How fast can a website realistically grow

A question I would like to answer is "How fast can a website realistically grow?" I often get asked this by some of my clients and the answer depends of various factors I will discuss in this article. We need to clarify some semantics when we define growth since one mans definition may be slightly different to the next. In my view we can define growth as: Any positive increase in website traffic over the shortest possible time period. We will not include those minor decreases in traffic that one might experience during the weekend but rather look at the overall monthly increase for a particular website.

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What is seen as realistic growth?

As a few webmasters this question and you will probably get any number of answers. Realistic website growth depends on various factors including the market, your particular niche, the competition, and your SEO techniques. The opportunity is only as lucrative as the market allows it to be, if your particular niche only 10,000 broad searches a month you will often struggle to get any real traffic unless you are ranked first.

So with this in mind, it is extremely difficult to define normal when it comes to growth. If your website is expanding in terms of content then you should expect a monthly growth of about 2 percent, however this depends on how good your content is, your return visits, and whether or not you have reached the peak of traffic for your niche. Traffic has limits, and unless you operate Facebook or Google these limits are quantifiable.

Website owners do not often understand these limits, they ask "Why am I only getting 10 visitors a day?", they fail to grasp the size of their market, and believe their business should have much more visitors that simply dont exist in the first place. If your niche is limited to a thousand search queries per month, you would be happy to get 10 visitors a day since you are getting 30 percent of the overall market, in fact it would be more likely to get 3 visitors a day depending on the competition.

Can you build a popular website Quickly?

The relationship between ranking and traffic is 1 to 1 so without ranking for certain keywords you will struggle to gain any real traffic. With good keyword research and a little bit of luck it is possible to find a domain that rises up the ranks quickly, these domains are usually EMD domains or exact match domains. Many webmasters spend long nights sifting through keyword statistics and domain availability in the hope of finding a gold mine.

These website do climb the ladder quicker so to answer the question is, "Yes, you can build websites that grow quickly". If you are lucky enough to find these types of domains you are only half way there, you still need to develop a quality website that fills the market gap. If you have a good EMD but a poor quality site you generally wont rank well.

Example case study

I want to discuss a website I created a few months ago that grew relatively quickly in terms of ranking, I will not name the website but I will give some images that provide some analytical insights. This site could be viewed as "average" when it comes to popularity but the rate of growth was astonishing. I found this site doing some keyword research and was pretty happy when my concept all came together - its a great feeling when all those long hours of research pay off and your idea seems to work in the real world.

The figure below shows how the website grew from July 2013 till August 2013, as you can see I started out with a new website and 0 visitors and ended up peaking with 567 visitors about 20 Days later. It should also be noted that this kind of growth is somewhat rare and only happens when you find a niche that has no real competition.

Analytics Growth

The next figure shows over a 40 day period I had 9000 visitors with an average of 225 per day - this figure would be higher if I removed weekends since they website is mainly used during the work week.

Average Daily visitors

The website is currently positioned second on Google and has bounce rate of 22 percent, this is probably one of the main reasons I have stayed there for the past 3 months since the average visitor views about 6 pages per visit.

Site Bounce Rate

For the months of August 2013, I had 50,000 page views and this is not bad considering I only started the website a month before. You should note that my return visitors account for just under a third of those 9000 visits and that is a positive trend related to its usefulness.

Unique Visitors

The Best and Average Case Traffic Scenarios

We will not discuss those websites that have mass following like Facebook, Wikipedia, Google etc. What we will do is define success in terms of the typical website owner and by using some successful website statistics, how do you know your site is average, or above average of simply a roaring success. We need to stress that this would only apply to websites that are competing for a relatively popular search terms, like flower deliveries or loan calculators.

In the best case scenario would be expecting to see no less than 5,000 visitors per day, most websites can not achieve those kinds of levels but some websites have a large support base and thousands of pages that draw visitors from all over the world.

For the Average case scenario you would probably be getting closer to 500 visitors a day mark, this is still seen as a great success to most webmasters, many of these sites are niche topics that have reached their maximum potential or simply not good enough to reach a wider audience - again this depends on various other factors.

Most websites are not getting anywhere close to these numbers, the majority of websites out there "95 percent" are not getting any proper traffic and are simply static websites used to advertise a small business.

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