A Practical guide to using Google Analytics to see if your website is user friendly?

Most businesses now have a website. But how good is it?

 

How well was it built?

Did the people who built it know about digital marketing, or are they ‘just’ designers. I do not mean this in any way that could be derogatory to designers, of course, without them, our world would be colourless and boring.

But, when designing websites, it’s not about having the new and the snazzy, it’s about having a website that users know how to use. One that search engines know how to read. One that is intuitive. Bright and snazzy is ace, as long as it’s on top of all those other elements.

So how do you know if your customers like it?

Look at Google Analytics (NOTE: If you don’t have any form of analytics on your website, that would raise a red flag for me. You need to be able to measure how well your website is performing).

Go into your analytics and go to the audience tab. Then click on overview. This will show you an outline of all users that have visited your website in the last 7 days by default (this is editable in the top right of the graph).

Google Analytics can be a very powerful tool for marketing and measurements, but beware, there’s a lot of things they can tell you that simply aren’t relevant to small businesses. For a basic overview of how people to react to your website, this page is enough. Each type of analytics can be clicked on to get fuller information.

 

We will look at what each number means and how you should interpret it.

Users:

This number tells you how many people came to your website in the given time period. We set ours to the last 30 days, and you can see that this website (one of our clients) had 352 users.

This number is based on IP addresses. So visited the site from your laptop, and then again from your tablet (on the same wifi), that would count as one user, but 2 separate sessions.

How to interpret it:

As long as this number is always increasing, for most industries, that’s a good thing.

New Users:

This number is the amount of users who have never been to your site before. This is also pictured in the pie diagram on the right. The blue section is ‘new users’ and the green is ‘returning visitors’.

Whether this is a good or bad thing will depend on your type of business.

How to interpret it:

If you offer a one-time service, where people would come onto your website, complete a task and then not return, you would expect the ‘new users’ to be much higher than those who target the repeat purchase.

Sessions:

This is how many separate times people have visited your website.

Similar to the ‘users’ but it counts the individual times you view it, rather than how many times the IP address views it. This could be 3 different people in the same household all looking at it on their tablets, all on the same wifi network. 1 user but 3 sessions.

How to interpret it:

A higher number of sessions would suggest that either the same person keeps coming back, which is a good thing. A number similar to that of ‘users’ would suggest that people are only coming to your site once and they are not returning.

How to fix it:

I would look at the design – get a friend to look at your website for usability. You could do it, but you are probably too close and know that ‘if you click there, you’ll get that’, whereas your friend probably doesn’t and it would get you a fairer opinion

Number of Sessions Per User

This is simply a ratio calculation of the above sessions by user.

Page Views

This shows you how many individual pages that users have looked at during their visit.

How to interpret it:

If your website has 6 pages and people are only looking at 1, you definitely have an issue. It would suggest that the navigation is not clear, as people don’t know where to go next, or there are too few (or no) call to actions, or even that everything they want is on the first page so they don’t need to go to a second page.

How to fix it:

Firstly, look at the menu. Is it in easy to understand English? Is it either across the top of your website or down the left hand side? Are all the pages showing? A no to any of these could be your problem.

Next, look at your call to action buttons. Are they obvious? Do the links work? Again, are they in simple English? Are they easy to understand eg. Book Now or See More or Contact Us?

Then look at the content. Is everything you need on the front page? Think about splitting it out into multiple pages so that you can see which content is working and which needs work.

Pages per Session

This is simply a ratio calculation of the above pages by sessions. You would expect this to be at least 25% of the total number of pages.

How to interpret it:

So, in our example, their website has 10 pages. 25% of 10 is 2.5. So their sessions per user is superb.

Less than the 25% could suggest a number of things – the content isn’t engaging, the menu is not intuitive, calls to action are scarce or badly worded etc (see above).

How to fix it:

Our example would suggest a strong customer purchase intent, as they’re hanging around, looking at lots of pages. If you’re lacking in conversions with this sort of ratio, I would look at the actual content.

Session Duration

If your site is user friendly, your ‘session duration’ will be good. You want people on your website, looking at things. It’s like having people in your shop, mooching around. They just need a gentle prod to buy something – exclusive content, helpful staff, calls to action.

How to interpret it:

A good session duration will be completely dependant on the type of site you have. A service provider would expect a duration of about 15-20 secs per page, which gives the user just enough time for a page to load and for them to figure out where they need to go next. A blogger on the other hand would expect it to be a couple of minutes per page if users are reading each blog. Retail would be somewhere in the middle.

So in our example – the client is a specialist service provider, so we’d expect about 30 secs per page. With a sessions per user of 4.52, we would times that by 30 secs to get our ideal session duration, which is 2:00. We’re not far off, at 1:48, we’re pretty happy with this.

How to fix it:

If your duration is too low, that would suggest that people aren’t digesting your content. Is it too wordy? Is it split up with appropriate headings? Making things easy to read, with shorter sentences and more images should increase duration.

A duration that is too high might be because of the same things, people are wanting to read it, but it is too difficult so it’s taking a while. Try making it easier to read!

 

Are the users the right type of people for that content – if not, take a step back and look at your marketing strategy. Who are you targeting and why?

Bounce Rate

This is when a user comes onto your website and leaves immediately, without looking around. This is usually when someone lands on your website by mistake.

How to interpret it:

ON average, a bounce rate in the 50% is good. The lower, the better. Our example is an exceptionally fantastic bounce rate. This just means that virtually all the people coming to this website are there for a reason.

Higher bounce rates aren’t always a bad thing. Another client of ours has a bounce rate of 92%, but that’s because users come to the website then click on ‘login’ from the homepage which takes them somewhere else, so Google sees this as a bounce rate.

How to fix it:

If your bounce rate is high, check which landing pages they are coming in on and check that they’re easy to use.

Are you advertising in the right place? Are you targeting the right audience?

 

 

Google Analytics is an incredible tool, full of data that can help you to improve your online presence. If you want a hand understanding any of it, or you just want help with your marketing plan, please drop us an email.

Written by RA Digital – Trusted Digital Marketing for Small Businesses