If you’re like us, you start your day off with a nice cup of coffee, crack open your analytics and data suites to see how things are performing. This way we can spot any potential hiccups before they become real problems. But let’s be honest, you’re not like us – you have a whole other business to run and a million hats to switch to. For Helix House, this is our life. We eat, drink, breathe, and dream – advertising, and with that, we’re always relying on data to get stuff done, especially when it comes to website traffic.
If you have dozens of plates to keep spinning, you might not see a problem until it’s actively disrupting your business. This time on the Helix House blog, we want to give you a useful rundown on identifying and fixing sudden dips in traffic, so you can keep your business in gear!
Dips in traffic aren’t always an emergency. In fact, usually, these are related to things entirely outside of your control. Seasonal dips or certain days of the week might be commonly lower traffic for your business, depending on what you do. For instance, a snowplow company isn’t going to get much traffic during the dog days of summer, that’s just to be expected. Have an understanding of the general, regular flow of traffic and you won’t jump at any dip, just the ones that spell trouble.
So how do you know which ones will be trouble? Look for the steep drops.
Check your Analytics and do some quick comparisons. Compare the data of the dip to the same time frame of the past few weeks or month. Compare it to the same time period from last year. If there’s a similar dip, this might be a dip to be expected and you should look at the data to see when you should expect the traffic to return to normal and continue to monitor it til that date arrives and ensure it was just a seasonal dip.
Alright, so you’ve checked your data and verified for sure that yep this isn’t any expected, regular dip. Look at two things – is there low traffic or is there no traffic. Both are problems but both could have wildly different causes!
If your traffic went from thousands in a day to 0, completely flatlined – good news, bad news! Good news, you probably are still getting traffic. Bad news, your analytics tracking codes are probably installed incorrectly! If you’ve recently updated your site you may have simply forgotten to add the tags back, or they may be installed in the wrong spot so do some quick digging and you’ll be able to confirm if that is the case.
If it’s not a seasonal dip, and the traffic hasn’t exactly flatlined it’s time for a few other potential problems, none of which are quick fixes, but with the right answer and now how are definitely doable.
The first thing you should look at is if your site has been hit by Google. Check your email or look in Google Search Console. In GSC, you can find the alert by looking for Messages where Google will alert you to the problem in question.
Follow their instructions and fix the issue then resubmit your site to Google to get it back up and running right.
If you’ve made any changes to your site or the way the URL structure of your site works, you may have a ton of URLs that aren’t working like they should. You’d lose a ton of referral traffic if someone tries to follow a link to your website that is OldHomePage.com but your site is now at NewHomePage.com.
This is a simple, if time-consuming, fix! Set up some 301 redirects to get all of your traffic flowing like it should. You’ll want to make sure that any previous URL has a new one it points to, even if it just redirects to the homepage, your traffic will flow.
Your site may have been hacked! This can happen in any number of ways with someone gaining access to your site, redirecting it to their own, or gaining access to the private data of your customers. And it’s not just the hack that would set your traffic to zero. Google could catch on that your website is compromised and steer potential customers away to keep their users safe.
If you suspect your website has been hacked, look for email alerts from Google and follow their advice. Recovering from a hack will require more than just new credentials to access your site, you’ll want to work with your developer to clean up the mess and rebuild the defenses.
There are several other potential reasons for slow traffic! Your site might be the victim of a SPAM attack, your website’s server might need upgrading, an SSL may be expired – the list goes on! Don’t want to deal with the headache? Call Helix House today and enlist us as your partner in the digital space! We’ll leverage all of our expertise to keep your site up and running, and growing too!