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I'd like to ask "What exactly is considered a lot of traffic for a website?"

What's the minimum someone could say - after stating their website receives a lot of traffic - as to not be laughed at?

Inspired by this question on stack overflow

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2  
This is quite subjective, but then that other question was too, but yielded some good answers. Can you edit it so the people who aren't in the UK during the week 7 to 13 August 2011 and saw that particular programme aren't confused by the Dragon's Den reference? Actually I think that person didn't think that was a lot of traffic, I think the person was making the point it wasn't a lot of traffic, but that's not your question. –  paulmorriss Aug 8 '11 at 8:22
    
@Paul done! I know this is subjective and your niche is quite important but I agree the other question was interesting and I'd like to know peoples thoughts. –  Tom Gullen Aug 8 '11 at 8:54
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5 Answers 5

up vote 31 down vote accepted

I've created the following scale to help give some feel of what "a lot" might mean. It uses estimates of unique monthly visitors for popular websites to create a high point, then works down from there.

The "what's a lot of traffic?" scale (monthly uniques):

"A right royal load"  =   1 billion+      e.g. Google
"A mother load"       =   500 million+    e.g. Facebook
"A crap load"         =   100 million+    e.g. Wikipedia
"A boat load"         =   10 million+     e.g. News sites, StackExchange
"A lot"               =   1 million+      e.g. Very popular blogs, Web shops
"Quite a lot"         =   100,000+        e.g. Popular blogs
"Small fish"          =   0 - 100,000     e.g. Your mate Dave's tumblog

Examples below based on collected data points of varying accuracy and usefulness:

1 billion unique monthly visitors (a right royal load)

Google's estimated monthly unique visitor count is around a billion, as reported by the Wall Street Journal here in June 2011, based on comScore's estimates.

714 million unique monthly visitors (a mother load)

Facebook's monthly visitors are almost as high as Google's, according to the same comScore report that the Wall Street Journal cited.

400 million unique monthly visitors (a crap load)

The Wikimedia foundation reports around 400 million monthly uniques for all Wikimedia sites worldwide (e.g. Wikipedia).

46 million unique monthly visitors (a boat load)

A popular news site, such as the Guardian reports its monthly unique browser count at about 46 million. This is in line with other large news websites: The Huffington Post reported 36.6 million uniques and the The New York Times reported 35.5 million uniques, both from the US alone [source].

20 million unique monthly visitors (a boat load)

A popular Q&A family of sites, such as the StackExchange network, sees around 20 million uniques per month, according to union square ventures in March 2011.

8 million unique monthly vistors (a lot)

A popular shopping site such as ASOS has around 8 million monthly uniques. That's still a lot.

5 million unique monthly visitors (a lot)

A very popular blog, such as Matthew Inman's TheOatmeal receives around 5 million monthly unique visitors.

More than 100,000 unique monthly visitors (quite a lot)

Popular and moderately famous blogs and sites live in this band. (Anecdotal data point: I used to run a small popular blog that got about this amount of traffic. It's a healthy amount of traffic to have. It's also about the number of monthly uniques you need to make AdSense/ad units worthwhile, in my opinion.)

Fewer than 100,000 unique monthly visitors (small fish)

Everything else—hobbyist blogs and websites—fall here.

Notes

"A lot" is a relative term, so it's important to note that the scale above is only a very loose guideline. Many webmasters would be perfectly happy with a few thousand uniques a month for a personal blog, for example, and may well deem that "a lot". It depends entirely on the context, the competition, and the extent to which your own sense of achievement is inflated by lots of zeros.

Still, it's fun to see how far the scale reaches.

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very nice scale, it does put things into perspective. i would be very happy with 100k hits, let alone uniques.... but it's very subjective, for me 100 uniques in a month would be a lot at this point. –  xyious Aug 8 '11 at 10:59
    
Great post, thanks! I still think however the small fish scale needs to be broken up, there is an important and distinct difference imo between 1,000 monthly uniques, 50,000 uniques and 99,000 uniques. Is this a good Community Wiki question? –  Tom Gullen Aug 8 '11 at 11:23
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Nice scale but I think your should also factor in the size of the site. If you have a 5,000 page site, then a million unique visitors would be quite different from a 5 page site with a million unique visitors. –  Rincewind42 Aug 8 '11 at 13:25
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The real value is as a percentage of your target audience - if your target audience is 100 people and you get 80 unique visits, you're big fish in that demographic. –  EightBitTony Aug 8 '11 at 14:37
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100k uniques is far from "small fish" - it means there are thousands of people searching for and finding your site every day. An ecommerce shop getting 3,500 visits a day is likely making solid sales. I would say anything up to 1,000 visits/day is small fish. –  DisgruntledGoat Aug 8 '11 at 15:07
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lot's of talkers on here. haha. Here's the real scoop. It depends on your goals. For businesses, traffic is somewhat irrelevant. Focus instead on conversions. For the ego, traffic is nice. Regarding what other hard working people are able to achieve...it's absurd to compare anyone on here to google or facebook or wikipedia. Very few websites in the whole world get 1 million hits. 100/month is a good start. 1,000 is a great start. 10,000 is damn good. 100,000 is holy poop super duper amazing. 250,000 is 'Fa-get about it!'

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"250,000 is 'Fa-get about it!'" What does "very few" mean? I've worked for a relatively-small niche site ranked 50k+ at Alexa which clears 250k+ visits/mo on a regular basis - this would seem to indicate that there are actually quite a few sites clearing > 250k visits/mo. –  danlefree May 2 '13 at 10:52
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The "how much money you can make out with Adsense" could be another scale, even if IMHO the revenue estimates provided in the above link are extremely optimistic!

I usually see much, much, much less money per month compared to the revenue estimate values given out in the above link, I would say to divide these values by 1000 to get maybe closes to the reality (I can't disclose Adsense revenues due to Google Adsense terms of policy)

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I think it depends. If you have a niche website with 10,000 monthly visitors, this could be a lot of traffic, too.

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I've just broken down Nicks answer for <100,000 uniques as I think it needs expanding a bit :)

50,000 unique monthly visitors (a pop)

A healthy amount of visitors and showing the signs of value

25,000 unique monthly visitors (a buzz)

Healthy interest

10,000 unique monthly visitors (a fizz)

Signs of potential for small sites

2,500 unique monthly visitors (a beep)

A blog/info site with a reasonable amount of interest

500 unique monthly visitors (a pip)

A very small blog visited only by a handful of people.

100 unique monthly visitors (a blip)

A tiny blip on the Internet.

20 unique monthly visitor (friends and family)

A website probably only visited by yourself and friends and family

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Glad I wasn't the only one finding it a bit thin down there! –  Andy Aug 8 '11 at 12:54
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