Google Analytics is a powerful tool when it comes to evaluating web design. It provides designers and developers with invaluable insight into how their sites are being used. It can tell you where most of your traffic is directed from, which pages are most likely to be landed on and which pathways lead to conversions. This information can then be used to help you continue to improve navigation, functionality and aesthetics, so that your site can better fulfill its commercial purpose. Here’s how.
Note: This article is intended for those with a basic knowledge of Analytics’ functions. If you’re still getting a handle on the basics, first take a look at this simple analytics guide
This is the percentage of visitors to your site who leave without clicking on any further links. It’s a great way to see what kinds of first impressions your site is making and how these differ from page to page. When users arrive at your site, they can make up their mind about it in under a second . You can use Analytics to determine the bounce rates for individual pages or for the site as a whole.
If it isn’t immediately obvious what the site is for, who it serves and how it should be navigated, you might need to look into making your layout more intuitive. Aesthetics should speak to your target audience. And be sure to have a call to action on each landing page.
Another easy way to make a good first impression is to be confident that each page of your website can load quickly. This can also affect your position in Google searches. An easy way to assess your loading times is to run a simple site speed test. Analytics can also provide statistics on the running speed of each page.
If you have traffic flowing to your site and users spending time with your content, clearly you’re doing something right. But what counts is your conversion rate: the percentage of users who make a purchase, join a mailing list, request membership, or complete whatever commercial function the site is built to serve. With Google Analytics you can keep your eye on conversion rates (or “goal completion”) as you make improvements to your site. Providing clearer instructions or a call to action, an intuitive layout and good site speed could all help to improve conversion rates.
Remember that the term ‘conversion’ could mean something different on every site. To see how you can use conversion rates to help you measure your success, check out the Analytics blog.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you can start to tailor Analytics to meet your needs. There are a wide range of possibilities for customizations that can help you to collect the data required for your site to remain a step ahead of the competition.