Creating a website is a major project and many site owners take a once-and-done approach to it. Then, they wonder why all their business tapers off after a few months. A website is not a fixed asset that is completed once it is established. To the contrary, the site is never completed. It should constantly be updated but that leads to the question of how. Google Analytics helps site owners discover which content is working and what needs to be improved.
When they use Google Analytics tutorials, online business owners often skip the information regarding site content. Since their site is already established, they figure there is nothing more to learn on the subject. This is a big mistake because content analysis is critical to keeping the site fresh and relevant. Studying total site traffic is important but reviewing which pages are proving effective and which are not is also critical.
A website should have a goal, which is the target that the site owner wants to achieve. For example, an ecommerce site may establish a sales goal and it may also create a goal for newsletter enrollment. Tracking and measuring goals is the way to see whether the marketing is effective. The site goal should have a destination page such as a thank you included during check out. Though this directs visitors exiting the site, the owner does not have as much control over where the traffic comes into the site.
Identifying where most traffic lands helps site owners direct visitors toward the goal. By viewing the Top Content pages in the Content Overview section of Google Analytics, site owners see the most common entry pages and can look for those with high exit rates. These can be refined to keep visitors involved with the site, whether that means improving the page from a design perspective, updating content, or revising formatting.
Once each page is performing well, the site owner should look at where visitors are heading from each entry page. Statistics for the most popular next pages reveal where content should be refined. In some cases, a smoother navigation path may be required, while in others, the issue is outdated content or broken links. Making pages faster to load by reducing number of images or video content can also make a difference.
Looking at the site from this perspective, it becomes clear why the work is never done. A website can always be improved and analytical tools make it easier to identify where the improvement is needed. Data is objective and the numbers can be very revealing. They illustrate which pages must be improved, which ones are doing better, and which continue to drive traffic to the site goal.
Using statistics to make design and content changes to the site is easier than a trial and error approach. Designers and content experts will be more efficient and can focus on expanding the site rather than always troubleshooting existing pages. Keeping the eye on the goal and making the site a clear path to it should be very rewarding.