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Website Traffic Suddenly Dropped — Can a new Wordpress theme cause this??

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# 1
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Analytics Community,


Hi there. My website has been so consistent for the last few years (I thought), that I failed to notice until this past couple weeks that on Feb 22, 2017, my traffic dropped in traffic immensely — overnight(4k-5k daily page views down to 1700 daily the next day)


The night before, Feb 21st, there was a huge spike of page views, and then the next day the page view numbers dropped way down and have been consistently low ever since.  (see screenshot below)


I'm fairly new with digging deep into GA, but I have spent enough time in the last 2 weeks pouring over this problem, and losing sleep, that I've been able to put together some information that could be useful to figure out what's happened. 


Starting in January this year, I have done some overhauling to my website — mainly on Jan 19th, changing my Wordpress theme from Headway Themes (apparently Headway has gone out of business so I jumped ship) to Divi (Elegant Themes). 



Is it possible that just changing to a new theme, could cause traffic to decrease? 




[Personal Analysis]

After getting into my analytics more, I noticed that between 10-24-2016 and 02-22-2017, my bounce rate was close to 2%. A lot of help here in the forums point to a bounce rate this low of having 2 copies of the GA tracking code reporting. This could explain why my pages per session basically doubled during this same time 4 month period that was affected. 


Then something I did to my website, or files on my server, deleted that second tracking code on 02-22 and my total page views and pages/session count came back to "normal" levels. 


I thought this was problem solved in my search for the answer!  


But, after charting all of the data (see chart below I made) I noticed a scary bit of information that seems to point to a much bigger issue at hand. The chart led me to wonder if just changing my theme to another one has spelled doom for my website.


I noticed the number of daily users for my website has been fairly consistent in the 1800-2000 range since late 2015. Then, really looking closely at a GA graph of just the user count, it seems that right after I changed themes in Jan of this year, the daily total user count is now creeping down evenly over time. It's gone down from 1800 or so to around 1000 today, 2 months later.  (See screenshot below - bullet point showing day I changed themes - Jan 19th).



This is horrifying to me!  What could be causing this? If not the theme? I'm just terrified if it's not something I can find and fix immediately, the numbers are just going to keep going down every day until it's 0.


Any help in this matter would be TRULY appreciated


Thank you so much,

Curtis B.





Hosted at WPEngine entire time in question


Other 2017 timeline info:

01-19 - changed theme

02-16 - Setup SSL - https - on the website

02-21 - Spike in PageViews — I was testing a business search feature on my website's new business directory I just added.. so it's possible I created this surge.

02-22 - deleted all of the old theme files and plugins that theme exclusively used off my server. They were deactivated for the past month.

02-24 - Switched website to PHP7 - host moved my website to another physical server (as I understand it)



2017-04-12  SYEL Install page view change.jpg






2017-04-14  SYEL Users Nov 2016 - Apr 2017-web.jpg







1 Expert replyverified_user

Website Traffic Suddenly Dropped — Can a new Wordpress theme cause this??

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Without being able to check the old site setup, its a bit hard to tell. however looking at the traffic loss analysis, its gone from an 80+% bounce rate.. to less than 3% bounce rate and almost double the pageviews... yet the number of users has remained roughly unaffected.. 

So.. there may have been virtual pageviews being tracked.. or the tracking code was possibly firing twice on some of those pages... eg installed via a theme option and also a plugin (seen that happen on frequent occasions)
because the the drop in pageviews coincides with a returned increase in bounce rate again... with still no large fluctuations/variances in the number of users 







Bronwyn Vourtis, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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