What’s the purpose of your website?  I’m beginning this article with that question because hopefully the content and structure of your website supports what you want your visitors to do on it.  Whether it’s direct sales, making an enquiry, requesting a demo or the download of some specific content – all websites exist for a reason.  So are your website visitors behaving in the way that you hope?

Call to Action 

Your website contains one or several calls-to-action and a route or routes to get to them.  Whether it is obvious or not so, it is really important that you periodically check:

  1. A) what portion of your visitors are reaching the CTAs
  2. B) what routes your visitors are taking from the homepage
  3. C) what your top landing pages are
  4. D) where your visitors are going from those landing pages
  5. E) where the traffic is coming from
  6. F) what your website bounce rate is (what portion of visitors are leaving having just arrived?)

Checking this stuff regularly means you have the insight to adjust your website content so that more people reach and complete those calls to action supporting your goals.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a bit of a minefield of useful information about your website and your website visitors. There is so much information there that I think it can put people off at times. Bursting through the analytics cloud, here are five things to look at in Google Analytics to help you see where your audience is going:

1) Top Landing Pages 

In Google Analytics > Behaviour > Landing Pages

The best overview of the pages acting as the starting point for your visitors would be the Landing Pages view.  Using this you can immediately see the top 10 starting pages and the associated stats for those (sessions, new users, bounce rate and session duration).

2) Top Exit Pages  

In Google Analytics > Behaviour > Exit Pages

Exit pages – you would hope you’d see your calls to action(s) here. If you aren’t then where are your visitors leaving your site?

3) Previous and Next Pages

In Google Analytics > Behaviour > All Pages

Pick a page, say Products, and see how your visitors are getting to that page and where they are going afterwards. If your aim is to drive visitors to look at your products and then contact you via your contact page, this report will show you what they are doing instead. Click on any /page and see how people are getting there and where they go next.

4) Behaviour Flow

In Google Analytics > Behaviour > Behaviour Flow

The Behaviour Flow report visualises the path users travelled from one page or event to the next.  The report shows you your top landing pages and then where the visitors go from those. See the example below, the top landing page is a page called “/opensource” rather than the homepage which is surprising and warrants investigation.

The report helps identify potential content issues, if you are expecting people to travel from your homepage through to a contact page, for example, you can see this here or where they are going instead.

5) Bounce Rate

You want people to interact with your contact and click through to other pages on your site.  Google Analytics calculates and reports the number of visits to an individual webpage or the website as whole (in which a person leaves the site without browsing any further). This is the bounce rate. A low bounce rate % indicates you are getting great interactions with your content.

On a lot of websites, blog articles have a high bounce rate.  This is often because the articles themselves don’t link off to other content on the site. If the reason you are writing blogs is to attract new visitors from social media then you are shooting yourself in the foot if your blogs have no call-to-action or link off to other areas of your website that you want your visitors to go to.

See below, I’m looking at the Channel view (Google Analytics > Acquisition > Channels).  Not much traffic is coming from Social Media but the Bounce Rate is much higher than from other channels.  Also the session duration is pretty short too.  Knowing that our social marketing efforts are pointing people to blogs we have written, the bounce rate % tells me that people aren’t staying on the site once they have arrived and the Avg. Session Duration of 44 seconds tells me that people aren’t reading the blogs either!

Summary

Websites are there to help attract and pull in more business for your organisation.  You could be having quite a bit of success in driving people to your website through social and email marketing, SEO, Adwords and organic search but you are only reaping the rewards if you are converting that traffic through your Calls to Action.  Use Google Analytics to understand where traffic is going and then make the necessary changes so that more people are following the write path on your site. Follow the yellow brick road!

Just so I don’t contradict myself, here is my really obvious Call to Action from this blog.