You may have a great website but if you don’t have a great call to action, people may just look at your cool site and move on. If you read my last post, perhaps you have created a solid call to action. But how will you know if it is working? For that, we are going to look at website analytics.
As I shared in my last post, you should test and evaluate your call to action by looking at your site analytics. Site analytics are simply the statistics regarding who visits your site and what they do once they are there.
This post will not be an in-depth review of website analytics. There is plenty of great content online that will teach you everything you need to know to use analytics to improve engagement on your website. I want to offer a basic intro just to get you started and I want to stay focused on that call to action.
The first thing you will need for this analysis is the name of the page you are asking people to visit. In other words, what do you want them to click on and where does that link lead? Write down the name of that page or at least keep it in mind.
Viewing the Website Analytics
There are two main ways to look at the analytics for your site. One is the built-in statistics available from your website provider. If your website is on Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress.com or most of the other major providers, you have access to quite a bit of information about your website’s visitors. If you want more detailed information, it is available for free through Google Analytics. While Google Analytics offers much more detailed information, it also has a steeper learning curve. Good news though, there are plenty of free guides to using the service.
Squarespace Website Analytics
But let’s start with the basic website analytics that may be included as a part of your website platform. As an example, I am going to look at Squarespace. If you use another platform, you will likely see some similar features.
Squarespace has a basic set of website analytics tools built in. They are a good place to start. However, once you begin to see how important this data is and how easy it is to use, you will likely want to dig deeper using a different tool. But, let’s take a look.
Just click on the “Analytics” option in the control panel.
You will see an overview of your traffic. That is interesting but it doesn’t tell you much about how people are responding to your call to action. So, click on popular content.
Now you can see a breakdown of the pages people are visiting.
Now, just look down that list of pages until you find how many people have visited that page you wanted them to check out. The top listing in this example is the home page where all visitors start unless they clicked on a direct link to another page on the site. It will usually be your most visited page. If your call to action is working, it should be near the top of the list. If it isn’t, you may have work to do. In the event you just added it, you may need to give it some time. Notice that if you click in the upper right corner, you can change the time frame of your analytics.
Google Website Analytics
Now, that is some helpful information but once you look at, you are likely going to want to know more. So let’s take a peek at Google Analytics.
You will need to do a little work upfront to get started with Google Analytics. If you need help, here are some free resources:
Taking a Look
Once you get everything set up, it will take a while for Google to start tracking and populating your data. If your account and site are already set up, you can start digging in.
When I bring up the Google Analytics page for the same website I looked at in Squarespace above, here is what I see.
There is a lot of information there and that is only the landing page. We aren’t going to look at much of it. Remember, our mission is just to see how our call to action is working. For this exercise, I want to expand the “behavior” tab and click on “behavior flow.”
This will open up one of my favorite pages in Google Analytics.
Don’t be overwhelmed. This is a powerful page but you don’t have to explore it all at once. Let me point out some useful data it shows. The first column, by default, shows what page on my site people are starting out on. That top box of 1.2K shows that most of my traffic is starting on my default homepage, the one the see when they visit http://www.riotexas.org. However, if you look below, you will see that there is a lot of traffic starting out on other pages within my site. That is an important thing to consider for a call to action. If my call to action only appears on my homepage, many visitors may never see it.
For now, you can treat the first two columns as the same thing. There is a difference but it is beyond the scope of what we are looking at today. Column three tells us what people are doing next. After they land on the home page, or on whatever page they started on, column 3 shows us their next step. I am going to highlight the traffic that comes through the site’s homepage to make things easier to see.
You may notice a red mark at the bottom of the green box in the upper left. Those represent users that left the site after visiting the home page. The grey bars and lines on the right represent where visitors are going after landing on the homepage.
Click Throughs to Your Call to Action
Unfortunately, this site does not have a call to action. But you can still see how this would work. Let’s pretend that the page titled “/2018-appointments/” represented that page my call to action led to. If I had a button or link on my home page that said, “Go here!” and the link led to that page, I could see here how effective that link is. If I hover over that segment of traffic, I get more details.
19% of the traffic that lands on my site’s homepage is clicking through to “/2018-appointments/.” If that were actually my call to action, I would consider my call to action to be fairly effective.
As I said, this is just a basic introduction. You can learn a lot about your website, your visitors, and the effectiveness of your call to action by going even deeper into Google Analytics. Since this is a free platform, it can really be worth your time.
Adjust and Repeat
Once you begin understanding how people are using your site, it is time to consider making some changes. If people aren’t clicking on your call to action, consider why. Could it be the placement on the homepage? Maybe the font needs to be bigger or the color different? Perhaps the text itself isn’t compelling. Or, maybe you aren’t drawing the right people to your site. Try making some changes. Give it a while and take a fresh look at the data.