6 Signs You Urgently Need a Website Redesign

Website Redesign

Your website is a reflection of your business. Not putting your best foot forward online can turn potential customers away. So, how can you tell if your website is performing its best? O8 has identified six signs that it may be time for a website makeover.

Low Visitor Count

The most obvious sign of a problem in web design is traffic. If the number of visitors coming to your site has dropped sharply, something is amiss.  Most likely, an SEO problem has arisen, moving the site down in the SERP. If people are bouncing from your page as a result of poor graphics or poor mobile design, a site will cannonball on the SERP, dropping traffic. A dip in the number of visitors is a huge red flag that you need to spend time investigating your site design.

Traffic source

57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile. Nowadays, consumers can purchase anything at any time. While this is good for your business, it needs to be monitored in terms of design.  Modern websites must be responsive, providing an optimal user experience on all different types of devices. 

Traffic source can monitor on which device type people are accessing a site. Websites need to be ultra-responsive. Otherwise, you are in need of a redesign! Keep an eye out for problems with mobile traffic. As of Q2 2018, smartphones held a 63% share of all retail website visits.

High Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the metric that shows the number of visitors who opened a site and then left before interacting with it. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors are not engaging with the page at all. This could mean that the site looks spammy, is irrelevant to their search terms, or has an outbound link that the user clicked immediately. All of these behaviors lead to one result: zero conversions. If your website has a high bounce rate, you may want to consider a redesign ASAP. 

Slow Speed Index

In April 2012, Google added Speed Index to its WebPagetest for measuring site performance. Speed Index is the average time in milliseconds at which visible parts of the web page are populated and displayed. In other words, it measures how fast the user receives viewable content. 

How does it work? WebPageTest records a page as it loads. 10 frames per second are analyzed to see the percentage of content loaded. Because Speed Index is based on the percentage of the viewport, you can use this metric to compare sites across desktop, mobile, and tablet viewing. 

It only takes 0.05 seconds for users to decide if they like a site or not. Slow loading speeds affect this decision and can cause visitors to bounce. 

High Exit Rate

A page’s exit rate shows the percentage of visitors leaving a site at a certain page. Often times, a user exiting a page is no cause for concern. Similar to the bounce rate, visitors can leave a site even if there are no on-page problems. Alternatively, if an exit rate is too high, that could be an indicator that people are leaving the page because of design issues.

Engagement

Engagement metrics show how visitors interact with a site. These metrics can measure the duration and depth of a user’s experience. If a user is interacting with a site, it is a signal that the content is both attractive and easily accessible to visitors. While there is no universal standard for “good” engagement, using your best-performing pages for reference can give you an idea of engagement goals.

One of the most accessible engagement metrics is ‘session duration’. Google Analytics shows how much time visitors spend on the site and its individual pages. Although session duration is not always 100% accurate, (keeping a few tabs open can confuse data), it can still be used as a great metric to measure engagement.

If engagement is low, it is a good time to look into a redesign! 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.

If any of these indicators remind you of your site, there is no time to waste! Slow, unattractive, or unresponsive websites are losing you money. Need some help with your website? Schedule a call

IgnitEd Case Study

Higher Education Institution

Drupal website restructure, UX review and marketing support for a major higher ed institution

www.ignited.global
  • The website restructure and redesign resulted in more than a 50% year over year increase in traffic from organic search

  • Conversion rate for registrations increased 113% as a result of paid search and social campaigns

  • Number of site pages indexed for search increased nearly 4x following site redesign/rearchitecture

 

“For us, as a small department, Origin 8 has been critical to our continued evolution. I truly feel as though I have more people working on the success of my business than what is listed on the payroll. I trust their guidance and their willingness to accept feedback and pivot."

Tracy Couto

Le Moyne College

 

Project Components:

  • Content strategy

  • Page redesigns

  • Digital Marketing  (paid search and social)

  • Digital Impact Optimization (ongoing SEO, UX, CRO improvements)

  • E-commerce

  • Solr search

  • Ongoing maintenance, feature additions, and design refreshes

  • Emergency support

  • Web hosting architecture

  • Security and disaster recovery planning

  • Migrations of acquired brand websites

Challenge

Ignited is an online community and collaborative platform for business faculty developed by Le Moyne College. Its purpose is to encourage the sharing of business school curriculum, course materials, case studies, teaching notes, articles and studies with like-minded peers. Participants can submit their own research and scholarly articles for peer review. The Ignited website features hundreds of course resources, available at no cost for downloading and review by business faculty.

