Web traffic is a funny thing. You can get loads of traffic and get no results and you can get very few visitors and get several conversions. There are a few different things that come into play with this. Please hang in there with me as I try to walk you through some of this information. There is a reason that we have several writers on the team. Unfortunately I am not one of them!
The first thing we will look at is the quality of your traffic.
Where are you getting your traffic from? Is it coming from social media updates, search engine results, ad buys, mass emails? You can buy traffic from any number of places online. What is the point though if you aren’t getting conversions which is in the diving industry, reservations.
The first category we will look at is search engine traffic. The usefulness of this can be wide ranging. If you own a dive shop in Guanaja, Honduras ( I am beginning to build a site for this shop now and thought I would use this chance to get a link), and you rank for the term “dive shops in Guanaja, Honduras” there is a pretty high probability that whoever did that search is interested in going diving in this location. That makes this traffic much more valuable than someone who is searching for information on whale sharks which your site might happen to rank for as well. A person who is interested in “whale sharks” and uses that as their search term, may very well be a diver, but the chances of them already being in the planning stages of a trip to Honduras are much less so this traffic is still alright but not nearly as valuable.
Facebook and other social media platforms is another great example of where you can get useful or useless traffic. If you put meaningful status updates, blog posts, dive discounts, sales, whatever. This traffic can be quite valuable. People are going to be genuinely interested in whatever you are posting and looking for more information on that 10 dive 4 night package you put together. On the other hand, if you put an update with an intriguing photo (lets say of a shark and a diver) and then put a heading like “Girl comes face to face with 4 meter shark and you will never believe what happens next!” People are going to click your link out of curiosity but are ultimately going to be of little value as they had no purpose or intention other than to see if she got eaten or not to go to your site. Now is it bad to have this traffic, not really, but there isn’t really any purpose to it either.
Analytics are a great way of helping provide you with information on third party links and their usefulness to your business. Take for example, your dive shop buys a directory listing at a dive information site and is charging $500 per year. They call you up and want next years money for the link on their site. You humm and haaa and ask how much traffic they sent your way. They look at their stats and tell you they sent 2000 visitors your way. Well it isn’t hard to fathom that out of those visitors you were able to convert say 10 of them and your average visitor may be worth $200 to your business. So 10x$200 is $2000, ya $500 seems like a good investment. Hold on though. That 2000 visitors is really a useless number without looking into it a little further. If you know your way around Google Analytics you can filter out just the visitors who came to your website from your ad on that site. You can see out of the 2000 (if that is even an accurate number) how many of the visitors went further into your site. Looking at pricing and your contact page indicates they are more serious about visiting your shop than visitors who just look at photos. So after you look at these analytics you have a much better idea of the value of the traffic from that ad and can determine whether you want to invest another $500 for the next year.
Another thing you need to consider with regards to conversions is how easy it is for the diver to find information and give you theirs.
Once you get your meaningful traffic you need to convert it into a customer. How do you do that? Well it’s simple. Well actually it’s really not. The first thing you need to do is impress that visitor to your site with regards to the professionalism and quality of your business. People often get their first impression of a business based upon that businesses website. This is especially true in tourism style businesses such as many dive shops. If your site hasn’t been updated in 10 years they may very well assume your equipment, boats, and training hasn’t either. You need to have high quality photos and information on a clean designed site. If you are going to have a blog, please don’t have the last post showing from 4 years ago. This just screams floundering dive shop. Stay active, keep it up to date, and you will be rewarded.
The next thing you have to consider is how easy is it for the customer to get and give information. You want to have all of your content laid out in very easy to understand navigation menus. If they are looking for prices, have it there. If they are looking for accommodations have them either listed on your site, or have the accommodation options open in a new window rather than allowing the visitor to click the link and go to the hotels website. You may not get them back. Have social media buttons on your site that allow the visitor to like you on facebook or twitter or google plus. Have your contact information clearly displayed on every page. Have an easy to use contact form that allows you to get all of the information you need from the visitor to contact them as soon as possible. Get their name, phone number and email, as a minimum. I usually try and get information regarding dates of planned travel, address, group size, and allow a field for them to ask questions as well. The more info you have on them, the better information and help you can provide.
Another option that is great if you can dedicate the time to managing it is Live Chat. In todays world a lot of people like to get their information immediately. If you are going to be available for a large percentage of the time it is a great option to put a Live Chat button on your site. You can provide instantaneous information and support to the visitor and obviously increase the likelihood of them using you as a dive operator. We have all been to the sites where the Live Chat is always offline though and it is frustrating to see the thing as always offline.