Conversion Testing for Low-Traffic Websites

In my almost twenty years of online marketing, I’ve rarely seen a  report showing the average worldwide visitor traffic most sites receive on a monthly basis.  Truth be told, around 95% of all websites are below 30 visitors a day. Unfortunately, this number tends to include friends and relatives and seemingly random visitors from countries around the world.

Not Many Visitors?

Image via Shutterstock

Some of these low-traffic websites have pretty good content, and the site owner makes a real effort to increase sales leads by improving form conversions. But no matter what he tries, nothing seems to really work; and, out of frustration, he begins to neglect the website.  Two or three years later, the website gets another overhaul, and it’s time to start from scratch.

Sound familiar?

Of course, there could be any number of reasons that a website would begin collecting dust. Either way, these ideas should help to get the website working, growing and generating customers.

Ideas For Conversion Testing Low-Traffic Websites

If you have a low-traffic website, doing conversion testing can be difficult because it takes so long to get a valid result. I’ve seen people try to “cheat” and declare a winner after just a few visitors, but after another week or so, they see the losing page suddenly surge past the assumed “winner.”

Wingify has a nice little conversion calculator to help you determine how long it might take with your amount of traffic to determine a winning page. I try to stress to my customers that a test shouldn’t take longer than 90 days. Beyond that and environmental factors, such as an upcoming holiday or market downturn, it could dramatically alter the results.

  1. Forget Multivariate Testing. Multivariate testing can take a really long time to achieve any statistical significance. The more variables you have, the longer it can take. A/B testing is definitely your friend, but stick to only doing one test on any given page at a time.
  2. Run Several Tests On Unrelated Components With Big Win Potential. As long as your tests don’t possibly compete with one another, then go ahead and run them. You want to focus on big changes that might give you new insight and take you in a new direction. Don’t simply remove a field or change the color of a button — those generate small wins, but they are not accurately measured on low-traffic sites. Instead, go for a new landing page layout or add a “wow” factor graphic to the homepage to help drive click-throughs.
  3. Improve Visitor Engagement. I talked about this more extensively before, but if you can increase the amount of time that visitors stick around by improving your visitor experience, it will impact your conversion volume, as well.
  4. Ask Your Visitors. Though you aren’t going to get quantitative answers, you can survey your visitors to see if they found what they were looking for. You can also buy reviews from services like and You might also consider signing up for a account, which gives visitors the ability to chat with you in real time. It’s always surprising what insights these types of conversations can provide.
  5. Watch Your Visitors Interact. Actually being able see how your visitors interact with your website is fascinating. Using Clicktale’s mouse movement capture, you can actually record and watch how people move the mouse around individual webpages and what they click on. This can provide some really valuable insights on how people are reacting to your content with their mouse movements.

Clicktale Mouse Movement

2 Ways To Help Drive Some Extra Traffic For Testing

Even though your traffic is low, there are a couple of things you can do that can help provide a boost to your traffic so you can produce testing results faster.

  1. Go Responsive. Take a look at your webstats and find out how many visitors are mobile vs. desktop. If you have over 5-10% of your visitors coming from mobile devices, you should go ahead and switch your website to a responsive design if you haven’t already. As mentioned previously, if you can improve the user experience, people will tend to come back more often, which means more traffic. Remember that mobile devices outnumber desktops already, so you need to be able to meet the needs of mobile users. The percentage of visitors to your website using mobile devices is only going to go up. Make the change sooner rather than later.
  2. Do A Short Burst PPC Spend To Drive Traffic To Test Pages.  If you don’t have much regular traffic coming to your website, try buying traffic. Run PPC ads on your favorite search engine and drive them to the page you are testing. One wrinkle to consider is that visitors clicking on your ad are not necessarily the same type of visitor that would click through from an organic search. But, you can address that issue when you start having lots of organic visitors. If you have the budget, try getting at least several hundred visitors to your test page within a month or two to help determine what works.

Don’t Give Up On Your Website

Everything you learn about visitors can help improve the site to drive conversions. As the website converts more customers, you’ll be able to invest in more content to drive even more traffic. It feeds back into itself; it just takes time. So, don’t give up if you’re not an overnight success — just keep moving forward.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Search & Conversion


About The Author: is Click Laboratory's Chief Scientist, where he leads the company's engagement and optimization teams. He has 20 years of experience in web design, online marketing, customer analysis and lead generation.

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  • Ian Leong

    Good tips overall for a challenge with which most of us have struggled. Just to add to the short PPC burst suggestion, Google offers $100 AdWords credit to new Google accounts. Depending on how competitive your core search phrases are, this could help generate several hundred visits with little to no out of pocket expense. Like everything else, please perform your due diligence on PPC best practices. Good luck, folks!

  • Baz Watkins

    A short burst of PPC is great if the website owner knows what he or she is doing. If not the free voucher will disappear in no time and it will cost more which will add to the frustration. If you go PPC get some pro advice, then be clnical with your ads, keywords and targeting.

  • jpmains

    I completely agree. Those vouchers don’t amount to much traffic at all. It needs to be large enough to generate decent traffic. If you’ve never done PPC campaigns before, find an expert to help out and you’ll have much better results.

  • jpmains

    It is definitely difficult to convince someone to switch to responsive with low traffic. But I’ve found they also tend to be the ones that aren’t quite as concerned about lead generation through their website.

  • Biz Wisdom

    Excellent tips. “Short Burst PPC spend” is a great idea.

  • Warren Whitlock

    The good new for a small site is you can get very intimate with those that visit. Try testing a live chat or phone that is answered live. You may end up selling much more than the site by itself

  • Gemma Holloway

    That’s understandable – However, I do think it works both ways as in, they aren’t concerned with lead generation through their website because they don’t get any, therefore it is hard for them to see the potential.

  • Leonard Sipes

    Is there data to substantiate the fact that 95 percent of websites get less than 30 users a day? Thanks!!! Len.

  • Suzanne Carter

    I do agree with your ideas about how to drive some extra traffic but before that happens the website needs to be fully reviewed from a UX point of view. Yes, you can get the extra traffic but you need that traffic to actually convert to an enquiry, a sale, a booking and if the website is not appealing or user friendly then that is not going to happen.

  • John Paul Mains

    A design review is necessary as well as a solid understanding of your site goals, visitor flow and site analytics. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what needs to be done, which is a waste of effort.

  • Nebosh Course in UAE

    Thanks for taking your time and sharing it with us.


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