Ignited’s emphasis on ethical and sustainable business practices is a direct outgrowth of Le Moyne’s roots as a Jesuit institution. As a result, Ignited’s mission is to be the preeminent source of case studies and teaching resources, serving faculty, administrators, students, and alumni at Jesuit institutions around the world. In addition, Ignited’s resources are available to any business faculty looking to emphasize the contribution of ethical business practices as a way to bring about global transformation. 

O8 Solution

O8 was initially engaged by Le Moyne in the summer of 2018  to support the launch of Ignited, both for website and marketing support. 

Paid Media Campaigns

O8 worked with Ignited’s marketing team to develop, launch and manage social ad campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn. This enabled the new site to gain targeted exposure among business faculty active in fields such as marketing, operations, accounting, and international, as well as those who had interests in topics like social justice, business ethics. and sustainability. 

 

 

 

LinkedIn

Facebook

 

Following the initial launch, the ad strategy shifted from social to paid search, which provided a lower-cost acquisition model. Beyond registrations, another key conversion goal was to encourage review of case studies and resource downloads by interested faculty.

The initial ad campaigns greatly raised the profile of Ignited, resulting in hundreds of thousands of impressions, thousands of site visits and contributed to hundreds of registrations.

Site Redesign

O8 was also tasked with re-architecting and redesigning the Drupal 7-based Ignited site from the ground up, updating the underlying site structure to make it more scalable and sustainable. Page URLs were updated to make them more meaningful to search engines as was the taxonomy of course materials. This internal redesign was followed by an external visual/UX redesign to make the site more welcoming and user-friendly.

Home Page

The home page redesign balanced the need to maintain key brand elements, navigation, and existing color palette while still providing a more engaging, interactive experience. The new design offers three different calls to action, which update if the user is already logged in. Featured Course Materials are showcased immediately below the hero space, using colorful imagery, similar to stories on news sites.

 

Before:

After:


Course Resources Page

The new design removed the detailed sidebar filters from the main page and brought the main curriculum topics into focus.

 

Results

During the marketing campaign, the registration form conversion rate rose over 113% (i.e., more than doubled) as compared to the previous period:

Following the launch of the redesigned site, the number of pages successfully indexed for search increased nearly 4x, as reported by Google Search Console:

Overall, for the one-year period of O8’s involvement, encompassing July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019, organic users increased nearly 51% over the July-June of the previous year:

Sessions

Users

 

O8 continues to work with LeMoyne on new functionality and performance improvements.

Team

Hackers vs. CMS Security

CMS security

Hackers are like the mosquitoes of the web. They can be itchy and annoying or carry deadly diseases. Luckily, like with mosquitoes, you can be vigilant and protect yourself from these pests!

First of all, who gets hacked? WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal combine to support over 75% of all CMS-powered websites currently online, and, guess what? They can all be hacked. *Cue thunder.* To give you a rough idea, 73.2% of the most popular WordPress installations have vulnerabilities which can be detected using free automated tools. That makes a hacker’s job pretty easy! While anyone can be hacked, some sites are higher risk than others. To evaluate your risk of being hacked, examine your site’s size, information storage, and traffic.

Regardless of the size of a website, everyone is at risk. However, the type of risk varies by size. Big businesses make a lot of sales and therefore have a lot of sellable data. At the same time, those large companies usually have advanced security. Comparatively, small businesses make fewer sales, storing less data, but can have weaker security. Small businesses can protect themselves from being a target by performing regular audits and updating their sites regularly.

Based on the type of information you collect, you can be more or less at risk for hacking. Sellable data such as credit card details, addresses, email addresses, and password reset hints are all cash cows for the black market. Identity theft is very profitable and uses three main data points; government ID information, date of birth and address. Keep your server secure to prevent hackers from accessing this information.

