Traffic leakage is a problem that many website owners do not understand, but it can be a gigantic reason for lost revenue. For many websites, especially informative ones, this term isn’t really an issue and can be beneficial so I will explain when it’s good to have this and when it’s not.
My definition of traffic leakage:
Imagine a pipe in a sink that has holes in and water is leaking out. When that happens, you either have to plug in the holes yourself or hire a plumber, otherwise big problems can happen: Water can fill up the room and damage your house.
Traffic leakage is very similar, but not bad in all circumstances. It’s just a term in online marketing where traffic that goes to your website ends up leaving it for other sites and just about every time it happens, it’s because the website owner put up those exits on their site. That’s why I said many website owners don’t understand it’s happening but wonder why they are getting less sales.
I made this picture to illustrate traffic leakage:
Green arrows are incoming traffic to your website.
Yellow arrows are people who leave your website to an affiliate offer and/or something that can potentially end up earning you money. It’s yellow because not everyone who clicks to buy offers completes them, so it’s yellow.
Red arrows are visitors who leave the site without doing anything you want them to (come back, circulate around your website or buy something/opt-in to something you want). Basically this is the actual leaked traffic. Some people who land on your site might not find the information on it relevant enough and that can lead to them leaving. Or there are other…
Common situations where traffic leakage can occur:
You put up YouTube videos on your site. YouTube videos do have an embed option to be put on websites, but if you do this, be aware that if people see related videos on the actual video at the end of it or have the option to click the YouTube button, they’ll leave your site and probably never come back.
You have links going to other websites you have no affiliation with. People especially in the beginning of their websites often have links going to other blogs and authority websites that give them no profit if people visit it, but the whole problem with having these links is that if people leave, they will most likely not return.
You have ads showing on your site that don’t convert well. On a case study I did, I found that too many people let leakage happen because they over advertise on their website, distracting visitors from their content and losing out on sales. Unless the ads you place on your site are converting well, you should be careful on how you use ads. If your focus is to keep attention on your site and your affiliate offers, make sure to have less ads that go to another website.
When people complain to me about their site not doing well (not making money usually) and I look at their site, I always see one or more of these things.
When it’s bad to have leakage on your site and how to fix it:
Now that you know when it happens, I did say there are times when it’s good and times when it’s bad. The only time it’s “bad” to have it is when you’re trying to monetize your website. In those situations, you want a few things to be happening:
A) You want all the traffic that lands on your page to either visit what you’re selling (if it’s on your site or an affiliate website).
B) If people are clicking on your site, it should either be to a page which sells them something, has them opt-in or at least browse through other pages on your site.
At least in those situations, the traffic is circulating around the website and if it leaves, you know that where it’s going to can end up making you a profit.
When it’s good to have leakage:
There are SEO benefits to linking to authority and/or relevant websites on your page. For example, if I am writing a health article and cite a study that proves my position, I can link people to that study directly so they can read it. While there is a chance a portion of readers will click on that link and read it, I will get SEO points for not being greedy on my site and trying to keep people there, but on the other, well you know, less profits if that’s my intention.
But it’s good to have outgoing links if your site is still new (For SEO). you can diminish the odds of leakage if you’re going to do this through a couple of options:
A) You can put the outgoing link/s in places where there is no call to action. People usually click on links that give them commands or have exciting titles. If you can put basic links in one word and in the middle of a paragraph, it’ll get less noticed and be less clicked on.
B) Even if people DO click on the link, one way to help remind them your site is still worth looking at is that selecting the option for the link to “open in a new window” which means if people click it, a new window will open up showing them what you’re linking them to, but at the same time keep the page they were on available so if they forget, they’ll still see it’s open. There’s more chances they’ll return that way.
Do you know if you have traffic leakage?
If you have a big blog with a lot of articles, chances are, it’ll be difficult to remember which articles have links going somewhere that’s causing leakage, but if you have Google Analytics installed, this can make it easy.
Google Analytics has an option where through looking at your site, you can check out bounce rates and for your most highly visited pages. If you see that there are high bounce rates occurring, it’s either because there’s an affiliate link leading to another website (which you would want if you’re aiming to make money) or there’s another link/s there that point to another site which won’t offer you any monetary benefits. Read about bounce rates and how to use them.
Just like traffic leakage, there are times when bounce rates are good and when they are bad. You need to identify what your site’s goal is and then accordingly strategize how you want it to perform.
My website for example is meant to information and sell products to people, so it’s my goal to keep traffic on my page unless it’s leaving to an affiliate offer I have up. I have very few outgoing links on my website because of this, but only in very specific circumstances will I have them up.
For example, when I did a review on Zeek Rewards which ripped of a lot of people, one of the goals of that page was to help people get compensation if they invested into it, so I provided them with a link to a website where they could fill in information to help them do this. In that situation, it made sense because no only did I inform, but I also helped them find a solution to get a refund.
If you are seeing a lot of visitors on your site and your goal is to make money, but it’s not converting well, look at your sales funnel and see if there’s any ads/links that are leading people away from your site and plug them in. You’ll notice a tremendous increase in conversions.
Note: You have to understand that even if you make sure you have a website that has “no leaks”, that there will always be a specific percentage of visitors who leave your website for unexplained reasons and you can’t control that so don’t think that every single visitor who comes to your site is going to either buy something, leave a comment or bookmark it for later.
What you can however do is spot if there’s unwanted holes on the site that can distract or detract them away from the site and fix those using the ideas above.