The reading level for this article is Novice

If you’re just getting started with ClickTracks, you’ll find it’s a very versatile tool. It presents information by overlaying it on your actual Web pages. It also allows you to create reports “on the fly” so that you can look at your visitors’ behaviour on your site in very different and detailed ways.

But if analyzing Web metrics is new to you, the charts, figures and mass of potential data can still be quite overwhelming. It’s helpful to have some starting points and questions in mind as you study the reports so that you can find the most useful information.

This article offers some ideas and examples to spark your thinking:

Navigation Report

This report shows you (among other things) how many visitors clicked on each link, and how long they spent on this page.

If you have links that receive few or no clicks:

  • Is the link image or the link text too small?
  • Is it in a colour that doesn’t show up well or could pose problems for visitors with visual impairments?
  • Is it badly placed or hard to find on the page?
  • Is it too far down? – check the time spent on the page to get an idea of whether visitors are reading most or all of the content. Remember that the first screenful of the page has the best chance of being seen.

    If none of the above seem true:

  • Is the link text confusing – perhaps the wording is different or not included on other pages?
  • Is the link not attractive or engaging to your visitors?
  • Or, is the content behind the link simply not of interest?

Links that receive many clicks:

  • Should the content behind this link be highlighted even more on your site, since it is clearly of interest?

    Placements to think about:

  • If you have an internal search engine on your site, is it linked in a prominent place on each page?
  • Featured products or other items – can you increase the clicks that they receive by improving their position?

Time spent on the page:

  • Does the average time on this page seem too short, especially if the page is long? – check the number of visitors who are exiting the site from this page.
    If a lot of people are spending a short time on a page and leaving, consider splitting the content across more pages:
  • This can be especially helpful, e.g. when displaying a list of items for purchase – showing each on a separate page allows you to track which offerings are the most interesting to visitors, and to highlight them better
  • Shortening pages also reduces the risk that visitors will miss items further down if they choose not to scroll

Search Report
This report shows the keywords and phrases that brought visitors to your site, broken down by individual search engines.

Which keywords or key phrases are most effective for you:

  • Which search words or phrases draw the most traffic?
  • Which search words or phrases result in the most time spent on your site?
    These are the visitors who are most engaged in your content, but what were they looking for when they came to you?
  • Are there any surprises?
    Sometimes search engines pick up keywords from your site copy that you may not have thought of as significant – these can be valuable information about how your visitors describe or think about what you offer. A lot of demand for something on your site can give you ideas for enhancing or expanding your products and services.

Which search engines are the most effective?

  • If your site is optimized for one search engine in particular, is that engine bringing you traffic?
    If you’re paying for search engine optimization (other than pay per click), is your service providing a justifiable return on investment?
  • If you have very effective keywords on one search engine, can you improve their position on others?

Do you recognize your non search engine referrers?

  • How are you linked to?
    Are the references to you legitimate? Are there sites that link to you that you’re not comfortable with – either because they’re not describing your site offerings correctly, or perhaps you simply don’t want to be associated with them!
  • Should you thank the referrer?
    Often, sites will link to you without letting you know. If you appreciate them for doing this, you can create an even stronger – and potentially more profitable relationship.

For help in creating specific ClickTracks reports, see Part 2: Labeling Options. For help in using ClickTracks to evaluate your “must-see” pages, see Part 3 of this series.

© Philippa Gamse. All rights reserved.

This Web Marketing article was written by Philippa Gamse on 2/28/2005