Focus on Conversions, Not Traffic

Anjali McKenzie, Former UX Researcher

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

Time and time again we come across companies who have one objective for their site redesign: drive more traffic to the site. However, a site design does not drive traffic. Advertising campaigns drive traffic. This is why, when it comes to a redesign, the focus should be on conversions, not traffic. While traffic is critical to a web site’s success, it certainly should not be the primary or only goal. Sheer traffic numbers or large increases in pageviews don’t mean much if there is no action being taken by those visitors. In order to get a better idea of whether your redesign was a success, conversion tracking is key.


The first step to making sure you are focused on conversions is to ask the question: “What do I want my visitors to do once they have landed on my web site?” 

If your site is e-commerce driven, the answer is easy (conversion = purchase).  For several others, though, the point of conversion is not as clear, and these businesses may not be tracking any conversions at all. The reality is that If you have a site, you have something you want visitors to do and therefore a conversion point.  If you have a conversion point, you can find a way to measure it.  While these types of conversions points may not have a direct tie to revenue, they can still serve as measures of success for the web site. Some of these include:

  • Clicks to social media channels [or another linked site]
  • Views of certain content such as photos, graphs, slideshows 
  • Video plays [to completion] 
  • Interactions with a certain element such as navigation, blog topics, or menu items
  • Submissions of user generated content pieces
  • Subscriptions to a newsletter
  • Downloads of a document
  • Comments on a blog post
  • Engagement goals such as time-on-site and average pages-per-visit

After answering the above question and identifying what your conversion points are, you need to actually track the goal(s) on your web site. Google Analytics offers event-based goal tracking, which is relatively simple to implement. (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how to do this!) 

Without conversions, traffic numbers can only get you so far. Determining ROI based on the number of visitors is shallow and of low value. You can iterate on a web site design to optimize conversions, but you can’t iterate on that design to optimize traffic (that’s advertising’s job). Once the strategy shifts to a focus on conversions, only then can you optimize your web site to get more of what you want from your visitors.

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