More popular websites are also at a higher risk of being hacked. Hackers strive to distribute their malware on to as many devices as possible. High traffic websites make this quicker and easier.

So, why do hackers even exist? Unfortunately, there are several reasons to hack. The most innocent reason to hack? It’s fun! Finding vulnerabilities in a site’s security isn’t easy. Hackers oftentimes practice their craft just for the challenge. Hackers may also engage in ‘Hacktivism’, or hacking for a social/political cause. The goal of hacktivism is more disruptive than malicious, include website defacement, denial-of-service attacks (DoS), redirects, website parodies, information theft, virtual sabotage, and virtual sit-ins.

Tapping into CMS sites is an illegal yet free way to obtain extra bandwidth. This bandwidth bounty can then be sold on black markets for VoIP, torrents and other similar traffic. A hacker can also turn your website into a bot for attacking other sites! By using sites as bots, hacks are harder to trace back to the source. Bots can be used to enable another reason for hacking: cyberespionage! This type of spying is used in politics, between governments and countries, and among major industry competitors. While your site probably isn’t getting spied on, it can be used in the practice!

In an even more malicious manner, hackers can use your site to store illegal files and malicious software. No one wants to be caught with torrents, malware, stolen confidential data, or other illegal content. Hackers, then, can hack into websites and web servers to store such content on them. Performance is not affected by this added content, so website administrators may not even notice that their website was hacked!

If you have been following our blog, then you know the importance of SEO for a website’s organic traffic. Rankings on a search engine results page can make or break sales. Of course, if there is a buck to be made, hackers are working on it! Hackers can hack websites for ‘Black Hat’ SEO purposes. This includes benefiting a client’s site by anything from embedding links and keywords onto a hacked website, to sending spam emails from a hacked account. The worst part? Once the hacked site realizes it’s been hacked, they receive the search engine penalties and have to spend the resources to clean their site. We know, it’s not fair.

Now that we know why hackers hack, we can look at our own sites! Even if a website is small, it’s still at risk. CMS security is not only essential to maintaining your business but also to monitoring the safety of the entire cyber community! 

How to Stop Hackers

First of all, improve the security of the server. SSL enables encryption. This means that when sensitive information, such as a credit card number, is exchanged via your website or between internal servers, it is safe from third parties. Encryption also means that data isn’t modified in transit between servers and computers. With these direct transfers, hackers can’t insert anything malicious into the messages or data. In other words, SSL certificates keep data safe against hackers and protect sites from suffering the consequences of storing malicious code.

Next, improve Drupal security. Drupal is constantly updating to fix vulnerabilities. Staying updated on the latest version of Drupal prevents websites from being targeted. You can stay in the know by regularly monitoring Drupal’s Security Advisories. In addition, with Drupal, “There’s a module for that.” There are many security-related modules that can help you manage security for your Drupal site. You can find out more about enhancing security with contributed modules: https://www.drupal.org/node/382752

Lastly, prevent unwanted users from being able to create accounts by securing your configuration. This can be achieved by using unique usernames for admin and user accounts, or requiring admin approval for account creation. Most importantly, make sure you logout when you have completed a session.

When it comes down to it, nobody wants a hacker playing around with their site. No matter the size of your site or the importance of information you store, CMS security is a necessity. Performing regular audits can catch suspicious behavior before anyone gets hurt.

The biggest mistake in CMS security? Waiting! Get started on your web protection today! Schedule a call.

5 Metrics That Determine How Much You'll Sell

Important Marketing Metrics

Are you looking for data that will help you increase your sales? In this digital era, data and numbers are readily available to businesses. However, the world of too much information can be overwhelming. Where should business owners look? How can they turn these numbers into predictable sales? We have narrowed down the data to these 5 metrics: Total Visits, Churn Rate, Traffic Sources, Reputation, and Bounce Rate. Understanding these metrics can make or break your business, so pay close attention. 

