Using Conversion Funnels to Improve Your Site

When customers buy your products and services online, it isn’t a transparent process. You can’t physically see your customer. You can’t talk to them, and you don’t get any queues about what they like and don’t like about your site. To an outsider, just looking at sales figures, it seems like a very binary process – you either get the sale, or you don’t.

Analytics is a good way to see important facts like where your customers come from, how long they stay and what site information they feel is relevant.  But what about the path they take to buying your product?

How do you know which pages on your website are most convincing for customers? Sure you can ask those customers who purchase a product, but what about those clients who hit low performing pages and leave your site without a purchase?

Analytics has a feature commonly called a Conversion Funnel which describes the journey the customer takes from an advertisement or search result, through the various pages of your site, and finally converting to a sale.  The metaphor of a funnel is important because at every stage customers will drop out of the process – the funnel shrinks from a large entry at the top to a small exit at the bottom signifying the low number of potential customers who convert to a sale.

The advantage of funnels is they help us see the sale process easily and allows us to:
•    See where a customer might be confused or get into trouble
•    Work out what copy might be changing a customer’s decision to buy
•    Surfacing bugs in the code, browser issues or other technical problems which could prevent a client from buying

Funnels work in conjunction with Goals.  Simply put, Goals are end points you want your client to reach, like a checkout page, or a thank you page after a customer subscribes to your newsletter.  Goals describe those activities you want your customer to complete when visiting your website.
Once you have a goal setup, you are ready to setup a Funnel.

Let’s use a simple case study to bring funnels to life. Your site offers a subscription site for authors to access an exclusive member site – the primary call to action for your website is to sign up for a newsletter so you can entice them to become a member.

First, you need to setup your goal – which will be a thank you page once a user has subscribed. We use the thank you page because it is AFTER the subscription process is complete.

  1. Log into Google Analytics, drill down into one of your profiles, and click Admin in the top navigation.
  2. Click the Goals tab.
  3. Enter a Goal Name, such as Subscribe to Newsletter.
  4. Enter a Goal URL, such as /thankyou-page.php.
  5. Leave the Match Type as Exact Match
  6. Enter a Goal Value (even if it doesn’t have a cash value) because it allows Google to calculate Page value and Per Visit Goal Value.

You can create your funnel after you’ve created your goal.

  1. Select the Use Funnel checkbox.
  2. Enter URLs and names for the funnel steps (these are pages that lead to your goal):
    /about-us – About us
    /newsletter – Newsletter description
    /signup.php – Sign-up page
  3. Select the Required Step checkbox for the first funnel step.

Once Google Analytics has collected some data, the Funnel Visualisation Report will show a raft of data including the Funnel Conversion Rate, which shows the percentage of visits, including a step page view which leads to the goal.  This shows you how successfully your page is converting.
Congratulations on making your first step into conversion funnel analytics. If we can help you with further steps, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

What is Bounce Rate?

In this series of Analytics posts, I’m examining Bounce rate. It’s an important measure for site managers because it explains the number of visitors who leave your site after landing on it. In plain English it’s about who doesn’t find anything interesting enough to make them stay.

Bounce rates can be caused by a number of factors including:

  1. Hitting the back button on a web browser
  2. The user finished and closed a web browser window, ending the session
  3. The visitor clicks an ad on your website
  4. The visitor used the search box in their web browser
  5. The visitor typed a URL into their browser
  6. The visitor clicked a link to an external site, forcing them to leave your site

Bounce rates are calculated when a user takes any one of these actions before clicking on a second page of your site. So if a user clicked a second page before clicking on an advertisement then it would not be counted as a Bounce in your statistics.

Your site’s bounce rate can be calculated with the following formula:

Bounce = Visits that left after one page / Total number of visits

Website managers should aim to lower the bounce rate – as you do this it means you are engaging more of your visitors with your content and it’s an indicator that your content and design are correct, enticing people to click on more pages of your site each visit.

