If you are in marketing, management, or are a novice web developer, take 3 minutes to read about Visitor Flow, Surprises, and Security.

Visitor Usage and Flow

A clear view of your visitor analytics makes it much easier to understand how people are interacting with your site. Generally the home page and main product / services pages receive the most attention, but how are visitors navigating to and from them? Analytics can show you!

The next step after checking out your most popular pages is to identify the common "flows", or how people move through your site's various pages. A typical flow example:

  • Visitor finds your site via a search engine or link, which takes them to a landing / home / overview page.
  • If their first impression matches what they are looking for (more on this later), generally the second step is on to more detailed product / service pages.
  • Yay, the product / service is appealing! Often, people will then want to know more about the company, their reputation etc. About us and Contact pages indicate serious interest.
  • Action - Initiating contact or making a purchase are common end goals for a website interaction. Your shopping cart and purchasing pages should now be seeing activity.

Intent vs Reality: Folks may not use your site the way you expect!


Things to look for:

  • If few sessions start on your landing pages, then the funnels or ads leading to them are not effective (or may be broken, double check the destination link).
  • High bounce rate on a particular page? More compelling content or a more inviting layout may be needed.
  • Frequently seeing a lot of quick page changes? Your navigation menu may be missing an important link - one to a page you previously considered to be secondary.

Surprises

Sometimes folks tend to get stuck on a certain step during a sign-up process. This could be due to a poorly-worded question, visual obstruction in the layout, or plain old broken code. I've seen animations cover up the input field you're supposed to be using, which is no fun at all. These sort of problems are more frequent on mobile platforms so check those thoroughly.

Is the above example something you would be aware of unless a kind soul takes the time to reach out and mention the issue? Key Takeaway: The ability to be proactive in finding potential problems saves time and frustration for everyone.


Split Views:

People see your website one way - search engines another. It is crucial to keep both "views" in mind. If search engines do not have the proper information to determine what your content is about, then you will rank poorly when potential customers are searching for what you offer. To increase traffic, a variety of things need to be properly configured.

Back to first impressions, many words have multiple meanings. Search engines do take this into consideration, but it is still possible to rank for a term that is not really what your content is about. Be as clear as possible with your copy, and provide plenty of context on your entry pages. This will reduce the number of confused visitors searching with the other meaning in mind.

Security

  • You see repeated requests for the default WordPress login page
  • ... But your site is not built on WordPress
  • What's the deal???
  • Uh oh, Bad guy alert!

Scanning and hacking attempts happen all the time. It's simply the norm now, but it doesn't have to be too scary. The above example is fairly harmless (other than tying up server resources). Most attackers will only try a few simple things before giving up and moving on.

Taking basic steps toward better security offers worthwhile ROI for any business! After all, your reputation is at stake, and websites are a very public platform. If you rely on your site for direct sales, then downtime from an incident means lost or delayed income.

Traffic logs will show some of the ways people or bots are trying to get in. Addressing the common attempt methods is a good start, and provides valuable insight. The idea is to avoid being an easy target; this is how you make the situation less scary.

Topic for a different article: For organizations handling sensitive data, more advanced protection will likely be appropriate. Larger companies are typically targeted with more serious effort. At this level you'll want dedicated staff or a vendor to comprehensively defend your infrastructure.


Let's Review

  • Understand how users navigate through your site - Find the flow.
  • Look for anomalies and find problems quickly - The ability to be proactive in finding potential problems saves time and frustration for everyone.
  • Keep one eye out for trouble - Reasonable security efforts offer a worthwhile ROI.
  • Feel empowered with your newfound knowledge!

People see your website one way - search engines another. It is crucial to keep both "views" in mind. If search engines do not have the proper information to determine what your content is about, then you will rank poorly when potential customers are searching for what you offer. To increase traffic, a variety of things need to be properly configured.





Learn more about general considerations regarding project planning.


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Clint Tepe

I have been in the Information Technology field since 2009. My journey started with web development for small businesses, and progressed to a focus on digital marketing and helping businesses find ways to operate more smoothly.