Jonathan Waters of Middlesbrough-based digital design experts Eighty8 Design gives some useful tips on how to make best use of your website’s analytics…
If your business has a website, the chances are you are utilising some form of data to give you an overview of how many users are visiting your site, where they came from, which pages they are engaging with and much more.
The most widely-used and popular tool for this is Google Analytics, which is extremely powerful when used in the correct way.
While using analytics to give you an overview of your user base is important, too few people use data to inform decisions on the future development of a website.
When we are working with a client on a website redesign, for instance, so many decisions are based on gut feeling or outdated notions rather than how users actually interact with their website. Why not simply cut out any arguments by testing theories? When you have data to backup that theory, no one can argue!
A vital area you should be looking at is behaviour and user flow. This gives you a detailed view of a how someone uses your site and how they navigate around.
Google Analytics can provide this data when setup correctly but there are other powerful tools out there such as MixPanel.
As an example, If you are wanting people to sign up, or buy a product, you can use this data to see how they interact with your website.
Do they finish the process or do they leave the site on a particular page? If so, you can then start to investigate why they left the site at that point.
Is it not clear what to do when they reach that page? Is it too complicated or too busy?
Why not testing your assumptions on that page using A/B testing? A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) enables you to produce two variants of a page template. Version ‘A’ will go to users 50% of the time and Version ‘B’ 50% of the time.
Let’s say, for example, you have a ‘Sign Up’ button on your site – you can place this button in two different areas of the site and users will either see version A or B. The one that gives a better conversion rate, wins!
It seems obvious, but very few people use these powerful tools.
These are just a few examples of how to use analytics and data more effectively, but the key thing to remember is to stop blindly making decisions on the development of your website and instead test, test and then test some more!
Creative director, Eighty8