There are are essentially five ways someone can come to your website:
- Through a link (known as a referral)
- Through a search engine such as Google or Bing
- Through the ads you see on the internet (known as pay-per-click ads)
- Through social media.
Direct visits are when the user enters the url of one of the pages of your website into their browser and go directly to your website.
Direct visits are the best visits. Direct traffic, the sum total of all your direct visits, is incredibly valuable. Direct visits are considered the best visits for a simple reason: user intent. The idea is, the person went to the trouble of typing in (or copying and pasting) your url; they must really want to visit your website. Therefore, a high proportion of direct traffic in your total traffic is good for your site (provided your traffic is good).
There are two types of direct visits: real direct visits and referrals posing as direct.
Referral Visits Posing as Direct Visits
One way you can get direct traffic, perhaps the most common way depending upon your site, is by users copying your url from somewhere – a social media post, a website, an email – and pasting it into your browser. This visit is counted as a direct visit even though it’s not. The good news is that it’s still good traffic.
How to Get Direct Traffic
There are two ways to get direct traffic:
If your site url is somewhere offline – anywhere offline – and a user types it into their browser, this is a going to be counted as a direct visit. Here are some ways you can get direct traffic:
- Url on a business card
- Url on a billboard or other public ad or display
- Url in the Yellow Pages
- Word of mouth.
It’s a lot harder to do this online. Basically, direct traffic coming from online only is going to either come from the referrals as direct traffic listed above, or through online word of mouth, i.e. branding.
Making your site well known enough so that people decide they are going to visit it is really hard. Think about whether or not you’re ever done this: entered a url you’ve never been to before because someone online told you to visit this site (without a link) or you otherwise heard about the site.
Basically, it’s much better to focus your efforts offline until your company is famous enough (or niche enough) to be famous online.