Marketing

15 Tips for Setting Realistic Website Traffic Goals

When setting realistic website traffic goals. where should you start? Check out these 15 tips from the experts.

Mara Calvello Mara Calvello on June 22, 2021 (last modified on June 20, 2021) • 16 minute read

A great website is hard to come by.

And there’s a lot that goes into creating a thing of perfection. Once it’s all said and done, and your website is live, it’s time to consider one of the number one metrics: organic traffic.

Traffic can be a hard metric to predict, but it’s always a good idea to set realistic traffic goals, especially if just went live. 

If you haven’t considered setting goals for your website, in terms of traffic and other metrics, we highly recommend it. When asked our contributors whether or not they set traffic goals, the majority of them (93.9%) said yes.

does your team set website traffic goals

If you aren’t sure how to go about setting website traffic goals, check out these 15 tips, straight from the experts.

How to Set Realistic Website Traffic Goals

Here are the 15 tips on setting better website traffic goals sourced by 40+ marketers and SEOs.

  1. Conduct a competitor analysis
  2. Pinpoint the pages that drive conversions
  3. Start off small
  4. Look into SERP performance
  5. Analyze past traffic data
  6. Dive into Google Trends
  7. Set a budget
  8. Create content for conversions
  9. Think long and short-term
  10. Consider relevant business objectives
  11. Ask your web hosting provider
  12. Keep marketing in mind
  13. Utilize video marketing
  14. Meet with relevant stakeholders
  15. Be SMART

1. Conduct a Competitor Analysis

The first step you should take in setting realistic traffic goals is to conduct a competitor analysis on businesses within your same industry.

To do this, Rohan Kadam ay Biking Know How suggests, “I use Ahrefs to do competitor analysis. Below is my strategy to establish benchmarks on the website traffic:

  • I use the ‘Competing Domains’ tab in Ahrefs to pick competitors (I choose 3 competitors)
  • I then use the ‘Domain Comparison’ tool of Ahrefs to compare my domain stats with my competitors.
  • Using the ‘Domain Comparison’ tool, I get a better idea of certain key metrics like the number of backlinks, the number of referring domains, and the number of organic keyword rankings.

I make a note of the above metrics and average them out. I treat the average number as my benchmark and this gives me a good roadmap for planning my success. In order to get more website traffic and make my website more authoritative, I try to narrow the gap between my domain KPIs and the average domain KPIs of my competitors.”

*Editor’s note: To get the most out of a tool like Ahrefs, make sure to utilize the Ahrefs Website Audit Dashboard from Databox. This free dashboard makes it easy to gain valuable and actionable insights about your site’s health. You can also easily track and visualize important search ranking factors like domain rating, backlinks, referring pages, and more.

ahrefs dashboard template

Harry Gandia at CriminalDefenseSEO.com also recommends starting with a competitor analysis before setting any goals. “Two words. Competition Analysis. Knowing the traffic that your competitors are getting will give you a clear understanding about the type of traffic your website should expect on a month-to-month basis for the keywords that are being targeted,” explains Gandia.

2. Pinpoint the Pages that Drive Conversions

How much do you know about your website? One aspect you should always know is which pages are driving the most conversions. Whether it’s a blog or a landing page, knowing this helps you set realistic goals.

Dr. Izquierdo at Dr. Juan Izquierdo Marketing Consulting explains further to say, “The best way to set realistic website traffic goals is to focus on the pages that drive conversions instead of sending more traffic to the homepage.”

3. Start Off Small

A big part of setting realistic goals for your website is to, well, be realistic. To do this, keep your goals on the smaller side. As time goes on, if you’re able to crush your smaller goals, that’s when you can aim a little bigger.

What does starting small look like? Kirsten Reneau at CDL School Orlando explains, “When you’re setting a data goal for your website, you want to make sure it’s realistic and attainable. If your traffic goal is too high, it’s not only more unlikely that you’ll fulfill your goal, but it’s also easy to get weighed down by the negatives of not hitting those aspirational numbers. It’s important to think about traffic goals based on standards you can achieve.

One concrete way to set more realistic website traffic goals is to pull the metrics from the last three to six months. Set a goal around those numbers for a 10% – 20% increase each month; a percent that is definitely achievable and can be consistently met each month. Though it may seem incremental at first, website traffic goals must be planned with long-term goals in mind. With this plan in place, you may end up seeing a 50% increase in traffic over five months.”

Another expert who recommends going slow and steady with your website traffic goals is Brian Dechesare at Breaking Into Wall Street. Increasing your web traffic drastically might seem appealing, but slow and steady wins the race for increased web traffic that’s sustainable. Once you’ve analyzed your domain’s current traffic, set a goal to increase that number by no more than 20% each month – better yet, aim for 10%. Check in with your Google Analytics weekly to see if you’re on track, and if your growth is lagging, it’s time to change your approach. Build great content that naturally draws new viewers to your site through Google as you try to get more backlinks and improve your domain’s rating,” states Dechesare.

