Good Website Design: The View From Analytics
If your website design or website content appears to be driving away visitors, analytics-driven changes can be the answer to both identifying and correcting those problems. Think of your digital marketing professional as the contractor who analyzes your site’s ‘floorplan’ and suggests improvements that accomplish your marketing objectives.
A professional digital marketer can strike a balance between facilitating traffic flow and creating cozy nooks that encourage visitors to linger.
How bad design affects pageviews and conversions
In this post, we are going to focus on something called "behavior flow." The following Google Analytics data show how visitors to your site interact with it as they move from landing page to conversion.
Here is a snapshot of the behavior flow of a poorly-designed site:
Note that it has multiple landing pages that funnel traffic to one place. Traffic terminates on the homepage, only to drop off at a rate of 99.3 percent. The single exception is the resources page: visitors bounce at a comparatively modest 64 percent.
So, what drives traffic in the wrong direction? It’s the quality of the content. Engaging content encourages the visitor to kick back and stay awhile. Lackluster content drives the visitor to the door. Think of it content as the vibe at a party: if you find you have nothing in common with your fellow guests, you’re out of there.
How do I recognize good site design?
Conversely, a well-designed site encourages guests to take a tour throughout the site; then charms the visitor into coming back soon.
In this example, note the crisscrossing patterns of traffic as visitors go from one place to the next, ultimately ending up at the main conversion point: Where to Buy. It may take a few interactions to get them there, but the point is: they get there.
This site intentionally directs visitors to the goal via different routes. Fresh, relevant content ‘rewards’ visitors for navigating deep into the site. Desirable user behavior - long sessions, extended scrolls, and multiple pageviews - leads to educated visitors. Educated visitors turn into customers.
If you’re thinking about establishing conversion points as a way of encouraging your visitor to stay, you’re on the right track. The question is: what makes an attractive conversion point? Some of this depends on your goals. Are you selling a product, or are you offering a service? Are you sharing information?
A conversion point is a call to action: contact a CSR or sales rep; find a retail outlet or buy from your site; join an online community; sign up for a discount; or create an account. You may want to offer a couple of different calls to action on each of your landing pages.
The key to retaining your visitors is understanding how they initially found you. A visitor referred via a social network won’t likely share the expectations of one who arrived via a direct email campaign. It's important to coordinate all phases of your marketing campaign. Here's your pre-launch checklist:
- do make sure that your email blasts contain relevant destination URLs
- do verify that conversion tracking is in place
- do assign multiple conversion points so visitors have the option of buying or signing up for future contact (email list; event registration; social media campaign)
- do maintain design consistency
Get to know your audience and engage them. Use one (or more!) webmaster/social media analytics tools to discover what’s important. Invite your audience to let you know what they think about whatever is relevant to shared keywords and tags. You'll soon find you have a growing number of brand ambassadors and an increasing rate of conversions.