You made it! It’s a new year with fresh beginnings, and you are getting on track for website success all year long. This year, you are probably setting a strategy to not only meet website objectives, but exceed them. But before you jump into this year's strategy, make sure you take the time to evaluate your web analytics data from last year if you haven’t already.
You need to face the truth (good or bad) so you can improve your website for your visitors. Here are three things you should take time to learn from last year's data:
1. What did visitors do on your website?
There are a few ways you can evaluate user journeys and visitor behavior on your website in order to answer this question.
Homepage User Journeys
One way to get started is by following user journeys across your site, starting with the homepage. When a visitor enters your homepage, where do they go next? Where do they exit? How many pages do they visit? What kind of pages are they visiting?
When you can follow a user journey from the homepage to where they exit, you can start to understand how visitors interact with your website.
Organic Search User Journeys
Another way to approach this is by looking at organic search data. You could start with the top three keywords that people are using to find your website and then follow those user journeys. Perhaps one of your top keywords is your organization’s name, which leads users to the homepage, but if not – you can gain valuable insight from users who land on a different entry page than the homepage.
It’s likely that these visitors don’t know your organization yet or are learning more about your offerings, so you get to see how they learn more by following their journeys from search engine to your website.
Tracking Visitor Behavior Through Click, Heat, and Scroll Maps
Another exciting and easy way to track visitor behavior on your website is with click, heat, and scroll maps. We’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post, but having visual, page-level presentations of every action a visitor performs on your web pages, helps you answer questions about how visitors interact with your site.
For example, you can begin to determine what draws a visitors’ attention, how far visitors are willing to scroll on your web pages, and what types of elements visitors interact with on your site. Is there a Call-to-Action (CTA) that has more clicks than others? Is there a specific topic or product that more visitors are drawn to?
2. Why were they doing that on your website?
Now that you’ve collected information about what your visitors have been doing, you need to tell a story of why. Of course, talking to each individual visitor will be the only way to tell the entire story, but through your data it's possible portray an accurate picture of why.
Ask All the Questions
Why is one CTA performing better than another? Is it more targeted to your audience? Why aren’t your forms being filled out? Are they too long? Is the verbiage confusing? Did you get a lot of page views on a landing page but no conversions or contacts? Was the message clear to the visitor? Was the offer valuable? Try to figure out why for every single question you ask.
The point is to dig deeper and truly understand your website visitors and what they want.
Get User Feedback Via Surveys and Testing
The great news? There are additional ways to get direct feedback from users—through feedback surveys on your website and usability testing.
Both would give you direct feedback from people using your site so you can understand the why behind what’s happening on your website. You can also use this information to immediately implement changes to improve your site.
While many organizations implement usability testing during a website redesign, there is so much value to gain from doing it on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be a formal process, either—it could be as simple as finding someone at your local coffee shop and asking them to click around or complete a task. Not to mention, it’s important to conduct usability testing by people with disabilities to ensure your website is accessible to all.
Once you can start to answer the question of why users are doing what they do, then you can use the information to improve your site and entice them to take the action you want them to.
3. How can you make the user experience on your website better?
Now that you know what your web visitors are doing, where they are going, and why—it’s time to actually implement changes to improve their experience. And once you improve the user experience, then you improve your overall website performance. Here are some scenarios in which you could improve your website by using data:
- Are your web visitors using certain internal search terms versus the terminology you use in your content? Optimize your search function and ensure your terminology is on par with your users to give them the best search results.
- Are there a lot of page views on your newsletter subscriber landing page, but few conversions? Are visitors scrolling down to fill out the form at the bottom? Is it optimized for mobile? Use the data to determine what you should change. Better yet, A/B test your landing page to see what performs best.
- Does one of your most important web pages have a high bounce rate? Is the content too long and complex? Improve readability and ensure the information on the web page clearly explains the benefits to your web visitors. Then see if your bounce rate improves.
And there you have it! If you can tackle these three things from last year's data, then you are going to be on the right path to a successful year ahead.
Want to take your analytics to the next level? Then make sure to check out our
“Start Measuring Digital Success” webinar where you will learn how to identify business objectives for your digital properties and develop key metrics to track these objectives.