With this survey, I wanted to find out how much traffic freelancer websites really get. And while we were talking, I asked the freelancers what they find most challenging when it comes to their website.
- What do you do?
- How old is your website?
- What’s your Domain Authority?
- How many daily visitors on average do you get?
- Where do most of your website visitors come from?
- What do you find most challenging when it comes to your website?
Collecting the answers
I created the survey in Google Forms. To collect the answers, I posted the survey on Twitter and LinkedIn and asked many of my friends and peers to take it and share it with their freelancer friends.
After 5 weeks, I’ve collected 250 answers, and here are the results.
Freelancers by Occupation
1/3 of freelancers surveyed were copywriters
The largest group of the freelancers surveyed were copywriters (34%). Business consultants, bloggers / writers, and designers made up a share of around 12% each.
Websites by Age
Giving up too early?
36% of the freelancers got their websites less than a year ago. The number of the websites between 1 and 2 years as well as 3+ years were a bit less: 25% and 27% respectively.
The survey revealed a surprisingly low number of websites between 2 and 3 years old (10,8%). It seems like after 2 years some freelancers give up.
Daily Traffic (All Websites)
Most Websites Get Little Traffic
A whopping 61,8% of the freelancer websites surveyed get fewer than 20 visitors a day.
18,4% get between 20 and 50 daily visitors. And only 19,6% get more than 50 visitors a day.
Daily visitors by website age
Traffic Increases Over Time
In their first year, 81% of freelances have fewer than 20 daily visitors. Naturally, the website traffic increases over time.
In their 2nd year, 57,1% websites get fewer than 20 daily visitors, and 17,5% have more than 50 visitors a day.
Change in Traffic Over Time
Getting traffic seems tough
The traffic refuses to take off for the first 2 years. Even after the 3rd year of freelancing, only 40,6% get over 50 daily visitors, and 45% still have fewer than 20 people a day visiting their website.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that those 3+ year old websites aren’t working properly. To get client inquiries, the freelancers who are longer in business often rely less on the website traffic and more on the referrals.
Traffic Source #1
Organic is Traffic Source #1
For the websites overall, search is the main traffic source (40,8%), followed by direct traffic from personal contacts and word of mouth (30,8%) and traffic from social media (27,2%).
Other traffic sources reported included referrals from guest blogging.
Change in Main Source Over Time
Organic Becomes Dominant Source Only After 2 Years
For the websites younger than 1 year, direct traffic and traffic from the social media are the dominant sources. This evens out between year 1 and 2.
After the 2nd year, organic traffic clearly dominates. It seems like the majority of the freelancers who survived their 2nd year are those who invested their time and effort in the SEO.
Main Challenges When It Comes to the Website
Get more client inquiries:
Main Challenges: Inquiries and Traffic
The main challenges of freelancers seem to be getting client inquiries (45,6%). Yet, only 12,8% find it difficult to write the copy for their homepage, About and sales pages.
Is it possible that not paying enough attention to your website’s copy is contributing to the lack of inquires?
The second biggest challenge is getting more website traffic, which is a struggle for 27,4% freelancers. 18,4% reported that they feel generally overwhelmed.
Main Challenges by Occupation (4 largest groups)
Designers think they write good copy. Coaches feel most overwhelmed.
While there’s not much difference in how much everyone’s struggling to get inquiries (around 50±5%) and growing their email list (18±2%), some other challenges (or their absence) are more prominent for a particular group of freelancers.
Some of those differences can be explained by the occupation. Naturally, copywriters have no problem writing blog posts and web copy, while web designers rarely struggle with technical issues.
Similarly, 35% of freelance writers and bloggers struggle to write engaging blog posts probably because their peers are also good with words, and it’s harder to stand out.
Yet, why only 6,5% of the designers think writing copy is easy and why business coaches and consultants feel overwhelmed more often then other freelancers remains a mystery.
Challenges by Website Age
Inquiries and traffic remain a problem for years
Whether it’s a brand new website or one that has been there for a couple of years, it still doesn’t get enough client inquiries for its owner. The same is the case with the website traffic.
The first 3 years of running your own website seems to be quite overwhelming, and only after year 3 being overwhelmed doesn’t make it to the Challenges Top 3, making room for growing an email list.
Domain Authority (All Websites)
62% don’t know their Domain Authority
Do you know what your Domain Authority (DA)* is? If you don’t, you are not alone. 62% of your peers don’t know that either.
Among those who knew, 52,6% have websites with DA below 20.
* – Domain Authority is a ranking score from 1 to 100 developed by Moz. It predicts how well a website will rank in search. To find out your DA, install Moz Bar Chrome extension and navigate to your website.
Domain Authority by Age
Domain Authority increases over time
Naturally, DA increases with time. Yet, some websites over 3+ years still have a low DA, probably because they don’t blog or rely that much on organic traffic when it comes to inquiries.
Knowing vs not knowing the Domain Auhtority
You’re better off when you know your DA
Freelancers who know the DA of their websites seem to get more traffic, feel less overwhelmed and struggling to get client inquiries less often.
It makes sense as those who took time to find out their DA did it with a purpose of growing it, and now have a better understanding of what to do to drive traffic to their websites.
Meet Jenny, a typical freelancer*
* – as per this survey
Hi. I’m Jenny, and I’m a freelancer.
I have a website, but it’s really new, not even one year old.
I get fewer than 20 visitors a day,
…mostly directly from personal contacts.
No idea what that is.
I’d like to get more client inquiries
…and more traffic to my website. But sometimes I’m struggling with the technical issues or feel generally overwhelmed with this website thing.
The only things I find easy to do are
…write the copy for my web pages and find time to work on my website.
“How much can I trust these results?”
The results of the survey that cover the overall number of participants, such as daily traffic, traffic source #1, domain authority, and main challenges, have a confidence level of 88% with a 5% error margin.
Also, as the participants of the survey were randomly selected, the relatively smaller number of the websites between 2 and 3 years seems not coincidental.
Yet, the results within individual subgroups (traffic by website age, challenges by occupation, etc.) have a lower confidence level and are more likely to have been different if the number of the freelancers surveyed was larger.
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