1 . Total Visits

While the number of site visitors does not equal the total amount of sales, monitoring this general metric is important. The total visits metric can be a good indicator of the success of your marketing campaigns and product placement. For example, the number of visits to a site suddenly dropping could indicate a fall in the Search Engine Rankings. Alternatively, a spike in total visits can let businesses know that their campaigns are effectively reaching potential customers. If the number of total visits is dropping, it is likely that sales are dropping too. 

2 . Churn Rate

Churn rate is a measure of how many existing customers are lost in a set time period. 

It is important to analyze who is engaging with your site. Why are existing customers so important? The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics). Keep an eye on this metric to monitor existing customer relationships!

3 . Traffic sources

Analytics can provide data that shows you how visitors found you. . For example, an organic search means that a visitor found you through natural search. A paid search means that a visitor found you through a sponsored search result link, and direct traffic happens when visitors type your name directly into their address bar.

In 2019, Wolfgang Digital analyzed the total revenue earned in 4 different retail categories by traffic source type. For all commerce types, organic traffic is the highest revenue yielding traffic type. This is followed by a near tie for second with Paid Search and Direct Search. From this information, we get a glimpse into the mind of consumers. While paid search is effective and brand awareness is always helpful, being clearly present online so that consumers can find you organically is the most effective way to drive sales.

Revenue

 

Organic

Paid Search

Direct

Email

Social

Display

Referral

Other

Retail

35%

20%

16%

5%

3%

0%

19%

2%

Multi- Channel

37%

16%

14%

5%

1%

0%

24%

3%

Online Only

33%

28%

19%

5%

5%

1%

9%

1%

Travel

41%

15%

23%

2%

1%

0%

16%

2%

Overall

38%

18%

19%

4%

2%

0%

17%

2%

Wolfgang Digital 2019

4 . Reputation Metrics

Reputation metrics such as social media mentions or star-rating user reviews help to explain what consumers think about you. Word of mouth recommendations both online and offline are helpful to track and monitor. According to Convince and Convert’s 2018 report, 83% of Americans say that a word of mouth recommendation from a friend or family member makes them more likely to purchase that product or service. When a product or company’s reputation is both positive and widely talked about, sales can be expected to increase.

5 . Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors immediately exit a site after opening. When a visitor immediately exits, they are spending no time engaging with the site and, even worse, not purchasing products/services! Alternatively, keeping a low bounce rate can predict future sales, as consumers are spending time on the page. Keep bounce rates low by keeping keywords relevant. Make sure your landing page is user-friendly and works across all devices. When consumers bounce from a site, a potential sale is lost!

Monitoring these five metrics can help you understand and predict consumers’ purchase behaviors. An ideal website will organically attract site visitors who then stay and engage with the brand. Smart companies will work to keep existing customers satisfied, reminding them to share their positive experiences both offline and online. By keeping an eye on what matters most to your business, you can make informed decisions and maximize sales.

Want to make your business’s digital presence more effective?  Schedule a call today

7 Deadly Sins of SEO

Biggest SEO Mistakes

According to Chikita, the first page of Google results gets 95% of user attention. If you’ve ever wondered why some websites are lucky enough to receive that first-page placement, you were wondering about SEO. SEO, or “search engine optimization”, is a way to gain organic traffic through improving rankings in search engine results page (SERP).  

Search engine webmasters are constantly evolving the SEO guidelines to enrich user experience. These governing rules work to keep searches safe, credible, and relevant. Penalties for breaking the rules can wreak havoc on a business. Alternatively, great SEO practices can help to improve conversions and KPIs. So, how can you be sure to appease the Google gods? To simplify the process, we have outlined 7 Deadly Sins to avoid in SEO.

Thou shalt not...

1 . Wait to start implementing SEO

Organic search, or a search resulting from matching relevant keywords, is generally the most important form of web traffic. From the very start a website’s creation, making it easy to find online can greatly improve your business. Websites without visitors don’t sell much! If the first page of Google results gets 95% of user attention, then SEO should be considered along every stage of a website’s life.

2 . Hire any old SEO company

It is extremely important to hire a reputable SEO company. Search engines like Google don’t accept excuses such as ‘I didn’t know’ when doling out penalties. If your website is caught using high-risk tactics, you are the one who will be punished. Check that the company in consideration will measure and collect data to design trend-based, tailored solutions. Only use companies that set a clear intention to improve the quality of the traffic. Companies who promise specific numbers of quality links are lying to you. No legitimate SEO agency can promise the first place ranking on Google for important keywords. If it sounds too good to be true, it may be. 

