Using Google Analytics to Improve User Experience (UX)
July 17th, 2015 Matt McCue

When you visualize your website, how do you see it? Is it a well-groomed garden with clearly defined paths, or an overgrown forest?

When you visualize your website, how do you see it? Is it a well-groomed garden with clearly defined paths, or is it like an overgrown forest with no clear defined route that your traffic should take?


Photo Credit: Brenda Clarke

 

You may think of your website as a the Gardens of Versailles, with lots of cobbled stone paths that your visitors use when navigating through your site, but the reality is that your visitors often make their own routes as they trample through your website with no clear path to take.

 

One of the ways that you can optimize your site is by harnessing the User Experience (UX) data that your Google Analytics (GA) account has collected for you. Without the need for costly UX tools to purchase, your GA account can provide you will a lot of the information that tells you how your users are navigating through your site. 

 

404 Pages

 

A 404 Error signifies that the page the visitor is trying to access doesn’t exist, which means that the person’s need isn’t met, which could cause them to feel disappointed and quickly leave your website. 

In order to track in GA all of the 404 pages that your visitors encounter, you’ll have to investigate into the non-existent pages by doing a search in Behavior > Site Content > Pages with the search term “404”. This will display all of the pages contain 404, and you’ll be able to see any non-existent pages which still receive traffic. If any pages have 404 in the page name or URL, they’ll be displayed there. 

You can drill down further and see the referring pages or sites of the 404 pages by using the Landing Pages tool to display the landing pages of your content. Adding a secondary dimension to include Landing Page with 404 as the Matching Expressions will display all of the 404 pages and their referral pages, which will show you the pages or sites that are referring your visitors to pages that no longer exist. 

With this information, you should fix the internal links on the pages on your site which are referring traffic to pages that return 404 errors, and contact the web masters of the external links that are referring traffic to non existent pages. 

 

Funnels and Goals

 

Goals and funnels are excellent methods that you can use to keep track of desired measurable actions of your traffic. In other words, you’re able to set goals and funnels to track whenever visitors perform conversions (sales and sign-ups) on your site.

A funnel is a series of pages that the visitor must navigate through in order to complete the goal. You can create different funnels and goals depending on the measurable action that you’re trying to track such as newsletter sign-ups, time on site, or sales.

Creating funnels and goals or the conversions that you want your visitors to perform will show you where your visitors are exiting the funnels, and you can take steps to keep them in the funnel until they reach and complete the goal.

Goals and funnels are a must-have for any site because this valuable information will help you better understand how your traffic is following the steps in the path towards the goals, and where they’re leaving it. Closing these departure points will increase your conversions, and ultimately grow your revenue.

 

Site Search Data

 

Investigating the site search data in your GA dashboard can give you lots of information that you can use to better design your site’s navigation and internal link structure.

When your users have to rely on the site search to find their desired information, it means that your navigational structure isn’t optimal for the needs of your visitors. This means that you can compare the amount a search term is used, and add links to the navigational menu bar for the highly searched-for terms. If your site is an e-commerce site that sells pet supplies and  one of the frequently searched for items on your site is dog muzzles, you may want to add the page for dog muzzles onto your site navigation bar. Doing so will eliminate one step in the visitor’s path to the content they’re looking for, which should increase conversions for dog muzzle sales. Another way that you can use the search terms to increase your sales is to learn the terminology of your users, and if you’re using a different term than they are for the same product, you should consider changing the term to the one they’re using. 

To investigate the site search functionality’s usage, use your GA Behaviour > Search Terms to see all of the search terms that are used by the visitors on your page. 

You can drill down even further to see which pages people are on when searching for a specific term, which could give you some ideas about internal link structure on a specific page. Using start page as a secondary dimension will show you all of the pages that people are on when searching for another term. Adding a link in there form of a banner or text link will assist your visitors in finding the information that they have previously searched for, thereby eliminating a step they need to take in order to find what they want.

 

Summary

 

These are just a few of the ways that you can optimize the UX on your site by using the data in your GA account. There are countless other ways that GA data can be used for understanding the UX of your site, and we’ll revisit this topic in a future Tridacom article to provide you with other methods and tricks.

In the meantime, dig into your GA data and learn more about how your visitors are using the content on your site, and what you need to do in order to increase their time on your site and also the conversions. A few simple fixes may do wonders to your conversion rates, which would grow your revenue. Trying some A/B tests will help you discover the most suitable changes for your clientele.

 

About Tridacom

 

Tridacom is a Canadian IT Consulting and Telecommunications company with a focus on improving our client’s business with any of the services we offer. With offices in Edmonton, Regina, Toronto, and Vancouver, our team is accessible and available 24/7 to the companies in the regions we service. 

To learn more about Tridacom and how our services can optimize your business processes, please contact us today at 1-877-489-0123 for a free consultation of your business’ IT needs and how we can help.


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