Are you keeping track of the traffic that visits your website? How about what users do once they arrive? Then what about how long they stay on your site, and how long they stay on each page? No? If you’re not, then you may not be making the most of your web design. Your website’s design is meant to lead to specific actions based upon your business’s needs, whether it’s selling products or services, educating readers, collecting donations, or something else. So if you’re not keeping track of the things mentioned above, then it’s possible the web design isn’t fulfilling the desired actions. This is where Google Analytics comes in.
What Is Google Analytics?
Medium does a great job of explaining the ins-and-outs of Google Analytics in their video series, “Google Analytics Fundamental”. But if you’d rather watch their series later, I’ll briefly explain what Google Analytics is. As you can probably guess from the name, Google Analytics is a tool that analyzes your web presence, specifically the traffic your website generates, and associated numbers.
Think of your website as your central “hub” in the digital world. When potential customers look at your social media and want to know more, they turn to your website. Therefore keeping track of your website traffic can tell you how well your marketing campaigns are going, based on how many people visit (or don’t visit…) after your campaign begins.
Additionally, Analytics can track different facets of your website such as:
- Traffic to each landing page
- How long users stay on each page
- How long before they bounce (leave your website)
- What users do on each page (click buttons, watch videos, etc.)
Google Analytics does a lot more, of course, but hopefully you understand the basics, from this brief explanation.
How Does It Affect Web Design?
Analytics doesn’t particularly affect web design on its own. What it can do is help web designers become more informed and change the current design to reflect all that they’ve learned from Analytics. So what are some of the many ways that web design can be altered because of Google Analytics results? Let’s just talk about some of the various ways Analytics can be used to help your website complete its desired outcomes.
Firstly, if Analytics shows a lot of traffic comes to your website, but doesn’t spend much time there, users don’t visit other pages, and don’t perform any actions such as clicking buttons, then it’s time to take a look at your home page. When you’re attracting a lot of leads, but they don’t make it beyond the first page of your website, that means something here made them lose interest. Try adjusting the design, and see if traffic stays longer.
Also, let’s say that users tend to spend a lot of time on one of your landing pages, but virtually no time at all on others. This may be an indication that this page needs to be given preference in the design, such as making it easier to find or placing it in a prominent position. You can also use features of this page on other pages, to make them more user friendly.
Another key point is that Google Analytics can help you determine whether your call-to-action is compelling enough to get that sale or donation. By keeping track of certain actions that users take, it’s simple to determine how many people see that “Purchase” or “Give” button and don’t click it. Maybe your design needs to be more compelling.
Should You Use It For Your Web Design?
While your first concern about using Google Analytics may be whether you can afford such an advanced program, there’s no need to worry because it’s free!
Now that that concern is out of the way, you have to consider what goals your specific website is hoping to achieve. If you need specific features to accomplish your business’s goals, they may not always be compatible with Analytics.
Whelan Web design points out three aspects of web design that can “harm your Google Analytics”: outbound links, pop-ups, and animations/features. If your website needs any of these features read here to see why Analytics may not work for you.
So, would Analytics complement your website’s design?