If you’re not familiar with reading through the data, I’ve got a primer on Google Analytics available for you here. Go take a look and come back to this post when you’re ready to upgrade your skills!
For those of you who are ready to give your website a boost, here are some tips to use data to optimize your website:
- Update high visit/high bounce rate pages
- Update or archive low-performing pages
- Lead visitors to your goal pages
- Learn from your peers
- Make it a habit
Let’s dive into these…
Give Them a Reason to Stay
A good rule of thumb for optimizing is to take what you already have and simply… Make it better.
One easy way to determine where you can make changes on your website? Look at pages with high page views that also have high bounce rates (ie. they’re leaving quickly). These stats tell you that visitors are clicking on that page because they believe the information on it will be valuable to them!
So why aren’t they staying?
Maybe the information they want to find isn’t clear, or there isn’t a direct correlation between the link or page title to the actual content on that page. It could be that they don’t understand what path you want them to take from there.
Consider what the purpose of the page is, and then determine how to make it clearer or more useful to your audience.
Start at the Bottom
In my last Google Analytics post, I recommended looking at the top pages to see what’s working. Now you should do the opposite: Find what’s not working.
If there are pages you love that aren’t getting much attention, what are some ways you can highlight and redirect visitors to them? Are there old pages on your site you no longer need that can be archived? Cutting through the clutter can make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Make it a point to regularly take a look at what’s not working and either fix it or remove it from the equation.
Want to know what route visitors take when going through your website? There’s a handy tool for that on Google Analytics!
It’s called the Users Flow report and it can give you all kinds of insights into your website’s traffic flow, including what path people take and whether they’re visiting the pages you want them to see. It can also help you figure out where people are stopping their route and leaving your website.
Once you figure out these routes, it’s just a matter of analyzing the pages they’re visiting and finding ways to reroute them. This might involve adding a button to a certain page, or including explicit copy in a call to action.
Figure out what your goals are, and then consider ways to direct people to them!
Scope Out Your Referrals
Last time I talked about Analytics, I explained that channels are different sources that connect visitors to your site. Today I’m focusing on referrals, which are links from other websites or blogs that lead to you.
Find your top referrals and then go visit those websites. Look at what they’re writing about (and what people clicked on to get to you!) to get more ideas about what your visitors are looking for. If your referrals have blogs or social media accounts, browse through them.
You already know this is content your visitors like, so let it serve as inspiration for new content for your own site.
Keep an Eye on the Picture, Big AND Small
Finally, keeping an eye on your analytics is something you want to make into a habit. You should be looking at this data regularly in case there are quick fixes you can make, especially after campaigns and launches.
But though you may be tempted to fix every tiny thing you notice in the data, I’d also recommend stepping back to think about the bigger picture. Tracking data monthly or quarterly can help you spy overall trends that you might not see otherwise.
Be smart about your fixes; you don’t want to spend time “correcting” something that would have performed well on its own given enough time!
Are You Ready to Use Data to Optimize Your Website?
While this information is important for optimizing your website, it won’t be helpful if said website isn’t ready to greet visitors in the way you want it to! That’s why I wrote up this series of blog posts…
…And it’s why we’re talking about things you can to do improve your website over in the Dog Trainer’s Umbrella facebook group (a free group!) on January 5th!
Then, if you’re itching to refresh your website (or build one from scratch!) be sure to sign up for my Business End of the Dog – Building a WordPress Website class on FDSA, right here (registration opens Jan. 22!).
It’s everything you need to know to build your best business website, all at a fraction of the cost of hiring a web developer.
Hope to see you there!