Optimizing user experience (UX) is paramount for the success of organizations of all shapes, sizes, and functions. We should know – it’s what we’re experts at. At Stauffer or any other creative agency, Google Analytics is the first stop on the way to gathering a consensus on how to improve a client’s UX. Google Analytics offers valuable insights into user behavior that inform how we fine-tune a client’s websites and digital assets. As it is an essential piece of technology, websites are often delivered with Google Analytics already installed within the dashboard of their content management system. If it isn’t, Google provides simple instructions on how to do so here.
Is your website performing as well as it should? How would you know? In this article, we will give a general overview of the primary metrics Google Analytics provides that are required to understand whether or not your organization’s UX and overall conversion strategy is working and also offer insights into some of the best practices Stauffer deploys to optimize our client’s digital messaging strategy.
Bounce rate measures the percentage of users who navigate away from a website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate an unengaging landing page, slow loading times, or irrelevant content. High bounce rates indicate something is fundamentally and fatally wrong with your website’s development or communication strategy.
HOW TO FIX A HIGH BOUNCE RATE:
Optimize Landing Pages For Relevance and Clarity- Landing pages are standalone web pages specifically designed to serve a single purpose or goal, often related to marketing or lead generation. Landing pages are pivotal in capturing visitors’ attention and guiding them toward desired actions. To enhance user engagement and reduce bounce rates, consider the following steps:
Streamline Content: Ensure your landing page content aligns with the visitor’s intent. Remove any unnecessary information that might distract users from their primary purpose.
Clear Headlines and Subheadings: Craft concise, compelling headlines immediately communicating the page’s purpose. Subheadings can break down content, making it more digestible.
Visual Hierarchy: Arrange elements on the page logically and visually appealing. Use typography, colors, and spacing to guide users’ attention toward important information.
Enhance page load speed through compression and caching techniques- Slow-loading pages can frustrate visitors and lead to higher bounce rates. By optimizing page load speed, you can create a more seamless and enjoyable experience for your users.
Image Compression: Optimize images for the web by compressing them without compromising quality. Smaller image sizes can significantly improve loading times.
Browser Caching: Leverage browser caching to store elements of your website on a visitor’s device, allowing faster loading upon subsequent visits.
Minimize Redirects: Excessive redirects can slow down page loading. Minimize the use of redirects or consolidate them to reduce loading time.
Implement Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs): Effective CTAs guide users towards specific actions, reducing bounce rates by encouraging exploration and interaction.
Clear and Actionable Language: Craft CTAs using straightforward language that clearly communicates the action users should take. Use action verbs and create a sense of urgency if appropriate.
Placement: Position CTAs prominently on the page, making them easy to spot without overwhelming the user. Strategic placement can lead users to the next step with clarity.
Relevant Offers: Ensure that the CTA aligns with the page’s content. A relevant CTA increases the likelihood of user engagement.
AVERAGE SESSION DURATION
Average session duration gauges the average time users spend on your site. A low average session duration suggests uninteresting content or navigation challenges.
HOW TO LENGTHEN A USER’S ACTIVE SESSION DURATION:
Create high-quality, engaging content that keeps users browsing: This feels obvious, but high-quality content is what keeps users engaged. Consider the core information your visitors are looking for and enhance it with supplementary information in the format that best fits the way it needs to be digested. Blogs, in-depth articles, and other resourceful bits of content are all great ideas. Once you have begun generating this content, you may tailor it to your audience by checking within your analytics “content engagement report” for metrics on which pieces of content resonate with your audience.
Streamline website navigation for intuitive exploration: User experience is central to keeping visitors engaged. A cluttered and confusing website can lead to quick exits, while intuitive navigation encourages users to delve deeper. Google Analytics Behavior Flow report visualizes the paths users take through your site, pinpointing potential bottlenecks or areas needing improvement. By optimizing navigation menus, employing clear calls-to-action, and using breadcrumbs, you can guide users smoothly through your site, increasing the likelihood of them finding what they need and thus staying longer.
Incorporate multimedia elements like videos and interactive features to captivate users: Infographics and videos provide detailed and engaging multimedia touchpoints for users that add aesthetic value and clickability to your site. Visual content swiftly conveys intricate information, sustains user attention, and is perfect for sharing across social media.
VIEWS PER USER
This metric (formally called “pages per session”) quantifies the number of pages users view during a single session, a cornerstone metric for measuring user engagement. Views per user are an excellent gauge of how well your messaging strategy is working. Still, it is better seen primarily as a metric measuring how good your navigation UX is working. A low views per user count may also indicate a need for internal linking or unoptimized navigation.
