Why Conversion Rates are Vastly More Important Than Increasing Traffic

The most important point every online business needs to know is this: Conversions (how many people take the desired action – whether that is completing a purchase, gaining potential leads, or increasing a subscriber base) are more important by far than increasing traffic.

It does not matter how much traffic you receive if those visitors do not take the desired action.

This is vastly more important if you are buying traffic in any form. Even if you don’t directly pay for visitors and high traffic has not yet cost you more money for bandwidth, it does still increase your overhead and time.

Investing in increasing your conversion rate will pay off much faster and better than increasing your traffic.

* NEW * Special Thanks to MikeTek of UnstuckDigital for sharing an excellent post which includes graphs that clearly show the effect of improving conversion rates.  I encourage you to study the information presented there until it makes sense to you.

Conversion rates are so critical that the book Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results can be found on most every serious Online Marketer’s bookshelf. The most famous quote from that book by the Authors and acknowledged conversion rate experts Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg is this:

“Trying to increase sales simply by driving more traffic to a website with a poor customer conversion rate is like trying to keep a leaky bucket (your sales funnel) full by adding more water instead of plugging the holes. Instead, work on keeping more of your visitors from falling out of the funnel on the way to the close.”

The reason for dismal conversion rates on most online sites becomes obvious as soon as you know the most likely causes. Usability issues are the most common and easiest to identify and correct. Technical issues – particularly with either the shopping cart or merchant approval processes are next (and can be much tougher to diagnose).

Every issue you identify and correct will cause an incremental increase in conversion rates. The two most common ecommerce Web design errors can depress sales by up to 70%! Correct them and you can almost triple your sales.

Watch for upcoming posts in our Increasing Conversion Rates category covering those two common Web site design mistakes, what else to improve, and how to increase conversions through simple – sometimes free – changes.



  • Bryan Eisenberg, author and conversion expert
  • FutureNow’s GrokDotCom Marketing Optimization Blog


  • *** Don’t Make Me Think by Steven Krug *** Every person involved in the design, creation, ownership or any other aspect of any Web site should own this book. It is simple, concise, to the point, and easy enough for anyone to understand – even people with no Internet or technical background. You can read a Sample Chapter from the book. Buying a copy of this book for every member of your Team will be the best thing any Web site owner ever did. You’ll never make obvious mistakes again if you keep this book handy! Have a CEO or Owner asking you to make one? Give them this book! [NOTE: Look for the second edition.]
  • Call to Action by Bryan and Jeffery Eisenberg – Not an easy read and best suited for Marketers serious about improving their conversion rates and increasing their understanding of Web site design. Covers the use of funnels to direct specific personas through a Web site to increase conversions.
  • Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing
    by Bryan and Jeffery Eisenberg – Follow on to Call to Action and #1 Best Selling book on major book lists including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Amazon.com
  • Usability Books Worth Reading


  • Advanced Common Sense – hire Steve Krug himself to do an Expert Web Site Usability Review. Steve also offers a Web Site Usability Workshop.
  • Future Now Inc. – Hire the acknowledged Subject Matter Experts on Conversions, Bryan and Jeffery Eisenberg. See their Conversion Optimization Services.

Ecommerce Tips:

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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