I got an email today from a client freaking out because their traffic was down about 40% yesterday and Google simultaneously sent them warnings in GWT / their email. How do you chill such a client out?
Fortunately, I’d seen that this client’s traffic sunk over Christmas and that it was generally down on weekends. So when I got the email this morning, I opened Google Analytics and did the following:
1. Looked at visitors’ overview for Mondays in May, individually, compared historically.
2. When doing so, picked Country/Territory for the segmentation lower down on the same screen.
3. Observed that it was -ONLY- US traffic which was down yesterday, suggesting it was something US-specific that caused traffic to tank.
What happened in the USA, yesterday, the last Monday of May? Memorial Day :). Whew. Crisis averted.
Takeaway: Don’t freak out if traffic drops. Use your critical thinking: define the problem, search for existing solutions/data instead of reinventing the wheel, and then make a decision on what to do based on the expected value of each possible choice.
In this case, the data pretty well spoke for itself. DON’T make sudden changes to the site, because there may not really be a penalty or other issue.
We are of course still looking into the status codes issue, because we want to increase traffic above current levels. Not because traffic dropped and we need to act NOW NOW NOW.
Using your critical thinking in this way helps clients see the value of your consulting services. You’re not just regurgitating best practices to them, you’re helping them get perspective.