After spending a significant amount of time planning and developing your website—from painstakingly selected design elements to carefully crafted copy—you’re starting to get some traffic. But how do you know if your website is actually influencing visitors? Here are four simple indicators of user behavior.
1. Behavior Flow
First, if you haven’t yet integrated your site with Google Analytics, now is the time. If you already have GA, be sure to regularly log in and check the Behavior Flow section. With this view, GA does a good job of laying out what a user does once he/she visits your website, showing you a clear representation of the most common pages users are entering through (and exiting from). A few things to ask yourself as you’re going through this section: Are users finding what they’re looking for? Are they dropping off in the middle of completing a desired action (marketing goal)? Be sure to review this section at least monthly and test any changes as needed.
2. Referral Traffic
Next, where are your users coming from? GA again comes into play here as you determine the source of your traffic. One way to check the source is through Audience –> Acquisition –> Overview. From here you can gauge how much of your traffic is organic, direct, social, or referral. Organic traffic means somebody used Google (or another search engine) to find your site. Referrals indicate they found you through another site where your link was present, whether from a directory, a guest post or a news story about you. Bonus: This is also a good time to weed out any spam visitors. These are easily identified by websites like “getrichquick.xyz” or “zanysocialbutons.com.” While there is a setting to exclude known bots, you also should manually review these and add any new spam bots to the referral exclusion list.
If you’re publishing blogs and social posts, a good way to tell what’s working is by likes, favorites, and shares on your favorite social networks. Comments are also essential to being able to tell if what you’re putting out there is working. One trick to spur engagement is to start conversations. Once others see that somebody has commented, they are more likely to chime in. Be sure you are engaging back when your users chime in or you risk losing their participation forever.
4. Bounce Rates
One of the best ways to determine if visitors are engaging with your content is by reviewing bounce rates, or the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing one page. This is especially important to monitor after trying something new, like installing a pop-up lead capturing tool. While those can be effective, if you start to see your bounce rate climb, may need to reconsider your strategy. Be sure you are leaving annotations in Google Analytics any time you make a major change to your site so you can have a clearer picture when you return months later to review bounce rates and other user behavior.
Have more questions about user behavior? Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!