You can measure the bounce rate on your website using analytics tools like Google Analytics, which will automatically track these figures for you.

What is Analytics?

You may have heard of Google Analytics, but what is it? How do you use it? What can it tell you? These are all questions that we’ll answer in this new series called “Analytics Explained.”

If you look up Wikipedia, Web Analytics (the generic term) is defined as “the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimising web usage.”

In the olden days of the internet, propeller-capped boffins would have called this web stats.  Over the years, the reporting of these site metrics has become much more sophisticated, and Google has become one of the preeminent players in the analytics space.

What Analytics Will Tell You

Part of the reason for Google’s interest is because of how tightly analytics aligns with its mission of “organising the world’s information and making it universally useful.”  Analytics are the tools which make web usage transparent, to website owners and Google as well. The metrics can tell you many valuable pieces of information about how people are using your website including:
•    How many people visit
•    The sites that send you traffic
•    Which pages are most popular
•    What content readers like the most.

Going deeper Analytics can also give you very detailed information about which marketing campaigns are working best for you, and which customers convert into sales or leads.

Use Your Existing Google Account

Anyone with a Google account can open an Analytics account. If you’ve got a Gmail account or you access a Google drive, you’re already half way there.  Google allows up to 100 analytics properties (tracked sites) per Google account.

One of the important points to note is that you should always maintain your Google data. Some developers will establish Google Analytics on your behalf and then provide you access. While this works initially – if your designer parts ways you may lose access to your site data – and you’ll have to start again.
While we’ll look at the details of establishing Analytics in a later post, the fundamentals of setting up Google Analytics is reasonably straightforward. Each property you create in Google Analytics dashboard will have a unique property ID.

Linking Google Analytics To Your Website

Once you’ve got your property ID, Google will give you code to insert into every page on your website you wish to track.  Typical content management platforms like WordPress and Joomla, use plugins to add this code to each page automatically.  A quick search for Google Analytics in the WordPress Plugin repository will provide numerous plugins you can use for this purpose.

Once your site is linked using the code, Google Analytics will start tracking website visitors and producing reports.
For busy sites, the Real Time Analytics can be useful for watching real-time visitors to your site, while historical data will give you trends over time.
If you haven’t stepped into the world of Analytics perhaps now is the time to give it a try. If you’d like some help setting it up contact us – we’ll be happy to help.

What is Responsive Web Design?

As you’ve been exploring web design, you may have heard about responsive web design. You may be wondering what it is and whether you need it for your website. Let’s explore Responsive Web Design and why it’s one of the most important investments you’ll make in your site. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or ready for a remodel, you can’t overlook this critical design approach.

Simply, Responsive Web Design is about building sites to provide an ‘optimal’ viewing experience across all devices, whether mobile, tablet or desktop. Responsive websites resize and rearrange page elements depending on where that website is viewed. When it’s on a desktop, you’ll see a full-size website, on smaller mobile devices you’ll see a cut down version that displays the essential content and elements at a size that is easy to read on that device. They key element of responsive web design is that these change happen automatically and your website will optimise the site to give you the best viewing experience ‘on the fly’.

Responsive Web Design has gone from a fancy nice-to-have to a must-have. In fact, Google now examines responsive design when it determines search engine placement. These days, Google’s search algorithms weigh how easy the content is to access, as well as how good the content is. If you examine Google Analytics results for any of the popular websites we build and manage, we can see that the bulk of users are now viewing the site on a mobile device. The number of people using smartphones and tables to search and shop on the web, continues to grow.

Implementing responsive web design on your site is becoming a necessity rather than an option. To help customers make this transition we offer a free 30-minute assessment of your site, to determine how to make your site responsive. Feel free to take us up on this offer.

If you are interested in having a responsive website, we provide fully responsive web design on content management platforms that put you in control of your site once the design is complete. We’d love to chat with you about your web project. Email us anytime for an obligation free discussion.