There is no doubt that driving traffic to your website is imperative to its success. However, I have come across sites that have great traffic but zero conversions. Just to be clear, conversions come in all different flavors. They range from the sale conversion to the sign-up for your email newsletter conversion and everything in between. Regardless, having traffic driven to site is only half the battle.
Visitor flow is how a visitor goes from page to page and the order in which they travel to those pages. This is important because it gives you an overall view of where the stopping points are on the site. This kind of insight is important because if your online business depends on conversions then finding out where the bottlenecks and stopping points are and correcting them will lead to more conversions.
The easiest way to track visitor flow is with Google Analytics. There are a couple of ways to do it. The easiest is to log into Google Analytics and click on Behavior in the left side navigation then click on Behavior Flow. This page will show you the landing pages of your site (landing pages are where visitors start their session on your site) and it will show you where the visitors go next. It will also show you where they stop or rather where they “drop off”.
Another way to track visitor flow is to set a goal or goals for the site. A goal could be a conversion but it also could be a specific page. You set up goals in the Admin tab of Google Analytics. You can set up a single page or you can set up pages in a funnel. A funnel is a series of steps leading to a goal for example, product page then cart then checkout completion.
Once you set up the goal you can monitor it under Conversions on the left hand side navigation then under Goals. What’s really cool is if you set up a funnel you can see the where visitors enter the funnel and where they go when they leave the funnel if they don’t complete a goal.
This will give you an overall view of the visitor flow on the site. However, there are many other factors that could be playing into the lack of conversions. One example is confusion like confusion in what the next step or action needs to be.
Getting feedback from visitors as they navigate through your site can help determine the reason or reasons your site is not converting more visitors. By gathering user insights in real time as they navigation can be cringeworthy at times but it can also be very informative as well. It is best to get a minimum of three different users to navigate the site because you can start to see patterns rather than just one person’s reaction.
Sites like usertesting.com can set you up with users that fit the demographic of your visitor and then they record them using the site. What is cool about this is that you can create tasks for them to do. I did this with my site and I found out things I would never have considered. The point of this is that you hear their reactions as they try to make a purchase or fill out a form. You can also ask them to comment on specific things about your site. This can be valuable in determining what needs to be changed on your site.
Another approach is what is called a Five Second Test (fivesecondtest.com). A five second test is based on first impressions. Users look at the design for five seconds and then are asked a series of questions. The benefit is that you can see if a visitor will understand what you do in five seconds. These types of tests are about creating a better user experiences once the traffic hits your site.
The best SEO campaign is only going to get you so far. It has been proven time and time again that traffic doesn’t equal conversions or sales. Most purchases are made from an emotional point of view. It’s why people go to Starbucks instead of 7-Eleven for their coffee. It’s the experience they prefer when they purchase a cup of coffee. It would be the same for your website. If users are frustrated or not sure where to click or what to do next, they just leave and probably never come back.
In the end, if you are planning to spend a decent chunk of money on SEO, you may want to put a percentage of that chunk aside to make sure that the traffic you will be driving to the site is going to convert to a sale. That will be money well spent.