How Much Does a Visitor Cost Your Digital Business?

How much are you paying for a visit?

How much does this visitor cost?

Do you know how much your digital visitors cost?

Well, if you are working for the UK Government, you will now know how much a single visitor to your website costs – and it can vary by a factor of 48,900%.

Yes, that’s right, the cost of visiting cost just 2p per visitor – compared to the cost of visiting which cost £9.78 per visitor.

You can read more about the analysis provided by the Guardian’s data blog.

How can you use this data?

Well, the first question to ask is whether the £9.78 spent on a  visitor to the UK Trade Invest site was good value or not, compared to a visitor to the Number10 website – costing 2p.

We could at this point fall into a lengthy discussion about time spent on the website and therefore, the quality of the visit – but I think that we should approach this a different way.

Firstly, a Number10 is essentially a PR/ News selling site. That is, its function is to push a set of news stories in a way that is beneficial to the UK Government. If it can successfully influence the media agenda, then it is doing a good job.

Equally, the purpose of UKTradeInvest is to bring investment to the UK or support exports. A single investment could be multi-million pound – and therefore, the site is selling a key product – trade to or from the UK – to potentially very high end users.

Okay, let’s look at the costs. Number 10 spent 400,000 GBP on its website last year – that’s around 30,000 GBP per month – or the costs of a medium sized magazine.

On the other hand, UKTradeInvest spent 5,000,000 GBP on its website last year. Now that would pay for the print, distribution, editorial and production of 25 copies of the London Evening Standard. On Editorial costs alone, it would probably get you a 64 page daily newspaper for most of the year.

So, let’s get back to the value argument – take a look at www.­uktradeinvest.­gov.­uk – which will immediately redirect you to a different domain name. The site’s home page – looks cluttered and static. Clearly there are logins and databases behind it – but it looks really hard to use.

It is quite possible that UKTradeInvest has spent a lot of money developing tools – but the figures suggest that no-one is either finding or using those tools. Perhaps because no one really want them?

Take a look now at – and you can really clearly see what this website is about – and why you might want to browse or come back.

The point then is this – very high visitor costs are probably a sign that readers/ browsers simply aren’t engaged with your website. Perhaps this is because it is dull and static (like the UK Trade Invest) or more probably, people/ visitors don’t really know what to do when they get there.

And this brings it all back to the strength of the brand!

To make your digital business work – or any business which relies on digital communication – you need to clearly define and understand the message you want to communicate – then deliver that message and as a result build a strong brand presence.

If you fail, you’ll end up with exceptionally expensive websites that aren’t being used.

So, let’s go back to our brands – and let’s review what we are trying to do – and let’s see if we can achieve a cost of 2p per visitor?

By the way, average time on the site – per visitor – for Number10 is over 5 minutes. UK Trade Invest achieves 6 minutes. Both of which are high scores, but I’d rather be paying 2p per visitor – wouldn’t you?

So what do we do?

Let’s use this information then to set some goals. Websites that cost 2p per visitor and where the visitor stays longer than 5 minutes are a success and will be a clear sign that your have a strong and clear brand and are delivering your website to a high quality relative to the cost.

New start-up digital businesses are going to take some time (or get very lucky, quickly) to reach these kind of figures – but this does set a goal for what we should be aiming at.

Now, would we be willing to share data about the cost per visitor to our websites? Hmm… there’s a tricky question. Answers below please…

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by Editor

Leader. Speaker. Trainer. Helping snr execs and entrepreneurs achieve their business and funding goals.

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5 Responses to “How Much Does a Visitor Cost Your Digital Business?”

  1. […] How much does a visitor cost your digital business? | Rags to Wreckages … to Riches […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Lesniak, Neil Lewis. Neil Lewis said: Fascinating – the UK Govt has released data on what it costs – per visitor – to run its websites – and the variation i… […]

  3. […] our last article, we talked about the cost of a visitor to your website, and how this can vary from a couple of pence or cents to anything up to 10 GBP or over 15 US […]

  4. Fascinating – the UK Govt has released data on what it costs – per visitor – to run its websites – and the variation is massive! Which begs the questions – how good is your website? (ie how much are you paying per visitor?)

  5. by Editor says:

    Since this article was posted and the UK Government released these figures, the government division responsible for these websites has decided to cut staff by 40%.

    I know there is some debate about the value of the visitors – but at the end of the day, websites that don’t have a clear revenue generation are at risk of being cut or reduced if their cost per visitor is too high.

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