You can also try breaking your larger website traffic goals down into smaller ones, to make them more realistic and faster to achieve. “One way to set more realistic website traffic goals is to break your goals down. Aiming for an annual goal only is unrealistic. You have to remember that every week and month is what makes up the annual. Set weekly and monthly goals so you are aware of the work you’re getting done and whether something needs to be changed,” explains Mehvish Patel at Zen Media.

4. Look into SERP Performance

Another helpful tip is taking the time to look into your website’s performance within search engine results pages before analyzing website analytics and setting goals.

To do this the right way, Adam Smartschan at Altitude Marketing recommends, “Look at your SERP performance in Google Search Console and SEMrush/SpyFu before you dive into your analytics. SERP performance is a leading indicator. Past traffic is (obviously) a trailing indicator. It’s easier to improve CTR on existing keywords (e.g., by changing a meta description) than it is to gain new ones. This methodology will tell you your near-term potential in a realistic way, rather than guessing at what you could potentially do.”

5. Analyze Past Traffic Data

Sometimes taking a closer look at the past can help us better understand what we can expect in the future. When it comes to your website’s traffic, it could be worth investigating traffic from the last few months to see what could be around the corner.

Sharing further on this tip is Dennis Hancock at Mountain Valley MD, stating, “Not hitting a big traffic goal can be very discouraging. Use Alexa, Google Analytics, or SEMRush tools to analyze your traffic data from the last 3-6 months, and set an incremental goal to increase your traffic by 10% per month. After the first month, gather feedback and reassess to ensure your goals are realistic. Don’t just focus on gaining more unique visitors – aim to engage more with your subscriber’s list, improve bounce rates, and increase page views per visit for a multi-angled approach.”

*Editor’s note: For even more data at your fingertips, utilize the Blog Traffic Distribution Dashboard template from Databox. Here, you’ll be able to identify your best-performing articles in organic search and learn how much traffic they drive to your website by seamlessly integrating with Google Analytics and SEMrush. 

blog traffic dashboard  template

Adding more to this is Heidi Robinson at Because Market, who recommends looking at various channels to see how your website has been performing. “To set more realistic website goals, keep a close eye on where your traffic comes, and how it may fluctuate from month to month. Do paid ads help? Or, are you going for a more organic approach? Remember one thing – data never lies,” shares Robinson.

One of the most under-used (and in my opinion, the most interesting) tool that Google offers is Google Trends. Not only can this be fun to use, but it can also help you set a realistic traffic goal for your website.

But how? Kaitlyn Short at BestCompany.com explains, “Google Trends – Sometimes your website traffic has more to do with seasonal search patterns than ranking. One way to view the popularity of related keywords and topics is to search through Google Trends. Google Trends shows you the average interest over time. By analyzing past data, you can better predict how your site will perform in the next quarter or year.

7. Set a Budget

Money makes the world go ‘round. It can also help you set goals for your website. It’s all about the marketing budget you’re able to put forth as a way to help you ramp up traffic.

To do this right, Ashley Sterling at Esparza Advertising & Digital Marketing recommends, “Having a set budget for external traffic generation and a consistent funnel for traffic. By ensuring there is a budget allocated for website traffic tools (such as display ads, targeted social ads, etc), and using UTM codes, you can run a campaign for 8-10 weeks to gather data and then execute a strategy based on ad interaction, impressions, and overall site visits.”

8. Create Content for Conversions

If your plan to obtain website traffic doesn’t include creating content with SEO in mind, you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle.

No matter the type of website you have, utilizing content is important. To start off this tip, Timmy Yanchun at LTHR Shaving shares, “If you’re looking for more realistic website goals, then look at your data, and find ways to keep it consistent or, even better, on the rise. Write high-quality content that will appeal to your visitors and help create conversions.”

When it comes to weaving SEO into this plan, Dan Potter at CRAFTD adds, “Targeting high commercial intent keywords is a large part of our strategy. Taking an SEO approach optimizes our content for search engines, making it a valuable and worthwhile method. Although competition for these search terms can be great, the rewards will transcend your conversion rate drastically and have done so for our company. Along with partnering with other iconic brands who use our material to create their products, brand awareness via SEO and attributed keywords associated with our partners continues to help drive website traffic. Any company can increase its site’s attention. Knowing which practice suits your brand best is the key to capitalizing on the needs of your audience.”

9. Think Long and Short-Term

As you think about the goals for your website and its potential traffic, it’s good to think about both the long and the short-term goals your organization has in mind. 

To go about this, Michal Hajtas at AutoPi explains further, “An ideal way is to create a timeline, consisting of both short-term and long-term goals. The timeline would be divided into multiple sections and then it is necessary to evaluate after each section ends. Therefore, the strategy can be adjusted accordingly, in order to succeed.”

Related: How to Set Long-Term Marketing Goals (And Actually Hit Them)

10. Consider Relevant Business Outcomes

The goals you set for your website’s traffic should be relevant and related to the outcomes you have for your business. To take business outcomes into consideration, Harry Williams at GrowReporter shares, “Link goals to commercial outcomes. Decide what your business objectives are and mold your website traffic goals around them. If you are a retailer you want to set sales as your number one goal. All the other goals will now fall in line such as tracking add-to-carts and sign-up completion.”