Do your own background research, and ask for referrals.

3 . Use irrelevant keywords & links

A keyword is a word or phrase that describes the message of the content. Keywords and links to external sites which are unrelated to your product offerings can lower your ranking on the search engine results page. In 2016, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines began penalizing websites demonstrating ‘patterns of unnatural, artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links’. Search engines will penalize websites who wrongfully insert irrelevant keywords and links.

Search engines catch unrelated keywords and links because it hurts the user experience. Even if you get away with it, visitors who come to your page only to find that it doesn’t match their search criteria bounce off the site. High bounce rates also hurt your SERP rankings. Keep the keywords and links included on the page as specific as possible to your product or service.

4 . Use too many links

Google recommends a maximum of 100 links per webpage. This loose limit does not mean that they are going to punish anyone for having 102 links. Rather, Google is trying to set a standard that they believe to be the maximum amount of links present to still keep the content relevant and meaningful.

Something to consider, however, is that when a web page is chock-full of links, it can look sketchy to visitors or be hard to read. This could drive people to bounce from the site, dropping the site’s search ranking. 

Keep in mind that every time a page includes an external link, that link is drawing a visitor away from the original site. Do not forget the power of internal links!

5 . Commit keyword ‘stuffing’

So you’ve found the perfect keyword: it’s specific to your content, drives traffic, and follows consumer trends. You should put it everywhere you possibly can, right? Wrong! While this black-hat tactic could work in the short term, eventually you most likely will be caught, resulting in a harsh penalty or, in the worst case, a total SERP removal. Google is particularly harsh on techniques such as keyword stuffing as they trade improving user experience for beating the algorithm.

A solution to this ‘sin’ is to use synonyms and to only use keywords where they naturally fit. 

6 . Focus too heavily on “Text” content

The world of the web has so much more to offer than plain text! Flex your creativity by including pictures and videos. Not only will this make visitors become more engaged with the website, but it also gives the opportunity to create titles and alt-texts. By giving pictures and videos written descriptions, you can double check that the content is relevant to your webpage. All content, including images and videos, should relate to the overall message of the page.

7 . Copy external content

Copying and pasting relevant external content may be convenient, but it hurts your SEO in the long run. Search engines avoid showing the same exact information on the results page, so they filter to only show the original content page.

Your website is the door to your business. Managing SEO leads potential customers to access that door! Being thoughtful with content, keywords and links not only give searchers the best experience possible but also improve the site’s search engine ranking. Stay in Google’s good graces, and avoid the 7 deadly sins.

Don’t commit an SEO sin! Start optimizing your site today. Schedule a call with our experts.

7 Metrics Any Serious Marketer Should Understand

Website Analytics

This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this, but data is vital. Without analytics, a website or piece of content cannot be optimized to its full potential. By that logic, any digital marketer worth its salt should understand at least some very basic metrics in order to achieve outstanding success.

Marketing metrics not only allow professionals and companies to improve their current content and performance based on hard data, but they provide the necessary information to set realistic KPIs and objectives.

Now, right off the bat, let’s make one thing clear: every marketer is different. What marketers consider crucial in terms of measuring performance varies from person to person. Regardless of which metrics you consider the most important, the following are – at the very least – the basics that will provide the necessary information to turn guesswork into educated decision-making.

 

TRAFFIC

Unique pageviews. How many unique visitors does your page get? This should not be confused with pageviews in general, which can measure several sessions from the same user. This metric will tell you how many different visits the website is getting. Having an idea about your traffic numbers is a great starting point to establish realistic goals for the next quarter or the whole year.

Source and Medium. Where does the traffic come from? Source will answer that. It will tell you exactly where your traffic is coming from. Medium, on the other hand, will reveal how. Is the traffic organic? Does it come from CPC ads? If you understand where the traffic is coming from and how, you can develop strategies to boost efforts with the most effective channels.

