The goal? You’ll want to attract as many users to your website as possible and make sure their user experience is the best it can be.
In order to be able to do this, you have to know how your visitors are using your website at the moment. Understanding their behavior will help you improve your site’s UX and subsequently drive more traffic to it.
There are a number of facets to understanding your website users’ behavior, the most important of which are analytics, customer support and website performance testing. Once you have tapped the collective power of these three, you will have identified your website’s weak points, its best converting pages and plenty of potential for future improvements.
When we are talking analyzing a website users’ behavior, the most important thing to do is to utilize a number of analytics tools to discover exactly how your users interact with your website.
There is a variety of tools that are used for this purpose, starting with the ever-present Google Analytics which can provide plenty of information on the visits each page of your website is getting, where your visitors are coming from, how long are they staying on your website and when are they leaving it. Google Analytics has many more uses, but this is the part that we are most interested in.
There are plenty more tools that you can use which can provide you with additional info on how users interact with your website. Solutions such as KISSmetrics, Piwik, Woopra, Foxmetrics and Mixpanel all come with idiosyncratic approaches to analyzing the behavior of your users and you would do well to research them some more if you are interested in getting the whole picture.
It is important to point out that you might have to spend some money to get the full functionality of the aforementioned pieces of software.
You should also keep in mind that different types of websites will require different approaches. Understanding ecommerce analytics and optimizing an SaaS company website will be two entirely different things, for example.
Once you master your analytics, you will be able to discover trends and patterns in your users’ behavior and get an idea of user journeys on your website. You will find out which pages are underperforming, where you can make improvements and where you should divert your marketing efforts.
Customer support is the most traditional practice when it comes to finding out about your website’s UX. Companies have been relying on it for centuries to find out what their customers think about the product/service and the company in general and to provide a better experience to their customers.
When websites are concerned, this has only been made easier thanks to the different ways in which you can reach out to your users.
For example, you can email carefully assembled UX surveys to your users, asking them for help in making your website more user-friendly. You can also set up pop-up messages to appear when people try to log off your website. You can have a customer support team that will use chat to reach out to the users as they are coming to your website. Some companies have also been successfully using social media to provide customers support.
There is a whole science to how to entice people to provide you with insights and you should not be discouraged if your users seem disinterested at first. For example, you can “sweeten the invitation to comment” by giving out discounts to users who answer your questions.
While providing great customer support will not give you direct, visual insight into how exactly people are using your website, you will gather some very useful data. For example, you may learn that your product categories (if you run an online store) are confusing or that your blog posts are too short. This is the kind of information you do not get from analytics tools and, if you play your cards right, you will be able to make some truly impactful modifications to your website based on these insights.
Website Performance Testing
It is a well-known fact that the user experience depends greatly on how the website performs in terms of loading speed, errors, usability issues, hosting troubles, broken forms, blank pages, and so on. Users are becoming more and more demanding with each year and they are definitely less tolerant to websites that do not offer a streamlined and issues-free experience.
For someone who makes a living from their website, any website usability issues will lead to a drop in brand loyalty and lost revenue.
In addition to this, search engines are allergic to websites that do not perform well, which can severely hurt a website’s SEO and negatively impact its SERPs.
Running website tests from time to time is, therefore, a must for website owners, but if you really want to make sure your website’s UX is as good as it can possibly be, you will want to take advantage of a tool that will do continuous testing of your website, discovering any potential problems before your users get the chance.
If this sounds familiar, it is because Testomato is one such tool.
Analytics, customer support and website performance testing make a powerful combination which will provide endless insights into a website users’ behavior. This will, in turn, enable the website owner to make all the necessary improvements to bring their UX as close as possible to perfection.
**About the Author: Oscar Waterworth is a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.