Online business owners are consumed by getting traffic to their web site. The phrase “web site traffic” generates over 1.5m results in Google, for instance. Plus there are endless streams of newsletters and blogs that tell you how to increase your traffic. All fantastic, but all useless.

Web site traffic is not the answer to increasing your online business. Let’s imagine you have a High Street store. You get thousands of people passing your store every day and you follow all the advice to get people inside your shop. Retail analysts call this “footfall” – the number of people who walk into your shop. You could get them to walk inside with all sorts of devices – an attractive window display, notices offering a “sale”, someone outside handing out discount leaflets and so on.

Online people try similar tricks to generate traffic. They promote their web site like crazy in order to get more people to visit. But many High Street retailers complain that they have increased footfall, but sales hardly rose. Equally, web site owners often report increased traffic, but that there was no impact on their business.

In both cases – concentrating on footfall or traffic – business owners are concentrating on the wrong thing. Getting visitors to your web site is not the problem – getting the “right” visitors to your online business is the problem. After all, if you only had one visitor who came to your web site but spent a million dollars that would be better than a million visitors who spent nothing. In other words, don’t focus on getting raw numbers to your web site. Instead concentrate your efforts on getting the right people to visit – those who want to buy what you sell.

Far too many online business owners are impressed by the ego massaging statistics that web site traffic provides. “Wow, ten thousand hits yesterday..whoopee” and so on. What is more impressive is profit, not traffic. Gaining profit means selling the right things to the right people at the right price. In other words your online business success depends upon traditional business values – not web site traffic.

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