You realize your website is a tool and you have a feeling the experience could be better, but how do you tackle improving it in a cost-effective way?  Not everyone has the budget to hire an agency and if this is your first time analyzing your website there may be some low hanging fruit you can address yourself. You, your family, and your coworkers or employees are too close to the brand and website to give accurate feedback.  It may be tempting to enlist their feedback, but just remember they are not your real audience so their influence can push you further from your goal.  The best way to begin is by using user data you have collected and gathering new data.

Gathering Data

You may already have data such as page visits and click data, but we would recommend additional data points to fill out a clearer picture of your users journey so that you can better identify the friction points within your website.  There are many tools to chose from, but we will be referencing our Agency’s preferred tool HotJar.  With this tool you can setup HeatMaps, ScrollMaps, User Recordings, Form Tracking and Survey’s.  This type of information is critical to better understanding of how users are interacting with your on page content and learning where that content is falling short in driving users to the desired next step in their journey be it a click to another internal page or converting through a form or phone number.  Depending on the amount of traffic your website is receiving you may have enough data within a couple of weeks, but it could take longer so we suggest checking at the 30 day mark unless you receive notifications sooner as each tool sends out an alert as it hits a data threshold.

Starting Point for Your Website Analysis

Once you have enough data collected, the best place to start is the top of the funnel.  If you are not sure where that is, login to your Google Analytics or other website data tracking tool and look for the top 1-3 entrance pages.  It is important to start at the top of the funnel as if users are getting stuck there then it won’t matter how you improve the conversion point as users won’t see it.  Start by reviewing the heatmaps and scrollmaps to get an idea of where your users are engaging the most.  Once you have that overview, it is time to watch specific videos of your users engaging your content.  As you watch the videos, make sure to take notes for each video you analyze as you may not understand the importance of it until you have watched many so these notes will be critical to refer back to.  We also suggest adding a tag system to your notes or within the tool itself so you can filter back to these recordings at a later date.  Here are some of the behaviors you should be looking for:

Clicking on Non-Clickable Content:

It is common to see users click on content that isn’t clickable.  If you see this repeat behavior ask yourself if there is a place you can drive that user too with that action and if so, make that image or text clickable.  An extra click or page visit can help further engage a user and help you better understand their intent, but make sure you are driving them to further valuable content that still leads them towards a final conversion point.  In the example below, we originally had 1 image on this ad landing page, but after seeing repeated users clicking on the image we implemented a photo gallery and now users are better able to engage with the content and get the information they needed to convert versus leaving the website.

User Analysis Success Example

Lack of Direction – Repeated Back and Forth Movement:

You may see users rapidly move their mouse back and forth across the screen (this is the orange color lines in the image above).  This could be interpreted a few different ways so check to see if your content is easily scanned with using sub-headers and/or bullet points so users can easily find what they may be looking for versus large blocks of text.  Or is the text short, are you missing giving information to help the user to the next step of their discovery?

Scroll Depth:

Are your users scrolling far enough to get to the important information?  If not, think about rearranging the content to make sure it gets seen.

Field Drop Off:

Are users starting your forms, but not finishing?  Make sure you are only asking for the most important information.  If you can get further details through a secondary follow up consider removing it from the form to lessen the feeling for the user being overwhelmed as each field asks for their further commitment.  Sometimes less information is better if it gets you the lead or order.

If you do not identify any of the above or other possible friction points, but users are still not taking the action you desire consider setup a short exit survey.  This can give you explicit feedback from your audience.

Analyzing the Website Changes

Once you implement a change you predict will fix the friction point you noted in your research make sure to document when that change was made.  This will be important so you can compare data after that change has been live for a significant amount of time.  The best way to confirm if a change has made a difference is through A/B testing if you have enough visitors and the technical resources to implement.  If you do not, make sure you determined what metrics you will be analyzing to determine if the change was successful and ensure you have gathered enough data to make that decision.

Remember that your website should always be changing and adapting based on user data.  This will allow you to get the most out of your marketing efforts, increase your leads and also have the added benefit of improving your search engine optimization since user engagement is a metric used in search engine algorithms.  We are continually surprised in watching and analyzing user behavior and we know you will be too.