11. Ask Your Web Hosting Provider

If your organization uses a web hosting provider for its website, consider asking them for input on your traffic goals. 

To do this, Olivia Tan at CocoFax shares, “Inquire with your web hosting provider about how to set realistic goals. The greatest solutions aren’t always the easiest or most obvious. An Internet hosting provider will ‘host’ the vast majority of business websites. Your hosting service’s account manager should be aware of how much traffic each of his or her accounts receives and what is reasonable. Ask thorough inquiries, and if the account manager is unable to provide answers, request someone else. 

Every genuine hosting business should be able to provide you with an estimate of your traffic expectations, not a promise or a guarantee. Inquire about the traffic that other customers of this server receive in terms of user sessions, page views, and other metrics. This serves as a good reminder to get statistics about your site from the provider when you inquire about other sites.”

12. Keep Marketing in Mind

In addition to creating content for your website, a great way to drive some serious traffic and help you meet (or exceed!) your goals is to consider various marketing strategies. 

When applying this tip to your website, Eden Cheng from WeInvoice recommends, “In my opinion, one of the best ways to establish more realistic website traffic goals is to relate your estimate to your marketing.

The website traffic mainly relies on what you do to market it to your prospective users. You must create and grow your marketing programs, for example, banner advertising, searcher strategies, or other programs. Therefore, you should try to develop forecasts for traffic generation.

All such information is available on industry average performance for banner links and ads from the leading searcher sites. Therefore, you must compare the website traffic you are safeguarding to what the industry professionals suggest you will get from your internet marketing. Lastly, ask experts for site development and ask them what traffic estimates should be more realistic.”

13. Utilize Video Marketing

Now that you understand how to apply marketing to your website traffic goals, don’t forget about video marketing

A big fan of using video marketing to their advantage is Joe Baker from Boots Empire. Baker shares, “Use Video Marketing: For many purchasers looking for answers, video has become the favored media. Every week, over half of us watch an hour or more of videos on Facebook and YouTube. It not only grabs our attention, but it also makes us want to buy.

Your search engine ranking can be significantly impacted by video marketing. Websites that include embedded videos are 53 times more likely to appear on Google’s first page of results. This has a cumulative effect, ensuring that key search words deliver constant traffic to your website month after month, year after year.”

14. Meet with Relevant Stakeholders

When setting realistic website traffic goals, the more you input you can get from your team, the better. Because of this, you should always meet with the key stakeholders at your organization to see what they deem to be most important or relevant.

For this, Tori Bell at Clever Touch Marketing recommends, “Find out what they need and how the website will help with the stakeholder’s interests such as with I.T., marketing, customer support, sales, HR, and production/operations. You need to find out exactly what each department wants and needs, knowing this early on will allow you to make sure the website is in line with the company’s plan.”

15. Be SMART

Finally, when it comes to website traffic goals, it’s in your best interest to be smart. And no, I don’t mean using your brain, I mean specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timeframe.

Here to explain further is Miranda Yan at Vinpit, who states, “I think the best way to set a more realistic traffic goal is by implementing ‘SMART marketing.’ By introducing ‘specificity’ of work, team members will know who is authorized to do what, which will lessen confusion. A ‘measurable’ goal would again remove any ambiguity regarding what you are seeking. Make sure everybody has ‘agreed upon’ the plan, and all the inherent conflicts are resolved. Do not overestimate your team’s capability, and it would lead to undue pressure and affect their productivity. Keep the goal ‘realistic’ and achievable. Lastly, set a deadline for the completion of the goal. ‘Timeliness’ is an important and determining aspect that will let you know about the effectiveness of your strategies.

Another fan of the SMART method is Natasha Rei at Explainerd, who elaborates on this tip by sharing, “See in the bigger picture. Before proceeding to work on your website, you need to create a clear goal by applying the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timeframe) method. Understand what you’re trying to achieve with your site. For example, if you use the site as the main sales conversion, then work on getting new visitors by making interesting content. Also, consider other tactics, such as using newsletters and social media content that directly lead your audience to visit your page.”

As this is the 15th and final tip, you may be wondering how much traffic your website can expect to generate. When we asked our expert contributors, this is how much traffic their website gets when applying these tips to their strategy. 

how much traffic does your website generate

How to Evaluate the Organic Search Performance of Your Website with Databox

How exactly and what should you track to see how well organic search performs for your business? The answer is simple. Just recreate the dashboard shown in this Data Snack. (Or reach out to our support team and they’ll build for you for free.)

This dashboard will help you answer:

  • How much of our website traffic is coming from organic search?
  •  How many new contacts do you get on a monthly basis?
  • Which keywords and landing pages are ranking best? 

Shooting for the Stars

And remember, it’s okay if you miss! As you go about setting goals for your website’s traffic, keep these 15 expert tips in mind. Remember, traffic can take time. So even if you implement all 15 right away, remember to be patient with the traffic you’re getting now and hopeful about the kind of traffic you’ll see in the future.  

About the author
Mara Calvello
Mara Calvello Mara is a freelance writer at Databox and a Content Marketing Manager at G2. In her spare time, she's either at the gym, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable.
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