An off-the-shelf package didn't offer what we needed.

Company Secretary, John Fleming & Co.

Bad Visitors to Your Website

Most commercial websites should expect a visitor to either buy something, or make an enquiry. Any visitor who doesn't complete your primary objective is a waste; a waste of your resources, a waste of your marketing, or a wasted opportunity.

You may argue about "brand awareness", and the like. If we accept that, then there are still visits that are not beneficial to you. Spend 1 minute going through the following, as we list examples, and what you should do.

The most important factor is that you record and measure visits to your site. If not, you don't know what's going on. Ignorance is not bliss.

Many site owners, and those involved in online marketing, obsess with the total number of visitors to their site. This misses the point, and what comes below will come as an unpleasant shock.

Spiders and robots are automated software tools used by the search engines. They are not people. They do not do anything on your site other than report back what they have found. This makes them very important, but they are not real visitors. On many sites they make up a significant proportion of visits. Exclude them from your analysis.

"Bounces" are visits to one page before leaving the site. This might be acceptable for a "Contact" page, or if the visit generates a newsletter sign-up, but in the majority of cases, this is deemed to be bad. You should improve your site's "stickiness".

Search visitors who don't see what they were expecting. They could bounce. It could be that your online marketing is flawed, even wasteful.

Incoming links to "page not found" messages are bad. They could bounce. Find and fix the sources of these problems.

(Attempted) visits to login pages, be it WordPress or something else. Ensure that your security is up to preventing hacks.

Visits from competitors. There isn't much you can do about this. As long as you're not giving away sensitive information, don't fret. You can't identify these visits, so will just have to accept that they are included.

The above lists some of the major sources of non-visits. They are being recorded as visits. This makes the true number much worse than you think.

In my experience, smaller sites tend to be disproportionately affected. They don't get many visitors to start with, so these non-visits are a significant percentage.

We have identified some sources of bad visitors, and what to do about it. The other thing is to undertake effective online marketing. Drive many more of the right people to your site.

If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations. But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your website. However, you may now realise that website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 29th September, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

If you need to promote your business online, then contact us.