Archive for the ‘web traffic’ Category

A few days ago, I wrote about how I’ve noticed that a large number of people are clicking on our home page. The tool I used to discover this was crazyegg. If you’re looking for a tool that shows a heatmap of where people are going on a web page, this is an excellent tool. The home page I was looking at also used Google Analytics which shows the same statistics using the site overlay feature. The problem with Google Analytics is that you can’t easily see the small details. crazyegg excels at showing these details especially when you use their confetti overlay. This option places a small dot on each section of your web page where a visitor clicked. Using this option it became very obvious where the click activity was.

crazyegg can be used for free. They give 5000 visits per month which is good for analyzing one or two pages depending on your site traffic. I’ve found that you need to get somewhere in the 500 to 1000 click range to get some real meaningful data when looking at the heatmap and confetti overlays. crazyegg also tracks clicks for outbound links which Google Analytics can’t do right now. This makes it a nice complimentary analytics tool if you’re only using Google right now.

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One of the toughest challenges for any corporate web site is getting people to come back. I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately and here are some of my thoughts.

People come back because:

1. They trust you, your opinion, your expertise, and commitment to your products/services. On the web, this is accomplished through the content on your site, the tone in which it is written, and the overall presentation (the look) of your site. If you fail at any one of these, chances are, you’ll have to do the other ones incredibly well or the person will not return. Your site must look credible, provide excellent information on your products and services, and talk to your visitors in the same tone you would talk to your friends (no run-on paragraphs filled with buzz words).

2. You consistently provide new information, thoughts, opinions, and answers to questions on a topic of interest to them. This can be done through blogs, wikis, or general content updates. Help the person do their job better or make their life easier and you’ll have an evangelist for life. Focus on how your web site can help them rather than how it can help you.

3. They have more questions about your company/product/service. Make it simple for repeat visitors to find information such FAQ’s, pricing, forums, support, etc. The first visit is generally to see if you can help them solve a problem. The follow-up visits are to convince themselves you’re the right fit for solving the problem.

4. They heard news/info on your company and they want to read your company’s opinion and information on this news. Don’t let the outside world do all the talking. Join the conversation. If you’ve just acquired a company, explain why you’ve done so. If news or rumors are swirling about one of your products, give open and honest information. It builds trust (see point #1) and it ensures people will come to you to hear the truth.

5. They want to participate in your community. Build forums, discussions, wikis, and other open participation communication tools into your site. Turn your best customers, your enthusiasts, into evangelists and people will consistently come back to learn from them.

There are going to be many other reasons as well. The bottom line is to think about your site from your audience point of view. Think about the questions they’ll be asking and how you can best answer them. Also, interview people and conduct usability testing. Unless you get out of your company’s “echo chamber” you won’t be able to come up with all of these answers on your own.

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I’ve been working on a graphic that helps me to visualize how traffic flows to a web site. I’ve used the software industry as the basis for this but it could easily be translated to any industry. I’m posting this in hopes of getting some feedback as I’m sure I’m missing some things and would love to hear people’s opinions.

Web Traffic Overview

I’ve found that looking at this diagram has helped me think about how each audience would get to a web site and the types of questions they’d be asking. I’m also working on a series of diagrams that breaks each audience segment into a work flow outlining the questions they’d be asking what information they’d be looking for. I’ll post these at a later time once they’re completed.

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