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In dealing with small businesses, I think it's important to understand what they hope to get out of the site and manage their expectations. Some simply want a site which can be referenced on their business cards and print ads - they don't expect the web site to generate traffic on its own. Others (often unrealistically) think they will put the site up and will suddenly see a flood of orders.
As the question stands, IMO it just boils down to interest in a particular area (of life in general), how much you cover this topic and how well you spam it up to the top of SERPs :)
I mean, if you have a site like everythingunderthesun.com, you could expect quite a wide berth of visits. something like whatihadformydinnerlastnite.com or mypetdogsfavouritewalk.com wont attract many people, proberly because no one even thinks about your dog or your dinner!
I just tend to "guess" how many people "should" be at a site by the categories that the site suits in the likes of DMOZ. If youre 10 categories deep, then somehow I dont expect your website to draw people in by the thousands. If its 1st or second tier...sky is the limit!
1) Has the site been properly optimized for search engines?
2) Has the site been submitted to every search engine possible?
3) Has the site been submitted to all possible directories, and with "optimized" listing information?
The rest relates to the site itself...
4) Does the site look professional and present the subject material well?
5) Is the offer popular or obscure? Is it priced right?
6) Is the site designed to grab a visitor's attention on the target topic?
7) Does the site do anything to build trust? If they don't trust you, they are not likly to buy even if the offer is attractive.
So I think it's really getting qualified traffic to the site, and then making sure that they find what they are looking for.
In my experience, you can expect a 2-4 time increase in traffic and sales for a site that has been correctly optimized and submitted.
$14k to build
$4k monthly site maint fee.
$2k monthly online promotion budget.
$3k offline monthly promotion budget.
After nine months, average page views per day are just under 400 with 120 uniques.
Sounds like a smashing failure? Next stop, chapter13/f* company list right?
No so - the company is incredibly pleased with the results. The site has been responsible for over $1.5mil gross offline sales the last 8 months. With upsells, it will probably be $2 to 2.25 mil gross.
It was the most highly targetted campaign I've ever been associated with. They have a offline product that is targetted at a very select crowd (pony for a hood ornament crowd - and I don't mean a Mustang). They average $350 per customer to just acquire leads. They want the site to be responsible for just 1 sale per week and it's been averaging 1.5.
On the other hand, I know of a site that is doing 3 million page views a month and has trouble getting the site to pay it's shared hosting fees.
If you have the rankings under a quality spread of kw's, the actual traffic is all up to the keyword sector. Some kw's burn hot for awhile and fade (mp3). Those kinds can generate mass traffic for high rankings. Other kw's don't even show on any list you can find, yet are some of the best in business.
Process variables are things like hits, unqiue visitors, page views, Outcome variables are what counts - and depends on your web strategy. Ours are subscriptions to lists and email newsletters, enquiries from email forms, and closed sales.
For a personal contribution 3 of our niche sites that have been around for 3 to 8 years. - One gets 3,000 unique vistors a day, the others get 300 to 600. But all are meeting our outcome variable targets. For eample the one that gets 300 a day is in a very niche market, but gets around 5 new newsletter subscriptions a day, and we have closed sales on 4 major contracts from web referrals in the last 6 months.
The measure of a success of a Web project depends on how well it meets the goals set by your strategy!