 

BEHAVIOR

Session Duration. This one can be tricky because tools such as Google Analytics require a fair amount of data before they can offer proper estimates, but session duration will, in theory, reveal how long people are staying in any given page. This marketing metric – along with the bounce rate – can paint an accurate picture about the level of interest and engagement generated by specific pieces of content.

Bounce Rate. This is one of the scariest marketing metrics out there, right? This is one of the main pieces of data that greets you whenever you access your Google Analytics dashboard. It is right there, staring at you, judging you, making you nervous with all its potential for failure or success.

The bounce rate reveals the percentage of users who visit a page and then leave without further interaction with your website. While a high bounce rate can be a red flag, it is by no means an indication of something being wrong with your content. The idea behind most landing pages is that, once someone reaches it, he or she will be inclined to keep navigating the rest of the content available and, perhaps, reach an offer or two that will convert them into customers. If that is not happening then perhaps all you need are some tiny tweaks to the design or wording to change that (often called Conversion Rate Optimization).

The bounce rate is useful because it draws your attention to pages that might need some evaluation. Any digital marketer serious about generating traffic and converting leads must understand this metric.

Click-Through Rate. This marketing metric is the ratio showing how often people who are exposed to your ads or even your website as a search result actually click to visit. While Google has only ever hinted about the importance of this particular metric in terms of ranking, there is enough research out there to determine it very likely plays a vital role.

It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. With ads, this information is more readily available, but for organic traffic it might be best to get acquainted with Google Search Console.

 

GOALS AND COSTS

Conversion Rate. You get the visits, but are they converting? How many are converting? This particular marketing metric reveals the ratio between your visits and actual conversions. A conversion is, of course, the point at which the recipient of a marketing message or visitor to your website carries out a desired action.  For example, if the goal of your landing page is to have a visitor sign up for a newsletter and he does, then congratulations – you’ve achieved lead conversion.

When you divide the number of conversions by the number of visits a page is getting, you will get your rate of conversion. A high one means you are doing great. A low one means that page or marketing campaign might need some attention.

Customer Acquisition Cost. This is another tricky metric because it is not, strictly speaking, a figure that is available by general means. This is something you actually need to sit down and review. How much is acquiring each customer costing you? To calculate that, simply divide the total of all your costs acquiring clients (usually marketing expenses) by the number of actual customers you acquired during that specific period. That is your CAC.

As a good rule of thumb, it might also be a good idea for you to understand Customer Lifetime Value, which indicates how much revenue any single customer is expected to generate over their lifespan as clients. The ratio between that and your CAC will determine if you need to cut back on expenses or double down.

When it comes to marketing metrics, the important thing to remember is that hard data lends itself to many interpretations. Becoming adept at actually interpreting those numbers the right way will open up new pathways to optimization. It will ensure that your marketing efforts are not only successful, but infinitely superior to those from your competition.

Categories

Using Data Analytics to Plug the Leaks in Your Conversion Funnel

data analytics

Guest Post by Andrew McLoughlin for Colibri Digital Marketing

 

Despite the benefits, many sites and businesses are still not using any sort of data analytics systems to explore user behavior in their site traffic. Effectively flying blind, those sites cheat themselves of potential conversions, fail to improve user experience, and sacrifice their bottom line. But data analytics tools are low-cost, high-return systems that provide a huge wealth of information. Our digital marketing agency uses them every day for our clients, and it’s shocking that they aren’t in more common use. With just a little time and patience, your business can use data analytics to tighten your conversion funnels and improve user experience. We’re here to show you how.

 

Data Analytics

 

If you’re not familiar with the term, “data analytics” refers to the process by which information is collected and interpreted. For our purposes, that data might include things like how many visitors a webpage got, at what times of day, from which sort of device, and so on. By comparing two sets of data, patterns can be charted and leveraged.

 

For instance, a site tends to get most of its traffic on Fridays and Saturdays. It blogs weekly, publishing Friday mornings. There’s a good chance that the increase in traffic results from visitors coming back to read the new blog content. In another example, a site which typically gets hundreds or thousands of visitors per month suddenly drops to single-digits. That would indicate a serious problem, maybe with the site’s rankings or with some kind of server-side error.

