Web traffic is seldom consistent. Only a few websites in any industry or niche will have consistent traffic. Most websites have wildly fluctuating traffic. Someday you may have a thousand visitors and someday you may have just a dozen. Someday you may have several thousand visitors and someday you may not have any. It is perfectly normal to have such wild fluctuations. But there will be a trend over time. Depending on the nature of content you have on your website or the kind of audience you are targeting with your products and services, you will have varying traffic.
For example, school students or teenagers and even young adults don’t browse the net at the same times as working adults or busy professionals. So your traffic will fluctuate at different times of the day and on different days of the week. And these will create a certain trend over time.
The trouble is when you witness a substantial deviation from the trend. It may so happen that you are not getting any traffic for seven days at a stretch. What can you do in instances when a substantial chunk of your web traffic disappears for no rhyme or reason?
Let us understand why traffic drops, how and what you can do about it.
The reason could be as simple as loss of interest or a change of heart among your target audience. It is possible that people are not just searching for your website anymore or doesn’t want to explore what you have to offer. This is a bit of an extreme situation because the whole target audience cannot just have a change of heart all of a sudden. But it is possible. It is quite possible that your products and services or your content is failing to entice your target audience. In such a scenario, you have to rework your online presence. From the content you have to the methods you use to reach out to your target audience, everything has to be redone.
Once you factor in the nontechnical possibility, delve into the technicalities. It is quite possible that your target audience is looking for what you have to offer but for some technical issue your website is not being accessible to them. Obviously you would have checked already if your website is live and working fine. Once that is confirmed, you need to deal with the analytics. Use Google Analytics Web tracking to find out if there is any error.
Your website, every webpage and all content must be accessible to search bots of major search engines, ala Google and Bing among others. Check if your website is searchable for the bots and crawlers. Check the indexation of every webpage and your website as a whole. There could be some issues with indexing and that may have made the content unsearchable for crawlers or spiders. There could be a linking problem as well. Cross links, redirects, back links and all kinds of link wheels must be checked to know if they are working fine. Broken links, removed links and malfunctioning link wheels will prevent people from across the web to get redirected to your website.
Check the Google Webmaster Tools and see if your website is in adherence to the approved practices and that all the requisite information is provided to the search engines. There are times when misinformation in these sections can lead to poor ranking on search engine result pages. Problems like setting incorrect preferences for URLs parameters, disavowing a high volume of popular back-links and setting incorrect International Country Targeting are some of the issues that can impair traffic.
Is your website safe?
Is there a security problem or a threat to the users?
Unsecured or harmful websites are always flagged by search engines and they are also blocked by the antivirus of an end user. Your website may be infected and you may not know it yet. Fix it so you can remove the flag of being unsecured or a harmful site.
Is your website being penalized for some malpractice?
Any shady optimization or marketing practice will get penalized by search engines. Also, if you are not in adherence to the latest changes in search engine algorithms, then too your website will get flagged. You may have your website blocked due to non-adherence. Always stay in the good books of search engines.
A drop in traffic may be temporary, might be seasonal or it could be due to changes in search trends. You may be targeting the wrong keywords. The keywords may have been right all this while but customers or end users may have started to use different keywords. This is a reason why you have to always stay on top of your game with search engine optimization. It is also likely that some of your competitors’ sites have snatched the traffic away from you. You need strategies to win them back.