In the last installment of “The Complete Customer Journey” we talked about step one, Brand Awareness. We discussed what it is, why it is so important, and strategies to help you get it. Today we will be going over step number two, the site visit. In this stage we will look at how your customer will get to your site, what will keep them there and how to aid a customer’s evaluation of alternatives. The focus is getting your site traffic!

Free guide beginner ecommmerce store

The Goals of This Stage

The goal here is site traffic. You need to capitalize on all that brand awareness we created in the last step. Now that people know who you are we need to make sure they get to your site. Getting them to the site is only the start of the battle. Once they are on the site we need to make sure they stay, and find what they are looking for. We need to create quality site traffic so they will go from site visitor to paying customer. So, let’s start with how they will find you once they know you.

Where Will Your Site Traffic Come From?

It is important to make sure shoppers can find your site. There are three ways a shopper will find your site once they have become aware of your brand. They will come through a search engine (organic), directly, or from a referral.

Organic or Search Engine

This is the most likely way someone will enter your site if you have stayed top of mind. The customer will remember that you sell widgets and they are ready to start looking. If you have done a good job of brand awareness they will look up your brand / site in a search engine. They might also look up widget sellers in the UK or something similar if they can’t quite remember your name.

site traffic search engines

The key here is to make sure you that you are showing up in the top hits for search engines when these are searched. Especially for your brand name! You have worked to hard to create awareness to lose it when they search for you.

Make sure to search engine optimize your homepage for your brand name as well as what you sell, your site traffic depends on it! 64% of your website traffic will likely be coming from this avenue according to Search Engine Watch. If you need some more pointers on SEO optimization I recommend checking out the Moz Blog, the blog has a lot of tips and tricks to optimize right.

Direct Traffic

If you have done a great job of brand awareness you may get site traffic coming directly to your site. These shoppers were able to remember your exact URL and entered it directly into their web browser.

site traffic direct traffic

To encourage potential shoppers to visit you via a direct link you must either have a memorable domain or a simple / logical domain. Memorable would be one that is different so therefore not forgotten, and logical would be a domain that relates strongly to what you sell such as

Logical domain names are better at getting site traffic through search, while memorable names are easy to brand around and bode well to paid site traffic. If you need a hand with a domain give “5 rules for choosing a domain name” a read.


Lastly, shoppers will find your site through referrals. These referrals can come from your existing customers or from sites linking to you. To best capitalize on referral links you need to be providing up to date and relevant information.

site traffic referrals

Create a newsletter about your industry, products, and world events. Get others talking about your site and they will direct shoppers your way. Review sites will be a great way to get shoppers to your site. but more on that when we talk about the customers desire to compare alternatives.

How Will You Keep Them On Your Site?

Shoppers are finding your site and you have a decent amount of site traffic. Now you have to keep those visitors engaged with your site and encourage them to stay. As soon as a shopper lands they will be evaluating your site, so make sure you are showing well. There are a couple of things you will need to do and a couple things you will need to avoid to keep shoppers on your site.

Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Site navigation is big reason someone stays or leaves. it is important that you make it easy for your shoppers to quickly locate what they are looking for. If they came looking for a red polka dot sweater, they better be able to find that without too much effort.

Having tabbed navigation at the top of your site has become standard. Divide your site into sections so that a customer can quickly jump to what they are looking for. On a clothing site it might have men, women, children listed across the top of the page.

site traffic tabbed navigation

The key to successful site navigation is to keep it simple and organized. Keeping products well categorized and cataloged will make sure your customers can always quickly find what they desire. Make sure to stay on top of categorization and cataloging as you add items to your site. As they say “inch by inch, life is a cinch, yard by yard life gets hard.”

Make Your Site Visually Appealing

In ecommerce, looks are everything! A study by Stanford University concluded that 46% of those studied assessed site credibility on looks alone. All the site traffic in the world will not help you if your site looks like it is from the 1990’s. Utilize what your brand stands for to create a site that reflects what you do and who you are.

site traffic visually appealing

If you are not a graphic designer or web developer I would definitely recommend finding one or both of these people to help with your site. Looks might not seem important but it is what will get your visitors interested in doing business with you. If you need any development work done check out our partners page to find someone who can help in your area.

Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

Gone are the days when everyone searched the internet on a personal computer. More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse and even shop online. The New York Times estimates that by the end of 2016 we will see about a quarter of ecommerce business coming from a mobile source.

site traffic mobile business

This is why it is important to make your website mobile friendly. You do not want to miss a potential sale because your store does not scale well or at all to a mobile screen.

What Metrics Should I Be Checking to Evaluate Site Visits

Knowing what makes them stay does not mean they will. A good ecommerce site is constantly evaluating the quality and behavior of the site traffic. Here are the metrics you should be familiar with to check on the overall health of your sites traffic.

site traffic traffic source subtitle

This will tell you where a site viewer is coming from.

site traffic pages per session subtitle

This metric will give you an idea of how far into your site a user is getting. If you have a homepage, product page, and checkout page you would want your page / session to be 3.

site traffic average session duration subtitle

Shows how long the average person is staying on your site. If your average duration is only a couple of seconds you will want to make your homepage more appealing.

site traffic bounce rate subtitle

This metric shows how many people land on your page and leave the page without moving to another one.

What Should You Avoid On Your Site

The following site components lead to high bounce rates and should be avoided if you want to keep your hard earned site traffic.

site traffic avoid summary

Sounds or Music

If a site starts playing music or makes loud sounds upon entry I leave instantly. I either have my headphones in and am enjoying my own music when I am interrupted or everyone in the office is now wondering what the heck I am doing.


Popups are another thing that drives me crazy. Do not have a popup display as a visitor enters your site. That is a sure fire way to have them leave. Let customers search your site before you bombard them with popups and notifications. If you do want to let your customer know about a promotion or a deal with a popup, make sure they have purchase intent before doing so. Have your pop up display after a certain amount of time or a certain amount of pages.


site traffic interstitial definition

I think these may be worse than popups, especially when used before I have even entered the site. If I am looking for something and am given a roadblock like this I usually just leave. As much as I love Forbes articles I can’t stand that I get left on a irrelevant page prior to the article I want to see.

Browser Incompatibility

One of the biggest turnoffs for a site is when you go to a site and it appears broken, or a feature won’t work because of the browser you are using. While there are many browsers out there your site should at least be usable by the big three.

site traffic browsers

Allow Your Customers to Evaluate Alternatives

Customers may want to see what else is out there before they make a purchase, or at least be reassured that they are making the right choice. This is a substep that sometimes happens before a customer can move on to “The Purchase”. Here are some do’s and don’ts when your customer needs to evaluate.

site traffic do for customers

Make sure that you provide the shopper with what they need to evaluate your products. Have detailed specifications so the customer can see the differences, encourage customers to leave reviews so the next customer is more comfortable buying right away, and finally know that your customer might want to shop around. Comparing alternatives is natural and if you are the best they will come back.

site traffic don't for customers

Let your customers shop, they do not want to be bombarded with popups and messages. Do not use your live chat to ask them what they need to buy now. Yes this has happened: I am looking at an item and a representative starts asking me why I haven’t bought yet. Finally, do not bash your competition. Give your customer all the information they need to see you are the best. If you do that they will come to their own conclusion without your site looking cocky or confrontational.

Final Thoughts

Remember: having site traffic is not enough. Getting a shopper to your site is battle number one. You then have to make sure that your site engages them enough to make them stay. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and mobile friendly, and try to avoid my biggest peeves. In the next post in the series we will go over how to turn this site traffic into paying customers.

site traffic beginner's guide to ecommerce CTA