How are people entering my site and why does it matter?
Entry Pages will tell you how and where people enter your website – but more importantly, also why they visit your site in the first place. If the most common entry page, besides the home page, is the ‘Careers’ page, chances are that a significant amount of visitors enter your website because they are looking for job opportunities. So whether intended or not, your website serves, to a great extent, as a recruitment platform.
That’s one of the things that’s great about looking at Entry Pages: You quickly figure out if visitor behavior is differing from the patterns you expected or intended. For whatever reason, your ‘Careers’ section might have taken lower priority to other sections when you first developed the website, but now that you’ve learned that this particular section draws a lot of traffic to your site, it might be worth revisiting this page: Does it give a good first impression? Is the content and structure fully optimized? Does the page comply with the web policies you’ve enforced on the rest of the site? Is there a logical next step for the visitor to take in order to find what he or she came for?
Questions Before Data
As with everything else in digital analytics, utilizing Entry Pages should always begin with a question. Entry pages is not meant as a tool for you to apply every day in your web management work. Rather, it is one of several metrics that will help you find answers to clearly defined problems. Here are a few examples of drawing actionable insights from Entry Pages data.
Does your blog drive qualified traffic?
Let’s say that by looking at your Entry Pages data, you’ve learned that individual posts on your business blog account for a total of 10% of all entries to your site. That’s great; your blog actually drives traffic. Perhaps you’ve even made a Scroll Map analysis to see how much visitors read of the individual posts. But then what? Evaluating entry pages also includes looking at the bounce rate of the individual pages; how many of that particular page’s visitors leave your website after they’ve been on that page? Note that the bounce rate is rarely a useful metric in itself as it is very ambiguous. There are no universal definitions of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bounce rates. Bounce rates need to be evaluated on a case by case basis as their significance will depend on the purpose of the particular page: Is it meant for quickly providing visitors with specific information so that they can move on right away, or do you want visitors to stay and engage with more of your content?
With that said, your blog posts are probably examples of pages where you would like a low bounce rate. It’s great if your visitors actually read your posts, but it’s even better if they read AND keep clicking around your site, especially if your blog posts are intended as first steps in a process of converting your visitors into leads. You can combine your Entry Pages data with other Analytics metrics, such as User Journeys and Click Maps to see which routes visitors take when their entry point was a blog post.
What is the most likely entry page for visitors coming from traffic source X?
It’s hard to do any meaningful analyses of Entry Pages data without also taking Traffic Sources into consideration. By combining these two, you might uncover surprising insights as described in these two examples:
Visitors who have been referred from a search engine are most likely to enter our website through the home page regardless of which terms they searched for. Perhaps we need to be better at optimizing our most important subpages for differentiated keywords, so that visitors find the specific service they are looking for right away.
A recent initiative to share landing pages with offers directly through LinkedIn has really paid off. These landing pages work much better as points of entry than any other web pages you’ve been sharing. Now make sure that visitors’ engagement isn’t dropped on the floor after they’ve been on these landing pages.
Note that both examples deal with which pages are the most common points of entry, not necessarily which pages are the most popular (most visited) overall, although there will usually be some kind of correlation.
Are your localized pages working as intended?
If you run a global website, one of the arguments for localizing your pages is to improve the chances of being found when people search for your business’ services in their local language. If you’ve decided to spend resources on localizing your web content, it is obviously critical to evaluate whether this effort has paid off. One way to do this is to check to what extent the localized pages work as entry pages in their respective markets. By combining information about your visitors’ geographical location with data on their preferred entry pages, you can uncover whether a specific local audience are finding your site through content in their own language. To go even further, you can combine this knowledge with data from your Heat and Click Maps to answer questions like:
- If visitors are entering your site through localized pages are they then more likely to take the next steps you want them to?
- How many visitors entering your site through the non-localized home page are choosing to change content language in the language selector and how many are fine with navigating the site in the default language?
Define and explain irregularities
One final thing worth mentioning in relation to Entry Pages is the ability to identify unexpected or sudden peaks in specific entry points. For instance, you might find that an article deeply hidden in the seventh layer of your sitemap (with no prominent internal links leading visitors to it) is suddenly ranking among your top three Entry Pages. One explanation could be that one of the web editors on your team has done a great job of search optimizing this specific article for a well-defined keyword. It could also be that the article has been picked up by another website linking directly to it and hence driving large amounts of traffic to your site this way. Combine Entry Pages with information about External Referring Domains to get an idea of the relationship between inbound links and points of entry to your website.
UNLOCK THE FULL POTENTIAL OF YOUR WEBSITE
Siteimprove’s Behavior Maps were developed and designed with web editors in mind, and we took particular care to design Behavior Maps in a way that would increase work satisfaction for those working with websites on a daily basis. The idea is that web editors and managers should enjoy the instant gratification of seeing that people actually use the content that the web team has been working on, without having to sift through numbers and charts. We are confident that Behavior Maps will bring more joy to web teams’ daily problem-solving.