If your audience doesn’t think your content is relevant or helpful, then you’re just wasting words. But people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, so how can you truly tell if your content is resonating with your audience? Analytics.
Your website’s analytics data will provide you with everything you need to know about your audience; who they are, how they got to your site, and what they did once they got there.
Let's take a look at some of the analytics segments that can help you improve your site’s content immediately.
Understanding where your website’s visitors are coming from will allow you to tailor your messaging for specific channels and decide where to focus your marketing efforts. If you’re seeing a spike in traffic from online searches for a specific keyword, don’t be afraid to give people more of what they want.
In most cases, visitors aren’t reaching your website through the front door. Online searches often lead visitors to your 2nd and 3rd tier pages where the content is focused on a specific topic. This is important to keep in mind when developing page content as SEO applies to every page on your site, so be sure that every page has a clearly defined purpose.
Your analytics will also show you when and where visitors are leaving your site, allowing you to identify pages that present potential roadblocks, or aren’t providing the information they need.
Numbers don’t lie. They're actually brutally honest. If a page has high traffic, it’s safe to assume that the content is hitting the mark with your audience, while pages with low traffic may need some special attention.
The one thing numbers don’t provide is context, so be aware of the bounce rate on pages with high traffic. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors are leaving your site without going to any additional pages. This should be concerning for pages that are intended to push visitors further into your site, but should be expected on dead end pages like Confirmation or Thank You pages.
Use your analytics to help you determine if a particular page should be given a more prominent position within the site, if the content could benefit from an update, or if the page is ready to be retired.
Getting visitors to your site is one thing. Getting them to stay is another story. Creating content that leads visitors deeper into your site or through the sales funnel is crucial to converting leads into sales and establishing your organization as a trusted resource.
User Flow or User Journey data will allow you to see how visitors are moving around your site. For a university, an example of a user journey might look something like this:
Homepage > Academics > Marketing > Courses > Course Schedule > Admissions > Undergraduate Application > Fall2014_Undergraduate_Application.PDF
Take some time to determine your “ideal” user journeys. That way, you’ll be able to identify any potential weak links in the chain where users are abandoning the journey, or moving backwards. This can be an indication that the content isn’t clearly presented, or isn’t what they were looking for.
Device and Operating Systems
It’s important to know how people are consuming your content. Most analytics platforms will allow you to segment data based on the operating system (Windows, Mac/iOS, Android, Linux) and/or device (Desktop, Laptop, Mobile/Tablet).
Knowing which device your visitors are using is an important distinction to make because content still needs to be presented differently between desktop/laptop and mobile/tablet.
Desktop users are more likely to have the time and desire to read through a lengthy article or complex case study. They’re also able to consume media-rich content like embedded videos and presentations.
Mobile users on the other hand are more likely to benefit from shorter content that gets straight to the point. Mobile experiences can also be hindered by pages that are jam-packed with large images and videos that require long load times.