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Optimizing By Visualizing with In-Page Analytics

Optimizing By Visualizing with In-Page Analytics

By Pat Flynn on

Note from Pat, March 2016: The content in this post is still relevant, although since then Google Analytics has updated their interface. You can find the in-page analytics under BEHAVIOR on the left hand column, not the “Content” header, which no longer exists.

When I was going over my traffic stats the other day in Google Analytics, I discovered something totally awesome: In-Page Analytics.

In-Page Analytics is a brand new tool within Google Analytics that was introduced just last month and it’s rockin’ my world. Basically, “you can see your Google Analytics data superimposed on your website as you browse.”

This makes life so much easier for people like me who are almost obsessed with numbers and creating design that influences action. No longer do I have to go back and forth between numerical reports and my site to see exactly what people are clicking on.

Here is a screenshot so you can see exactly what it looks like. You may need to click on the image to see it full-size (opens a new window):

In Page AnalyticsAs you can see, a little bubble shows up next to each link on your page with a percentage inside, which tells us how many of our visitors are clicking on that link. (Note that this tool shows us data for clicks to other pages on our own site. Not outbound links.)

If you have an e-commerce site or a site that sells a number of different info products, this kind of information is pure gold. You’d be able to tell which products people are clicking on more than others, where exactly people are navigating to when they don’t click on that “buy now” button, and also what categories are performing better too.

For us bloggers, this kind of information is valuable too because we can see exactly what people are interested in, where they are going and possibly learn how we can either design our sites to better guide them to where we want our traffic to go, or after learning where our traffic goes optimizing those pages when they land on them.

Based on the screenshot above, I can determine the following things:

  • As most of you know, a majority of the user activity on a website happens “above the fold”, or in the area immediately shown on a page without having to scroll down to see. This screenshot confirms that, since only about 11% of the clicks are below the fold. If you’re not doing so already, make sure you have all of your top action items near the top of your page. I can definitely do a better job by making the name and email fields for my eBook guide/newsletter show up above the fold.
  • I designed my homepage with the intention of the latest post being in a “featured post” area at the top where it would attract the most attention. The numbers here do not reflect that at all because more people are clicking on the post below instead. This needs to be reworked, and in fact this is something a number of fellow bloggers told me before, and the numbers here confirm that.
  • I can see that in my navigation menu at the top, most people are clicking on Income Reports and Resources. This means that I should definitely spend time optimizing those pages for all of the traffic that is funneling to them. The resource page is especially important because that page alone actually generates a couple thousands dollars a month for me every single month, totally passive income. I could reorder the menu (have the most important ones on the left hand side of the page) and see if that increases my click-through rates.

While navigating through my site in the in-page analytics tool, I can actually see data for each of the pages that I click through to. So for example, after clicking on Income Reports on my homepage, I am taken to my Income Reports page and then am shown this data (from Oct. 15 to Nov.15):

From here, I can tell how many people have come to this page, how long they spend on it, how many people get to this page and immediately leave (bounce rate), etc. This is the same stuff you find on any normal Google Analytics report, but to see it as you’re navigating through your own page is awesome. Plus, you get to see cool data like this about what people are clicking on:

Yes, that’s 36% on the top link. Also, you’ll see a spike in July of 2009, which is when my income went from $26k down to $9k, so obviously people are wondering what happened (which I do explain in that post).

I could go on and on with this and some of the cool things I figured out about my own site and navigation that I now need to tweak, but I encourage you to instead check it out for yourself. If you have Google Analytics setup on your site already, it should be good to go and you can find the link to In-Page Analytics under the content area on the left hand side of the control panel:

in-page-control-panelIf you don’t have Google Analytics setup, you can simply go to the Google Analytics homepage and follow the instructions there to sign up and get started. It will only take a day of data before you can begin to see some of these metrics.

Enjoy the tool if you haven’t already, and have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers!

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