Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is an expert. After you’ve made large and small improvements to your site design, conversion funnel, marketing messaging, and have streamlined your usability, how can you test which of these changes made a difference? Could they have made your conversion rate worse?
To convert more visitors into paying customers, opinions play a limited role. The first step is to understand why and from where potential customers are leaving. They won’t tell you. But they do leave footprints in the snow, so to speak. We call these footprints, site metrics. Here are several effective tools that will help you track your visitors behavior and help you understand where and how your site needs improvement:
Tools to Gather Site Metrics Data
To get started, you’ll need to collect data on your site’s visitors. There are two tools available to you for free: Google Analytics and AW Stats. Both of these can be installed quickly, they gather site metrics data in different ways, and they analyze data from different sources. Google Analytics uses click and browsing data it collects while visitors surf the web and browse your website.
AW Stats uses data buried in log files continually gathered and produced by your web server. Here’s a quick chart giving you an idea of how the two can give you different but equally important metrics.
|Metric||Google Analytics||AW Stats|
|Track Users Across Sites||√||X|
|Where Users Came From||√||√|
|Hits Per Page||√||√|
|Hits Per Section of a Page||√||X|
|Number of Visitors||√||√|
|Analyze Web Server Logs||X||√|
|Analyze Email Logs||X||√|
|Analyze FTP Logs||X||√|
|Data Availability||Moderate Delay||Instant|
|Ease of Using Basic Features||Easy||Easy|
|Ease of Using All Features||Moderate||Hard|
|Community Support||Great Community||Great Community|
|Installation||Code Provided||Manual Install*|
* You can install at any time. There are also a lot of tutorials on how to install AW Stats.
Track where your visitors came from, and which links they clicked on, using Google Analytics.
Google Analytics software is the first step in beginning to understand your visitors. Analytics allows you collect vital site metric data about your visitors. You can use this data to quickly identify site usability/navigation bottlenecks, poorly performing pages, top performing pages, visitor session length, typical browsing paths, visitor demographics, and referring links.
A Heat Map is similar to a weather map. it’s an overlay of different colors representing “temperatures.” Warmer colors represent where visitors looked, spent time, interacted, moused, and scrolled. Cooler colors mean less activity. You can literally see how far visitors scrolled down a long page. And you can see the percent of visitors who CONSIDERED clicking an important call to action, but did not. It’s amazing the first time you try it out.
By viewing the colors superimposed over your site pages, you can see at a glance which pages and areas are generating the most and least interest and act on this information. In short, what’s hot and what’s not.
Recommendation: Install Crazy Egg on your most important pages and on any pages that Analytics indicate are underperforming and not selling. Find out where shoppers are looking on those pages and use that as a basis for small tweaks that could have a major impart (rearrange calls to action, make “hot spots” more accessible, consider removing or relocating “cold temperature” content to streamline the overall page. Are your headlines working? Is your slideshow getting attention? Heat maps can reveal these answers.
They’ve done quite a bit of work to make the reviewing process as simple as it can be. Websites for review are presented within Criticue’s website and a bar across the top and a comment box for you to leave feedback. Basic Guidelines to follow are also strictly enforced to encourage thorough and constructive criticism, which helps to make Criticue a great resource for testing out ideas to fix problems negatively impacting your store.
Use Livechat to view visitors journey through your website in real time. This is a completely different experience from viewing a bunch of charts and graphs. You can get a real feel for which pages users are most interested in, and which they skip over. You can instatly see their geographical location, whether they’ve visited before, and how long they spend looking at each page.
Spend a few hours or a day “shopping in tandem” with your site visitors can help you to experience what your shoppers are experiencing in a tangible way. At any time during their session, you can announce your presence and offer assistance. And just using live chat during business hours can have a dramatically positive effect on your site’s overall conversion rate.
Summary: With Google Analytics and AW Stats collecting data for you, Crazy Egg telling you what parts of your page are the most valuable and interesting, Criticue providing you with unbiased feedback on your pages, and wrapping it all up with LiveChat to get real-time, interactive customer feedback, you should have more than enough data to stop opining about successful conversion strategies and start applying hard data to improving the effectiveness of your conversion funnel.
Did you find this article useful?