web and SEMRush. While you can’t assume which platform is more accurate than the other, you can use a combination of information from different sources to make an educated guess and average.
Amazon (amazon.com) and Youtube (youtube.com) are two of the most visited websites globally. While SimilarWeb doesn’t offer monthly visitor data with their free version, SEMRush does. For August 2021, the platform lists Amazon and Youtube domains with 669.2M and 1.6B unique monthly visitors, respectively. To clarify, 1.6 billion different people made their way onto the Youtube website in August 2021 — according to SEMRush.
While the numbers will vary, you can still create a snapshot of how many visitors a website typically gets. Unfortunately, it is harder to find this information for small and medium-sized businesses versus large corporations.
How do you scale this information to your business? There are a series of factors to consider when determining how many visitors your site should get and setting a “good” number as your goal.
How many unique visitors per month is good?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. First, are you evaluating a B2B, B2C, or hybrid company? B2B companies have a target audience of other businesses and organizations. B2C companies target direct consumers. One can infer that the potential for more unique monthly visitors for B2C companies is greater than that of B2B companies simply because their target audience is exponentially larger. B2B companies use niche marketing to sell particular products or services to a specific group of businesses while B2C companies focus their strategy on the needs, interests, and challenges of people in their everyday lives.
Taking note of the business model, determining how many monthly unique visitors is “good” for your company depends on your answers to the following questions:
- What is the standard in your industry?
- How much content do you produce?
- How well is your content strategy working?
- What is the search volume for your targeted topics?
- How competitive are your target keywords?
What is the standard in your industry?
To make an accurate guess of where your company should be, determine the industry standard. To do this, evaluate your competition. Using tools like the previously mentioned SimilarWeb and SEMRush, you can create a general overview of your competitors, and use these statistics to establish an average for your industry.
How much content do you produce?
The more content you have available on your site, the more opportunities you create for visitors to find it. How much new content are you producing? One? Three? Five or more? The size of your team will affect the amount of content you’re able to create. If you find that you’re unable to produce new content, consider expanding the size of your team to meet your needs.
How well is your content strategy working?
To fix something, you need to know if it’s broken. Evaluate whether your content strategy is working. Are you ranking for your keywords? Have you seen an increase in views over the last few months? Where is the bulk of your traffic coming from? Once you can determine how your site is currently performing, you can take active steps to create an effective content strategy.
What is the search volume for your targeted topics?
Search volume for your targeted topics is directly related to the demand for that information, product, or service. High search volume can mean more visitors; however, this is directly affected by the competitiveness of your keywords.
How competitive are your target keywords?
A combination of these factors affects your website’s unique visitors per month, but it boils down to competition. The more competitive your target keywords, the harder it is to rank on the first page of a SERP. The more competitive the industry, the greater the chances of having potential website visitors split among the competition.
Other factors that can affect your number of unique visitors per month are security, accessibility, mobile-friendly web pages, and user experience.
Establishing a safe and secure website with an SSL certificate can boost your reputation and relationship with future consumers. Not only does it mean less time worrying about potential security incidents, but it allows your visitors to insert their information into your systems with confidence.
Fifteen percent of the world’s population are persons with disabilities. Many still use the web, and businesses must ensure that their content is accessible. Accessibility is not a feature, and making your website convenient to all visitors is not a bonus but a necessity.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly for cell phone users, you’re cutting off a large portion of potential visitors. In 2019, the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) estimated that around 2 billion people accessed the internet via only their smartphones. The report also stated that this number will be equivalent to 3.7 billion people (or 72.6%) by 2025.
Click-through rate and bounce rate are metrics that help determine the user experience on your website. Evaluate them together. While a high click-through rate is positive, a high bounce rate is negative. Click-through rate is the percentage of people who visit your page after it comes up in a search. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who arrive and leave your web page quickly after landing on it. A high bounce rate sends search engines a signal that your content isn’t relevant to the users and negatively affects your rank.
Once you can evaluate your industry, website, and content strategy, the next step is to set goals and execute them.
Setting Reasonable Goals For Website Traffic
Focus on the word “reasonable.” A goal to reach 10,000 monthly visitors next month might not be a stretch if you garnered 9,000 visitors this month; however, if your website receives an average of 2,500 monthly visitors, this goal might be less probable. Setting a realistic and attainable goal is the key to creating the proper marketing strategy for your business.
Define Your Goal
First, define your goal. Analyze your current metrics and that of your competitors. Let’s use HelloFresh and other meal kit delivery services as an example. The company’s direct competitors include Home Chef, Blue Apron, and Sunbasket. The ranking for their monthly unique visitors, according to SEMRush, is as follows for August 2021:
- HelloFresh (4.9 Million)
- Home Chef (2 Million)
- Blue Apron (1.2 Million)
- Sunbasket (696.6K)
As previously mentioned, do not analyze these numbers as fact. They are a guide. If a new meal kit delivery service looked at the monthly unique visitors for these companies, they’d get an average of 2.1 million monthly views. Now, this can be a goal for the future but not the immediate future.
A monthly goal for a small business receiving 5000 unique monthly visitors could be 10% or 500 new visitors. Set goals with a content plan in mind. With this goal in place, you can use it to determine the success of your content strategy.
Build a Content Plan Around MSV
Monthly search volume (MSV) is the number of times a specific keyword is entered into a search engine each month. MSV allows you to anticipate the amount of traffic available for a particular keyword term. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to gauge which keywords are worth targeting for your content strategy. You’ll also be able to assess the needs of potential clients and customers and cater your content to them.
Some free online keyword tools that help calculate MSV include Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Generator, and Answer the Public.
Determine a Publishing Cadence
In conjunction with creating your content strategy, lay out a schedule. How often you update your website is key to attracting more visitors because you increase the number of opportunities to land on your page. At the bare minimum, you want to post new content to your website every week. The amount of content is, of course, dependent on the size of your team and audience. The more resources you have, the more content you can create. The larger your audience, the more content you should create.
While determining a publishing cadence is necessary, it is equally important to stick to it and remain consistent.
Assess Your Performance
The first step to assessing your goals is having a data reporting software set up. Once you do, it’s time to see if your unique monthly visitors increased. Whether or not you met your goal, ask yourself the following questions to review your progress:
- Did your unique monthly visitors increase or decrease? By what percent?
- Are you ranking for targeted keywords?
- Was there a trend (increase or decrease) in visitors across your industry?
An increase or decrease in your unique monthly visitors isn’t enough to gauge the complete success of your goal or content strategy. Are you ranking for your targeted keywords? If yes, your content strategy is working, and your location in SERPs can lead to further increases in the future. If not, reassess and adopt new SEO methods for growth.
When assessing your performance, it might also be necessary to measure factors out of your control, for example, industry trends. Was there a mutual dip in unique monthly views among you and your competitors? It is possible that your keyword MSV wasn’t as high as in previous months. A decrease in MSV for your keywords is out of your control. However, it is your responsibility to pivot and discover what your target audience is searching for.
How many visitors should your site get?
In content strategy and marketing, consistency is key. How many visitors should your site get? Ultimately, it comes down to how consistent you are in the tips featured above. Do you keep up with industry best practices to guide your knowledge on MSV? Do you periodically evaluate your content to boost your SEO? Are you updating your information to guide your goals?
There is no magic number when it comes to monthly website visitors. Evaluate your website and use your current metrics to determine where you want to be in one, six, or 12 months from now. Changes rarely happen overnight. Set reasonable goals with realistic timelines, and you’ll eventually see growth.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2009 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.