Know your website analytics before you plan major changes to your site.

So you’re thinking about making changes to your company’s website. That’s great. And yes, I’m sure we can help you. But when it is time to start the project, don’t start by thinking about design. Don’t start by thinking about the changes the people down the hall have told you they would like to see. And definitely don’t start by thinking about what you think needs changed only because you are sick of staring at the same page content for the last five years. Instead, start by looking at your website analytics to see what is already working so you don’t take a step backwards.

So how do you know what is working on your website?

Ah, well, I hope you already have a website analytics platform in place tracking what visitors to your site are doing, once they are on your site. The most popular, of course, is Google Analytics. It’s a website analytics service that offers a lot of potential and features, and most businesses don’t take full advantage of those website analytics.

If your site already is tracking web usage, look as deep as you can. If you have Goals set up such as completions of important forms or e-commerce transactions, dive into what is working. Look at what pages people frequently visit. Look at what pages are common entry points to your site. And common exit points to your site. Look at the percentage of sessions that trigger your main goal conversions.

Maybe you have certain Events enabled for things videos being watched or important links being clicked to drive visitors to key content.

But be careful when analyzing the data. It sometimes doesn't tell the whole story.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear a client say “let’s get rid of this page, nobody views it.” Well, I’m sure it is not “nobody.” When looking at pageviews, we may discover that page might be ranking #27 as far pageviews. But what is the actual number? Was the 27th ranked page for that time period still 250 pageviews? If so, I would ask “do we really need to get rid of that page?” Maybe that page content helped the people who triggered those 250 pageviews. Maybe some of those people competed a contact form or made a purchase. Was that link in the navigation really harming the user experience for the other people who did not view that page? I doubt it. And by the way, maybe we did not do enough to drive people to that page. That is the part of the story that web analytics will not tell you.

Once you reviewed your website analytics, you will have a better wholistic view of your site’s traffic. You’ll be better prepared to make adjustment to what type of content you should have on your site and how to better drive your site visitors to both where they want to go, and where you want them to go.

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