A FEW METHODS TO IMPROVE YOUR PAGES PER SESSION ARE:
Implement clear and relevant internal linking between pages- Internal linking is the virtual pathways that guide your users from one page to another within your website. Strategically placing clear and contextually relevant internal links within your content is essential for having a sturdy website UX. By creating a roadmap for users to explore related topics, your site will facilitate easy navigation and encourage users to engage more deeply with your website’s offerings.
Utilize related content recommendations to encourage further exploration- Related content recommendations act as digital signposts, directing users towards additional material that aligns with their interests and raises a site’s engagement score. Leveraging Google Analytics insights, organizations can identify content consumption patterns unique to your site’s viewers by analyzing which pages or topics are often viewed together. Implementing related content recommendations at the end of articles or alongside similar pieces guides users to explore further, enhancing their experience and extending their time on your site.
Enhance site navigation menus and structure for seamless transitions- A user-friendly navigation system keeps visitors engaged. Google Analytics provides behavior flow reports visually representing how users move through your website. These insights highlight whether or not there are any stumbling points or confusion in user journeys. Refining navigation menus and continuously optimizing your site’s overall structure will create smooth transitions between pages, enabling users to quickly discover and access all the exciting content you have made, leading to longer sessions and deeper engagement.
Your exit rate measures the percentage of users who leave your website from a specific page. High exit rates on important pages can signify usability issues or unmet user expectations and are a KPI for identifying a low conversion rate (more on that later).
HOW TO REMEDY A HIGH EXIT RATE
Review and optimize user flows to identify pain points. Exit Rate measures the percentage of users who leave your website from a specific page. To effectively manage exit rates, it’s essential to understand user behavior and identify potential pain points in their journey. Utilize Google Analytics to examine the user flow, which shows the sequence of pages users visit before exiting. Users must exit your page at some point, but if it’s meant to be where a conversion is made, analyze the page’s content, layout, and CTA. This analysis can reveal where users might encounter obstacles or disinterest, enabling you to make informed improvements.
Provide clear CTA’s or next steps to guide users- High exit rates on essential pages (like conversion pages) signal that users are unsure about their next steps. To fix this, ensure every page has a clear purpose and as strong a CTA as you can write. Whether guiding users to related content, encouraging them to subscribe, or leading them to a conversion point, a well-defined CTA holds the user’s hand and takes them in the direction you want them to go, reducing the likelihood of them exiting without action.
Test different designs and layouts to identify what resonates best with users- Design and layout play a significant role in user engagement and exit rates. A strategy that only resonates with your target audience can lead to quick exits. Designs may look cool but work differently than you want them to; this is why Stauffer always encourages experimenting with A/B testing.
A/B testing is where you present different page versions to users and analyze which design garners a lower exit rate. This testing approach helps you identify elements that resonate best with your audience, enabling you to fine-tune your website’s design to reduce exits.
The holy grail of site metrics, conversion rates track the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as purchasing or filling out a form, downloading a PDF, or making a sale. Everything on your site should lead to conversion; if it isn’t, Stauffer recommends heavily considering if it should be on your site.
TIPS ON IMPROVING YOUR CONVERSION RATE:
Simplify and streamline the conversion process, reducing form fields or steps- In order to optimize conversion rates, it’s essential to make the conversion process as straightforward as possible. Utilize Google Analytics to analyze the steps users take before completing a conversion. Identify any unnecessary form fields, complex procedures, or barriers that might deter users from completing the action.
Implement trust signals such as security badges and customer testimonials- Building trust with your users is crucial for boosting conversion rates. Incorporate trust signals throughout the conversion journey to reassure users about the safety and credibility of their actions. Trust signals can include security badges, customer testimonials, reviews, and transparent privacy policies. Google Analytics insights can guide you in understanding which trust signals resonate most with your audience, allowing you to place them in areas that influence conversions strategically.
Optimize the checkout process for a frictionless experience- For e-commerce websites, the checkout process is the most critical stage for conversions. Analyze the checkout funnel using Google Analytics to identify drop-off points and areas where users abandon the process. Streamline the checkout process by eliminating unnecessary steps, offering guest checkout options, and providing multiple payment methods. By minimizing friction and making the checkout experience seamless, you can encourage users to complete their purchases.
Want to learn more about the new updates made to Google Analytics? Check out our recent article: [title]. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to understand their metrics better and improve their site’s UX.
Identifying a flaw in your strategy is one thing, but fixing it is another. If you recognize any or all of these problems within your Google Analytics, it’s time to book some time with Stauffer’ UX leadership team.