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After starting an online business and launching a website, digital entrepreneurs usually have one overall goal: to increase web traffic as much as possible and as quickly as possible.
For the most part, this motivation makes perfect sense. Attracting more people to your website means more people will become familiar with your brand and a way to increase your visibility and reputation. Assuming your conversion rate stays the same, more traffic also means you’ll process more transactions and ultimately earn more money.
But is there such a thing as too much web traffic? Can you increase your website traffic too quickly or at a level that is not sustainable?
It seems like a silly question, on par with “is it possible to make too much money?”, but as you’ll see, it’s worth exploring.
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Let’s talk about server loads first. When a user visits a website, they call a server, requesting data that can ultimately be presented in their browser. Servers are only able to handle a certain number of requests in a given time frame, with better upgraded servers able to handle more traffic.
If your server is overwhelmed with the number of people visiting your website and your server is unable to keep up, your entire website could go down. Indeed, this phenomenon is responsible for the creating and executing DDoS attacksthat deliberately flood sites with traffic in order to deprive ordinary users of services.
However, there are very effective countermeasures that you can use to avoid this problem. Sometimes it’s enough to switch to a dedicated server or upgrade your server to accommodate increased traffic; you just don’t want to be caught off guard by a sudden surge.
Website popularity is almost always a good thing, but remember that it means your website and resources will get more attention. If your brand becomes a household name, it will become a much bigger target for cybercriminals.
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Of course, you shouldn’t avoid increasing your web traffic just because you’re afraid of being hacked. But that means you should have better cybersecurity measures in place before you see an increase in traffic to your website.
In some situations, an unexpected increase in your web traffic or your activities designed to increase your web traffic could trigger red flags. For example, if you build hundreds of links to your website in an effort to improve your search engine rankings and referral traffic, Google may flag this as suspicious activity. and penalize your site.
Audience targeting issues
In the world of marketing, it pays to prioritize quality over quantity. If all of your efforts are devoted to increasing the number of people visiting your website, you might end up with audience targeting issues. A website with 10,000 relevant visitors will likely perform better than a website with 100,000 irrelevant visitors.
If you increase your traffic without taking audience considerations into account, you could end up with:
- Lost opportunities. If a user visits your website and doesn’t find what they’re looking for, that’s a missed opportunity. If you provide that user with the content they want to read or the products they want to buy, then the visit becomes a sale. There’s no reason to bring someone to your website if you can’t offer them anything.
- Bad measures of user behavior. Poor audience targeting can also lead you to poor user behavior metrics. Your website will have much higher bounce rates and exit rates, and the time a user will spend on a single page will be much lower. Collectively, this can hurt your domain authority and reduce your likelihood of ranking well in relevant searches.
- Reputation issues. If you drive users to your site in droves without giving them anything significant or valuable in return, you will eventually face reputational issues. People are going to see your website as desperate to attract new visitors at all costs, and they’re going to feel like you don’t care about their needs or what’s relevant to them.
- Lower overall conversion rates. Remember that your top priority is likely to get conversions, whether that means closing more sales or securing more leads. If you increase your raw traffic without improving onsite interactions or audience targeting, your conversion rate may actually decrease.
Also, remember that many businesses simply die because they grow too quickly. They accept far more customers than they reasonably can, and they don’t have the staff, infrastructure, or processes in place to serve them. If your website is overwhelmed with visitors before you can provide them with a great experience, your entire business could crumble.
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So, is there such a thing as “too much” web traffic? In a sense, yes. If you grow too quickly, lack the resources to support your audience, or blindly target the wrong audience, excessive web traffic can work against you. But with the proper strategies and precautions in place, your scalability is virtually endless.