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Statistics - Improve your Website Design

EngNet Newsletter 3 of 6 : Statistics - Improve your Website Design

Interesting thing these statistics. The murky water of assumptions are made crystal clear through the analysing of statistics.

To assume that the first page a visitor will see of your website is your Homepage is a mistake. Why? Many search engines will direct users to the most relevant page within your website that matches the keywords they have used. Let's use 'ABC Valves' for example. If someone is searching for 'butterfly valves' the search engine will direct a user to the 'butterfly valves' page of the ABC valves website. Even though 'butterfly valves' may be a small part of the ABC Valve company's range, the user typed in 'butterfly valves' and the search engine presented them with the most specific result to that specific page. What this means is that many visitors to your website will never get to see your stunning homepage. They won't get to see the size of your product range or your expertise. They are presented with the 'butterfly valve' page and it is this one page that will provide your company's first impression to a prospective customer.

Another interesting statistic is that the average number of pages a user views on your website is only about 2 or 3 pages (I'm talking from a engineering products point of view). This statistic fascinates me. I have always assumed that if a user was interested in what you had to offer they would look at more pages. Over the past several months I have been analysing the statistics of a few websites on a daily basis, what I have been trying to find out is when we can identify a visitor that is interested in the company's products by the stats. I have been looking for signs such as what keywords the visitor used to find the website. Then how many pages they viewed, what pages they looked at etc. I was excited by the visitors who viewed several pages, but these never seemed to materialize into enquiries. It began to become more apparent that the visitors that viewed the most pages were probably competitors sizing up their competition. What I started realizing is that the visitors that were serious about buying, would typically search for the product, find it and make an enquiry straight away. The serious buyers typically only viewed a few pages, sometimes only one if the contact details were on that page. Granted everyone is different and some users will want to find out more background information on your company before entering into a relationship, so it is good to have this information.

Now that we know that on many instances a user arrives on a specific page and never sees the homepage, we have some questions we need to ask:

1. What pages are they seeing first? Any decent statistics program will have an 'Entry Pages' report, this report indicates what the first pages visitors are viewing and how many times they are viewed.

2. What pages are they seeing last? This report indicates what is the last page a visitor views, it helps in determining visitors behaviour.

3. What pages were navigated? This indicates the path visitors followed. You will be able to see on which pages the user entered the site and then which pages he viewed in succession. If you keep an eye on these stats, you will begin to see some patterns, therefore try different things on your website to channel them to where you want them to go. 

How do you improve your website design using the above stats?

1. Remove Frames:

Search Engines have a problem indexing framed websites. They will typically link to the content page, which is only one part of the frameset, so this could mean that a user arrives on a framed page with no navigation buttons. They can't go to any other page but the one the search engine pointed them to.

2. Navigation:

Now that we know that a visitor will very likely see a sub-page within the website, make sure that there are suitable navigation links to relevant pages within the entire website. These include contact details, company profile, related products and services.

3. Consistent Image:

Maintain a consistent image throughout the website, don't rely on your homepage to impress with fancy graphics or moving pictures.

4. Add a footer to each page:

Add a footer to each page with a one line description of the company e.g.  "ABC is a manufacturer of quality industrial valves" and include navigation links to the rest of the website.

5. K-I-S:

Keep it simple! Have a logical structure and navigation route so that the information flows and is consistent. If you don't have a statistics system go to

Next week we will discuss in further detail how to use your statistics toimprove sales from your website.


Kind Regards
Michael Cooney
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