The time has come for your website redesign. You and your team have been dreaming of this moment for months, even years now. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, toss the old site aside and get the creative juices flowing. But wait! Before you say goodbye to your company or client’s weathered website (probably designed circa 2010), you should take the time to reflect on lessons learned in the form of website analysis.
If you have a web analytics solution on your site, you’re probably already measuring things like visits, bounce rate, average pages per visit and custom events set up to continually optimize site specific solutions. But you may not have thought of leveraging the troves of data your current analytics platform provides to help influence design decisions for the new site. Even if your new website will look drastically different from the former, it can be important to use the data you’re collecting to help guide future design decisions. Here are 5 website analyses that will help in the redesign of your website.
1. Home-Page Analysis:
There are many ways to analyze a home-page, but one great way to visually understand the impact of user navigation is to create a heat-map that shows where visitors are clicking the most. Often you’ll notice that people tend to click on areas “above the fold”, but you may be surprised by what people click on after scrolling down the page. Knowing where your visitors go and don’t go on the homepage will help you decide how to organize that prime real estate in the future. You can also learn where it might be best to feature a callout for a new product or campaign that you are running. If there are any lingering questions after you decide on the homepage layout, set up A/B testing and monitor the results.
2. Page Content Analysis:
Once you have the homepage navigation set, a great next step is a general site content inventory. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many professionals cannot identify their best and worst content by page. By seeing what are the most important sections or pages of your website, a company can prioritize the content that generates the most attention and enhance those that aren’t as frequently visited. A deep dive into your site pages and features can potentially lead to a new navigation screen or a remodeled site hierarchy and structure.
3. Exit Page Analysis:
Just as it is important to know where your visitors arrive, it is equally important to know where they leave. Exit Page Analysis can help with your website redesign by identifying areas where you need to better guide your visitors to the next page. Where do people drop off the most and how can you dissuade them from departing? Perhaps the analysis tells you there are too many steps in an e-commerce site, which leads to abandoned shopping carts. If you have a content site, maybe you can improve it by creating suggested articles. Those pages may need a stronger call-to-actions or potential next steps at the bottom of an article. It isn’t unusual for your most important pages (those right before a user signs up or buys something) to have the highest exit rates, so identifying this is key to an optimized user experience.
4. Traffic Analysis:
It is also extremely valuable to know what type of traffic is coming to your website. A new user who visits from search can have a drastically different objective compared to a user that comes to your site every morning while at work. Understanding how these distinct segments groups navigate the site can give you deep insight into how you can redesign your site to be more first-time friendly, but also how to provide “sticky” features to keep users coming back. By segmenting the Acquisition Type (search, direct, referral, campaigns, etc.), you can identify site content that keeps people engaged with your site longest and make sure to feature this prominently. You could even take it a step farther and dynamically change your site for different user flows to fully capitalize on different visitors’ objectives.
5. Mobile vs. Desktop Analysis:
Finally, one of the most important things to remember when redesigning a site is not only the channel from which a user comes but also the devices they are using when navigating your website. According to a recent study released by comScore, mobile devices (including smartphones and tablet) account for 60% of U.S. digital media time spent. That means at the very least, your site must have a responsive design that renders appropriately for any screen or device size. However, when conducting a device analysis, you may find that it makes sense to adopt the increasingly popular mobile-first design, or even create an app to give users the best overall experience, no matter what device they come from.
With the plethora of web metrics available today, it can often be an overwhelming task to begin looking underneath the hood of your website when you want to make significant changes. However, in today’s environment, websites are a critical tool for driving customer engagement, conversion and retention and must not be neglected. By combining useful and pertinent analyses with the latest usability trends, companies can use web analytics solutions to know what their customers are looking for and how to meet and exceed their needs. By evaluating what part of the website your users are looking at, how they are getting there, and why they are coming back, you will have a better, more informed plan when creating the plans for your next website redesign.
Have any other tests or analyses you think are important when evaluating a reconstruction of a website? Let us know in the comments section below!
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