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The Different Types of Visitor Traffic

Google Analytics categorises four different ways of acquiring traffic to a web site Type-In traffic is, in many ways, the holy-grail for websites. This is the traffic that websites receive simply because people know the name so well, they type it in. Their brand so universally known, and so often visited, that people find just typing it in is the quickest way to get to the site.

When I want to go to Amazon, I click my browser's address bar and type “am[enter]”. Because I visit Amazon so often, without even looking at what site Chrome is suggesting, I know that's where its going to take me.

In the world of website traffic analysis, this is called Direct traffic. There is also Referral, links from other sites, and Search, a click-through from search engine results.

Direct traffic can also be traffic generated by bookmarks. Either ones that are manually created or ones created automatically, like the “New Tabs” page in Google Chrome, which suggest to you a collection of sites you visit most frequently.

Research by WebSideStory showed that Direct traffic is the most valuable traffic. It's twice as valuable, in terms of sales, than then next best. 4.23% of Direct traffic will result in a sale. The next best is Search traffic generating 2.30% sales and the least valuable is Referral traffic at 0.96%

The higher value of Direct traffic is helped by the fact that these are more likely to be visits from existing customers, therefore they are more likely to purchase.

As domains rose to prominence, and the industry of domain investing grew up, it became clear that not all domains are equal. Some domains, even ones that had never been used before, mysteriously come with levels of visitors already attached.

Where the domain had had a previous life, some of those visitors are as a result of the previous ownership of the domain. Some were the result of Referral traffic. Links from other sites, that clicked through to the domain, that had been relevant in its previous life. There may also be Direct traffic from customers & visitors that had been loyal to the domain in its previous existence.

The Domain Parking Industry was Born

However, some domains, even ones that had never been used before, also came with high levels of type-in (Direct) traffic – and so was born the industry of domain parking. The theory being that if you could present these visitors with relevant links to click on, then advertisers would pay to be one of those links.

All went well for a while. At one time, given a reasonable number of domains, you could make a decent living just from parked domains. Then came a problem – the visitors often just didn't click on the advertising – or if they did, they never spent much time on the site they were sent to. The problem stemmed from the fact that the site carrying the advertising wasn't the site they had been looking for in the first place. So when they realised they were in the wrong place, they simply started again and found the site they were looking for.

It's the same reason that spelling-error domains (like ""), mostly, are of little value. They might get quite a lot of visitors, but those visitors only ever see the front page, and go no further.

So the rates paid for parking domains dried up.

A New Generation of Domain Names

But now, a whole new range of top level domains have hit the scene and changed everything. The one unique selling point many of them have, that the older top-level-domains mostly do not have, is that many of the new ones are made of real natural language - like dot-LONDON, dot-MEN, dot-CLUB and so on.

The result is that when people go to many of these domains, even where the domain's never been used before, there is still a good chance you can guess what the visitor is looking for.

UK start-up Names.of.London, under its brand, has been researching this phenomenon. The CEO James Stevens explains - “When we're seeing, week after week, people going to the site, it's hard not to deduce they are looking to buy a Pug – and the same applied to sites like or Of course, the old rule still apply – unless you have relevant content, the user won't stay.

Whether this means there will be a resurgence of the domain parking market, or whether a whole new and innovative market for domain names will open up is yet to be seen.

Mostly Mobile

One thing that is quite interesting about all this type-in traffic we see is that a lot of it is from mobile users - usually around 90%.

This immediately raises the question – why is so much of this type-in traffic coming from mobile users? Part of the answer comes from the fact that the internet is ever increasingly going mobile. Since the middle of 2016 over half all internet access has been from a mobile device. At a similar time, Android overtook Windows as the most common operating system seen by a web servers.

This does vary a bit by country. In the US, for example, the windows desktop is still king, but iOS and Android are hot on it heels and, when taken together, do account for more web traffic.

But that doesn't really explain why we see around 90% of our type-in traffic coming from mobile, so the reason for this must be more complex. So here's some ideas.

Firstly, younger users – Millennials – who are too young to remember the dot-COM boom & bust, probably don't have the same relationship with the traditional top-level domains as us old hands. Its quite possible that, to a younger person, there seems little reason why the domain Shirts.for.Men wouldn't just work.

Certainly our visitor demographics support this – the majority of our visitors are under 34.

Secondly, because these domains are made of natural language phrases, they are simply much easier to enter on a mobile device. They can be more easily spoken and the predictive word entry, common to most mobile keyboards, will already know all the words.


This all adds up to an interesting business opportunity – if you do sell Shirts.for.Men!

By buying the domain from us, not only would you automatically attract the visitors we're currently getting to your site, but it would also give you a great marketing tool to use, especially on social media and messaging apps.



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