How to find out how visitors move through your website

How to find out how visitors move through your websiteAnd why finding out could help drive more sales or leads

What do you want your website to achieve? Most website owners when asked this would say something along the lines of getting more sales or leads, or maybe downloads of a key document or page.

All three of these ambitions make sense but none of them will happen by accident and simply driving more and more visitors onto the site won’t necessarily increase the key outputs you’re looking for.

A visitors initial intention may not be to buy or enquire

The fact is when someone hits your website their initial intention is more than likely not to buy something or get in touch with you. However it is the job of the web pages on the site, a download or other incentives to help convince them to take things further.

Every website is different, but on average people visit around four pages during their stay on your site and how they move through the site will obviously have considerable bearing on where they end up (ideally the products or services area of the site, where they have more chance of buying something).

Need to find out which pages they currently visit

The problem is you know where you’d like them to go but you probably have no idea which pages they currently visit, and until you find this out its going to be very difficult to start steering them in the right direction.

However this information is very easy to find out as long as you have the popular Google Analytics program installed. I’m going to outline below a simple step by step process to learn it.

Using Google Analytics to learn how visitors move through your website

First open your website in Google Analytics. From the links down the left side click ‘Audience’ then click on ‘Users Flow’. You’ll then see a series of coloured boxes with joining pipes linking the boxes.

I believe the Users Flow report is one of the more user friendly of all the Analytics reports because it employs graphics extensively, rather than data and figures, making it much easier to understand. The basic aim of the report is to show you in graphical form the paths users take through the site. It starts with the Audience in the first column and then shows you the connections from there with a ‘Starting Page’ then ‘1st Interaction’, ‘2nd Interaction’ and so on.

Setting up the Users Flow report

The Users Flow report can be confusing to set up because you have so many choices from the Audience dropdown button. Obviously you can choose any of these and it is useful to see say visitors who come from different countries around the world or visitors from mobile over non mobile and which pages they end up on, but I find a good starting point is to open the dropdown and click ‘Acquisition’ then ‘Source’ (referers).

I’ve found this is the most useful setting, as it show you visitors from each source as they move through the site and you can directly compare each of the different sources such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and so on, with the how productive each source is as they move through the site.

Best thing is to try out the Users Flow report for yourself and see how you get on. Let us know in the comments below how you found it.

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