 

By exploring trends and correlations, useful insights can be gleaned about the site’s operations, and improvements can be made.

 

Data generally falls into one of three categories: acquisition, audience, and behavior.

 

Acquisition

 

There are a number of different paths by which your site might be found and visited. Broadly, these paths divide into:

 

Direct

Direct traffic refers to those users who either type your URL outright, or find it in their history or bookmarks. They visited your site deliberately, and weren’t link to it from some other place.

 

Organic

Organic traffic found your site through a general search query. They searched a keyword or phrase, and your site was provided among the search results.

 

Social

Social traffic came to your site from a social media platform. It’s technically just a subset of your “referral” traffic, but with social media’s influence becoming more pervasive, it’s useful to keep it distinct from other referrals. If you include a link to your content in a Facebook post, for example, then users who follow that link will get grouped here.

 

Referral

Referral traffic, like social, describes users who followed a link on another site, and found themselves on your own page. If a user was somewhere else, first, then it’s considered a referral. This also contains the subcategory of email traffic, which isn’t quite a referral (since you emailed them the link) but is useful for tracking the efficacy of remarketing campaigns or newsletters and the like.

 

Audience

 

This section collects data about the people who are actually visiting your site. One user isn’t interchangeable with another. Different demographics, or users with different intentions, may have very different experiences on the same site. This section keeps track of whether a user has been there before (“new” vs. “returning” users), what device and software they were using, their location, other sites they frequent, personal data (if available) and so on. These are the sorts of insights that will let you target a specific landing page, call to action, or piece of content to a specific type of potential customer. By doing so, you’ll increase engagement, and help those customers advance through your conversion process more efficiently.

 

Behavior

 

Behavior data examines the type and sequence of interactions a user has with your site. Metrics include which pages got the most traffic, time spent on a page, how many pages a user visited in a single session and their order, whether a user completed a goal (like signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase) and so on. This data is most useful for diagnosing problems.

 

Imagine that one of your pages has an especially high bounce rate (instances of users visiting the page, but leaving your site immediately, without exploring further.) As an outlier, it would be clear that something about that page makes visitors disinclined to continue on your site. Maybe the content is unengaging, the interface confusing, or the site menu obscured. For whatever reason, if users are unwilling or unable to further explore your site, the page with the high bounce rate need will troubleshooting.

 

The behavior charts can also be used to spot pain points in your conversion funnel. You might see users filling a shopping cart, but abandoning the process when it comes to entering their shipping information. Maybe the layout is unintuitive, or incompatible with autofill software, or perhaps users are irritated at being asked for the same information twice (first for their billing address, then again for their shipping.) This sort of problem is relatively common in ecommerce, and more than once it’s been solved with a simple “use same address as billing” toggle.

 

How Do I Put All This to Use?

 

Step one: start collecting data. There are a number of tools out there to get you started, but Google Analytics is probably the simplest. In just a few minutes, you can add a small bit of script to each of your pages, and start collecting data. The sooner you start, the better. You’ll need at least a few weeks of data before you can start making useful inferences. The bigger your sample size, the more representative it’s likely to be.

 

Once you’ve got a sufficient pool of data (the exact sample size will depend on the scope and scale of your particular site) you can start exploring it for trends.

 

If you aren’t sure where to start, just pull up visual representations of your data and look for the outliers. If you’ve got a stable line, with a huge spike, look for changes in other sections that correlate with it. If you’ve got a spike in traffic for a certain day, look at the previous week and see if there’s a corresponding spike, for instance. Compare your CTR (click through rate) against the relative percentages of new and returning users, to see if there’s a pattern. If returning users tend to explore more deeply, double down on your remarketing initiatives (like email, social media, and newsletters).

 

Basically, it all comes down to this. Data analytics tools give you a record of how your site is being used. If you see something that’s going well, reinvest in it. If you see something going wrong, take steps to correct it. Observing the way your users interact with your site will alert you to pain points, and holes in your conversion funnel. By restructuring your site’s content to plug those holes, you can better keep your users engaged, delivering a better experience, and driving more conversions. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start improving your site!

 

 

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