For most website owners, figuring out how to measure the effectiveness of their design seems more the realm of a qualitative study. They think they’ll need to form a focus group or a sit-down with users and ask them what works and what doesn’t. It sounds like such a tedious process, right? But thankfully, there are quantitative ways to determine whether your website design is bringing in the numbers that you want.
Here we’ll discuss tools and techniques to gather data which tells you what your design problems are and how you can solve it.
The Visitor Engagement Journey
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of web analytics, you should first understand the funnel a visitor goes through when they visit your website. At any given time, your visitors will be in these stages:
- Caught their attention
- Piqued interest
- Desire to learn more
- Taking action
- Satisfied visitor
Think of this as a journey they will ideally go through when they get on your page. At each stage, the visitor will have different expectations. For instance, a visitor might want to know more about the products or services you offer after exploring your page. There is ‘desire to learn more’, but the expectation is to find out what they can get from you either right at that moment or in the future.
And it’s your design that leads them to each stage until you’ve met all their expectations.
Use headers to get their attention. The copy must immediately tell them what your brand is all about, then supplement that with a concise paragraph of what they can expect. Make sure that it doesn’t look cluttered or busy because if they get overwhelmed, they’ll opt out of the page.
Choice of color scheme and layout is also important. Tell your web designer to limit your colour choices to, at most, just three combinations that work. Don’t be scared of whitespace because it actually helps rest the eyes. As for the layout, people read in an ‘F’ formation, so make sure your homepage accommodates this behaviour.
You can check whether your design choices are effective by looking at the number of bounce rates that you have. See how long visitors stay on your page; if it’s less than 10 seconds, then you have a problem.
Keeping them interested
Now that you’ve convinced them to stay, they will want to read your content. Because your layout is simple, it’s going to be easy to scan your content.
Now, there’s no need to shorten all your articles just because average reading time is only about 300 words. What you can do is diversify your content by creating both short form and long form content. Make it blatant on the title or at the start of the article that it’s going to be long just in case the visitor isn’t up for it.
You can measure how much time is spent on your article pages as well as the interactions in the page like commenting or sharing. Use Google Analytics’ event tracker to get more details like scrolls, clicks, or any other kind of interaction.
Make sure your call-to-actions like buttons or links can be seen easily. What you don’t want is for a visitor to finally sign up or make a purchase, but they can’t do so because your CTAs aren’t accessible.
A simple A/B testing will tell you CTA designs that encourage clicks like the text, the button colour, and the button placement. You can measure how many clicks you’re getting and then compare which design combinations work.
Visitor satisfaction is measured through the number of conversions you have, whether it’s purchases or the number of shares on an article. You can also set up a way for them to review your website and let your tool compute how many good ratings you’re getting.
Remember that testing your design choices before your final launch will give you the right data to see what works. So go on and conduct tests and publish both an effective and good looking website.