Before actually seeing the evidence in my own stats panel, I would not have thought it was possible that merely changing themes could have such a drastic effect on my site stats.
One of my sites had been bumbling along quite nicely on free themes, and later an inexpensive one from Elegant Themes. They seemed to do the job, and I was getting about 15 thousand page views per month, 500 page views every day seemed like a lot to me. I must be doing something right, right?
Your theme framework impacts on SEO heavily. The little factors like bounce rate, load times, page views per session, all contribute to how Google sees your site.
I was aware of this, but hadn’t realised how much of an impact it would have on my traffic when I switched to a Genesis theme.
2 years B.G. (before Genesis)
A couple of years prior to making the switch, and the site was new, so had very little content in the early days, but it was regularly updated with 5 to 6 posts per month.
The traffic increased after about a year, levelling off at a steady average of about 15K per month.
As I said, I was quite happy with this!
The motivation to upgrade to Genesis was inspired mainly out of cosmetic reasons – I really liked their beautifully clean designs, how uncluttered they make sites appear. I didn’t realise the effect it would have on traffic too. What a bonus!!
Installing Genesis – making the switch.
It’s always a little nerve wracking to make a big change to a site where you have a half decent sized audience. You don’t want to upset people, and most of all, you don’t want to break the site and have it go offline for any length of time.
My fears were unfounded. Everything worked straight out of the box. I was even able to get rid of some older plugins, so hopefully that would contribute to the site running faster too.
Switching to Genesis was easily one of those things where you just wish you’d done it ages ago. If only you had known, it would have been a no-brainer.
Genesis helped improve my site traffic
This is a little bit of an understatement.
Take a look at the chart below. I installed Genesis during the first week of April.
Instant improvement, but – disclaimer – the site in question is mostly sport related, and there is a seasonal element at play here.
But look at the stats for the following months. It just goes up and up and up until it’s hitting between 45 and 55K per month. That’s over 300% more page views.
The page views per visit increased slightly, so the biggest effect was that more people were now seeing the site, presumably because with a better optimised SEO structure, the posts would be more likely to appear higher up in Google’s search results.
The chart speaks for itself.
Of course, to be fair, it’s only reasonable to point out that additional content was still being produced throughout this period. The new theme is not the only variable.
But the sudden and sustained rise in traffic following the switch to Genesis seems like it cannot be just a happy coincidence.