Actionable UI insights from Google Analytics

Recently, I’ve been speaking with an old client. I designed his website for him several years ago and provided him with an introduction to Google Analytics as part of that service. Now, as with many of my clients, since the day his website launched, he has never logged into Google Analytics to see what it shows him.

While sitting with him recently, we started to discuss the reason his website wasn’t converting as many people as he hoped. When I asked how many people were visiting the website, he looked blankly back at me.

Understanding how many people visit your site is incredibly important. If you have 10 visitors a month and achieve 2 sales; then there isn’t a problem with your website – there is a problem with the off-page marketing of your website. Heck, tonnes of business owners would kill for a 20% conversion rate from visitors to sales. Contrast that with 20,000 visitors per month while still achieving just 2 sales and we can say with absolute certainty that there is a problem with your website – people just don’t want to buy from you.

So, Google Analytics can tell me whether it’s an on-page or off-page factor that’s affecting my business, what else?

Right, so now you know it’s an on-page factor impacting your business, we can start to look at why. Of those 20,000 visitors you’re receiving per month, where exactly do they land on the website? Let’s say that the majority click through from Google onto the about page first, what do they do next?

If the answer is anything other than ‘click through onto another page’, then something is wrong. I’ve seen some clients with landing page bounce rates of 98% – that means, of every 100 visitors, 98 leave immediately without exploring the rest of your beautiful website.

We can now start to investigate why those 98 people are running away from your website. Look at the page and answer these questions:

  1. How long does the page take to load? Slow web pages are a huge contributor to high bounce rates
  2. What’s on the page? If your about page is simply a wall of text, you’re probably boring the pants off your users. Every page of your website, including the about page needs to be visually appealing. It’s not just the product they’re buying, it’s the brand and the shopping experience too
  3. Is your navigation clear and have you got a call to action? Sometimes users find it hard to see where they’re supposed to go next. Test your website on all device types (smartphone, tablet, laptop) and ensure that the navigation and call to action are clear and easy to use
  4. Is it really obvious within the first 2 seconds what your business does? It may sound silly, but if a user can’t immediately see what your business does, they’re out of there
  5. Does the website have a ‘legit’ feel about it? If you’ve got flash on the website, intense colours, a poor layout, no contact page, no about page, bad product images… you get the point. If you’ve got any of this stuff, it detracts from the credibility of your website
  6. Does your website have an SSL certificate? If you’re trying to sell a product without an SSL certificate, tonnes of clients are going to turn around and run away

The best way to make changes to your website is through A/B testing. Plenty of tools online will allow you to do this. It essentially allows you to test two designs at the same time. User 1 will see design A and user 2 will see design B. You can then assess which design achieves the better reaction from your users.

If you spend the time to analyse it, Google Analytics can and will tell you all sorts of useful stuff about your website. You can understand how people are finding your website and what they do once on your website. Armed with this information, you can pinpoint areas of improvement and work towards a more profitable business.