Why it’s Important to Track Your Site Visitor’s Journey
I’ve just written a piece for my blog that includes reference to the overall journey your prospects might make before they buy something. I am now narrowing it down to focus on tracking people while they are on your site and only that. You must have sight of the path visitors take from accessing your site to leaving and everything in between. The viability of an online business depends on a thorough analysis of this behaviour. Without it, you’re basically blind. Blind to what you can do to adjust your site to maximise visitors experience, and sales (for ecommerce sites).
Most tracking software enables you track visitors, but won’t let you identify individuals. Google Analytics would come into this category. At a basic level for tracking movement across your website that’s all you need. You’re looking for patterns.
How to Retain Customers
The premise on which visitors arrive is that they can find what they are looking for, be that information about your business, products or services or to place an order or make a purchase. The longer they stay on your site, the more chance you have they will make a purchase or be positively predisposed to your business. They may come back again but you can’t bank on that. You are looking to maximise the time they spend on the site.
Having a clearly laid out site is essential. Some websites can be too clever for their own good. Offer a site search facility (that works) and related pages or product features or a related purchase feature. Amazon does all of these so well.
Offer valuable information. You should also have a clear idea about how you anticipate visitors will move around your site towards making a purchase. This funnel is important. The structure of the site has to please and build up trust but ultimately your goal is for someone to make a purchase on the site or to contact the business to know more about it.
One easy way to slip up is to inadvertently generate high bounces rates. These are visitors who land on your site and immediately hit the back button. The most likely cause is they have found your site for a keyword phrase that’s not relevant to what you offer. A very badly designed site or one that’s not mobile compliant can generate the same response. This is the worst thing that can happen. Once you’ve identified a bounce rate issue you must move to investigate and remove the source of the problem.
Do Customers Like Your Site?
How long do customers spend on your site? How many pages do they read on average? Do they download? The length of time they stay, coupled with the number of pages they read, including product or service descriptions gives you a good gauge as how they feel about your site. But don’t forget spammers and competitors can be on your site for a while too, so you do need some decent visitor numbers before drawing conclusions.
Examining Your Visitors Experience
An analysis of what people do on the site and path they follow will give you a good idea of their experience. For example, if you find visitors are reading many pages, say of your blog, but not venturing close to the product pages it could be the product or shop tab on your menu isn’t clearly displayed from the blog pages or that you’ve not provided any call to action in key locations. As a short term fix, for example, you should be able to identify your most widely read blog page. From there you can make sure the e-commerce pages are clearly visible.
The Challenge for Ecommerce Sites
This brings me nicely onto the challenge for e- commerce sites. If you are operating an ecommerce site then you need to make your shop offering is very obvious from both the home page and its menu. Shopping needs to be structured so that visitors won’t think twice. If you are getting lots of visitors to product pages but they are not buying or staying long, you may have issues with content, price or presentation. Likewise if you get a lot of abandoned shopping carts it could be your checkout process is too involved or you don’t offer a wide enough range of payments.