In the previous part of this blog, I promised to answer these questions:

  • Why should I give a flying monkey’s about my visitors screen resolution?
  • How can I stalk my users at the exact moment they are on my site and not be arrested?
  • Why is everyone leaving my site on the same page, when they’re all over my other pages like a tramp on chips?
So young grasshopper, let us begin, along the path to Analytical enlightenment.

Why should I give a flying monkey’s about my visitors screen resolution?

In Analytics, click on Audience> Technology> Browser & OS. Then click on ‘Screen Resolution’.

You will then be shown a list of the screen resolutions your visitors are using. So why is this helpful? Imagine you have a big fat banner at the top of your site. On a huge screen, this wont be a problem, but for someone on a smaller monitor, the banner may be all they see before they scroll down. To use the Elevate Local website as an example (and to go to massive extremes), which of these is more engaging?

 

This one (Tiny weeny screen)

 

Or this one (huge amazing screen)

 

Remember, if this is the first time this user has visited your site, this is their first impression. The first time you meet a person, do you want to see only their forehead? A bit of elbow? Maybe a toe? No, you want to see all of them, and your website is no different. Check the screen resolution stats in Analytics and take into account what your users see. Make banners smaller/move content as necessary to best showcase your site as soon as users land on it.

 

How can I stalk my users at the exact moment they are on my site and not be arrested? (Available to admin users only so sort your access levels out, otherwise no stalking for you.)

Humans are curious creatures. We like knowing what’s going on. This is the reason for rubber-necking on the M25, thus causing a huge tailback. Curiosity is the catalyst that spawns 90% of YouTube content – ” I wonder if I can eat 70 marshmallows in a minute and film it?’ and other such groundbreaking experiments.

Google have finally given us a useful outlet for this curiosity and it comes in the form of Real-Time Analytics reporting.

In Analytics click Home and then ‘Real-Time (beta)’ on the left hand side, then ‘Overview’.

You will see a screen that looks like this:

 

From this screen, you can see how many visitors are on your site at that exact moment. You can see the page views per minute and there is also a list of top active pages which glow red or green depending on whether a user has entered or exited them. Below this, you have ‘Top Keywords’ and also this (which I am obsessed with):

 

This is a geographical overlay of the users that are on your site at that very second. When this was first released, I was the sad geek in the corner piping up a location every so often. “We’ve got a visitor in Glasgow now. Ooh, one in Brighton…And Slough”

This page also shows you the top keywords for the users on your site. I have heard many times that companies have screens in their offices showing Real-Time Analytics constantly so when employees publish press releases, or utilise social media, they can see the immediate impact this has on their website and user interaction.

Let the stalking commence!

 

Why is everyone leaving my site on the same page, when they’re all over my other pages like a tramp on chips?

In Analytics (under the ‘Standard Reporting’ tab) click on Content> Site Content> Exit Pages.

This table will then show you the pages on your site that users leave from. When it comes to exit pages, we can allow the ‘Contact Us’ exits, as these users may have looked all around your site and then placed an enquiry. There is then no reason for them to stay on your site. Alternatively, users may have checked this page to find where your company is located, only to find that you are a florist in Plymouth and they are a Bride-to-be in Hull – You are too far away so they leave. We can let this one go as well, as you can’t control where you are based (unless you have failed to advertise that you deliver UK wide etc in which case, get on it!).

Apart from the ‘Contact Us’ pages, have a look at the pages that users are leaving on. Are there any problems with this page? Is this the page your (very high) prices are on? Try to work out why users are leaving on these pages and see what you can do to to improve them accordingly. Change it, monitor it, refine it. Google have a host of case studies for small tweaks making huge changes – At a seminar I attended a few years ago, we learnt of one of Google’s clients changing the colour of their call to action button which then resulted in something like a 400% increase in conversions.

Make it obvious to users what you want them to do with clear calls-to-action. Use anchor text to help users find their way to other pages on the site. A/B test and monitor the results – it’s mostly trial and error with these things but it is very worth it.

I know with site changes, some website owners are reluctant to invest in the work if the juice isn’t worth the squeeze but if you completely nail the perfect site, you’ll get a hell of a lot of juice for just a few little squeezes.

 

As always, YOU CAN’T BREAK ANALYTICS. It’s not made of flowers and magic, it’s just code. Don’t be afraid to have a look around, be nosey and if you have any questions or want to know what anything is, I’m on Twitter (@BenGarrity) – Tweet me or send me a message (with your email address if you want a reply that’s over 140 characters and includes vowels and punctuation) and I’ll see what I can do.

Next time I’ll be writing about goals, events and funnels – all the ways to track the metrics which for a lot of businesses are by far the most important numbers Analytics can provide.

In the meantime happy stalking (but only through Analytics, no hiding out in people’s gardens and keeping locks of hair thank you).