We all know that Google Analytics provides great data to help optimize your AdWords spending. Heck, that’s why Google Analytics exists, to help you drive better traffic to your site using AdWords. But optimizing how people get to your site is just one side of the equation. Making sure they convert once they’re on your site is just as important, and GA can help you with that. Site analysis is a bit more complicated than analyzing CPC data. Sometimes the answers don’t pop out at you as easily.
If you read this blog often (thanks!) you’ll know that I added a ‘Recent Posts’ section to the right hand navigation. This is to help drive visitors to specific pages in the site rather than have them read posts on the homepage. This change was prompted by an analysis of my analytics reports. Let’s walk thorough some reports for this site and I’ll show you how I decided to make this change.
Here is the top entrance point for my blog. This is found in the Entrance Bounce Rates report:
|Top Entrances||Entrances||Bounces||Bounce Rate|
Obviously the index is going to have a large number of bounces. That’s just the nature of web visitors. Some people may have come to my site and discovered it wasn’t what they were looking for. But let’s try to figure out why. Let’s dig deeper into these numbers. For my home page, how long are people spending on the page? Using the Top Content report:
|Content||Uniq. Views||Pageviews||Avg Time||% Exit||$ Index|
That’s 181.93 seconds or 3:02. That’s not too bad! That’s a pretty sticky page. People are reading the content on my homepage. That’s a good thing. But where do they go after the home page?
|/blog/index.php > Exit||34||0.00||0.00|
34 people left my site after hitting the home page. That’s a bit depressing. What do I know about traffic to my site so far…
- A majority of visitors to my site land on the homepage
- Once on the homepage visitors spend a good amount of time reading the content
- A majority of people leave my site from the homepage
Why aren’t people going any deeper into my site? Probably because I don’t give visitors any navigation! My blog is designed to show all posts on the homepage. That’s obviously why I’m getting long visit times to the home page and a high percentage of people leaving from the homepage.
My site design is affecting my analytics data because all the content is on one page. I can’t get a good feel for which content is most popular because I can’t differentiate Post A from Post B on the homepage.
I think I have two options here:
- Add a list of recent posts to the navigation (which I did!)
- Only show part of each post on the homepage so the visitor has to click through to the entire post.
You can see how my analytics analysis drove my site navigation changes. It’s also important to notice that I needed to actually dig into the data to understand how it related to my site design. And don’t think this is an exact science, it isn’t! I was speculating as to why so many people left from the index page. I took a chance and it _may_ pay off. Who knows, I might check the data in a week and notice that nothing has changed. That’s the great thing about analytics, I can measure the effects of my changes and, if they’re bad, I can undo the changes. But, if the effects are good, then hopefully I’ll get more detailed analytics and more site visitors.
I’ll review the analytics in a week or two and see how my site visitation data has changed.
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