Are your Website Visitors Behaving Properly?
Remember the good old days when the success of a website was gauged solely on tracking hits. How about hit counters on the bottom of a website that would display the total number of hits and accumulate with each passing visitor. The more hits, the more successful the website. Bring back memories? In just a few years web analytics, as we now know it, is a completely different animal for a completely different audience. No longer is analytics just for developers and technology professionals. Viewing analytics has now shifted to marketers, designers, small business owners and business executives, all of whom seek answers to more complex questions about website behavior.
Fortunately, analytics has adapted to the complexity of today's websites, which is no longer about getting just visitors but rather turning those visitors into customers. For most websites, it all starts with understanding visitor behavior. Whether you know it or not, the people who visit your website are doing you a favor by helping you improve site performance, telling you what's working or not working and growing your business. That's why there's a whole area in Google Analytics dedicated to visitors. Here are some key performance indicators (KPI) to understanding visitor behavior.
1. Time on site: Time spent on site is calculated by generating time stamps on a visit to every page and then calculating the difference between the last and first time-stamp of a visitor session. In case of a bounce, time on site and time on page are both reported as 00:00 minutes. Because the time on page cannot be fetched for bounces and exits, the reported values are not 100% accurate because the data for exited and bounced traffic on a page is missing.
2. Average Pageview: Average pageviews per session is one of the most used KPIs as it's a quick indicator of website engagement. This is a ratio of the number of pageviews the average web visitor views per session. This a ratio and not a metric so it can be compared between segments, varying time frames and across multiple sites or sub-domains.
3. Bounce Rate: Google Analytics defines a bounce as any visit where the visitor views only one page on the site, and then does something else like clicking on a link to a page on a different web site, closing an open window or tab, typing a new URL, clicking the back button to leave the site, or perhaps the user doesn't do anything and a session timeout occurs. Furthermore, there's been studies that correlates bounce rates with search engine rankings. Although these studies are not conclusive, they do serve as a warning that high bounce rates may be a very good indicator of a poor site experience.
4. Funnel Visualization: This report allows you to create a custom path that you want the visitors to take before they reach your designated goal. This can be used for both e-commerce and lead generation websites. If your shopping cart abandonment rates are high, you can see what page visitors are most likely to drop off before making a transaction. Then take action to change or fix this page so that visitors are more likely to continue with their purchase.
You don't necessarily need experienced professionals to identify behavior patterns. Simply utilizing the above KPIs will help you identify and understand visitor behavior, which will, in turn, assist you in improving your website's overall performance.