Many people think that web design is pretty pictures and choosing the right colors and fonts to get a message across. Though this isn’t entirely wrong, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of the design process but simply an element of it. Using website analytics is crucial when designing your website. Websites are not just an online brochure or business card as they are often referred to. Rather, it is your 24-hour salesperson, and as such, should WORK for you instead of just sitting static. You pay your employees and you expect them to return on your investment, so you should expect the same from your website. So, to us, web design isn’t just how the website looks, it is how it works.
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
– Steve Jobs
We use a number of different metrics to decide the design path for a client’s website. We look at your brand and what it stands for. We look at your services and/or products and see what demographic we need to be targeting. But the best and most accurate source of data is your website analytics and good keyword research. Read more below to see how we get and use this data to help decide how to design your new website.
First off, if you aren’t using Google Analytics on your website right now, you are behind. Google analytics offers rich and endless data points from users visiting your website that you should be tracking. You can look at things like how many visitors you get to your website in a month, how they found your website, and what city they are viewing your website from.
Why is this important to know? Marketing. Simply put, marketing. If you understand your users better, you can market to them better.
Going deeper with its capabilities, you can set up event tracking with Google Tag Manager and see which buttons or forms are most interacted with on your website, and which aren’t. Or see how many calls are made from your website and from which page. Maybe you want to know what page your chat feature is most interacted with on. You can set up goals with analytics and get to see really quickly what is working and even assign value to each event to measure the success of a paid marketing campaign or SEO campaign.
With Google Search Console synced up with your analytics, you can track what keywords your website gets the most impressions with and which get the most click-through. These metrics will help you understand issues with low organic website traffic. For instance, if a search query gets a page on your website a lot of impressions but a low percentage of click-through, you may want to consider changing your meta title and description to entice the click better. Or maybe you find you have a page on your website ranking for a search query that it shouldn’t be altogether causing a low CTR or high bounce.
The point is that there is a ton that you can learn from your website analytics that can help you find frustration points, roadblocks, click loops, and so on in your current website. Let your users tell you what they want and then give it to them. Knowing where problems lie, you can create a better flow and experience for your user with your new website. This equates to higher conversion and a better return on the investment of your new website. With a higher level of engagement on your website, Google also sees it as a key indicator that your site is desired for its contents and thus is served higher for relevant search terms.
According to Wikipedia, keyword research is a practice SEO experts use to find and research alternative search terms that people enter into the search engines while looking for a similar subject. We use a number of tools to help us through this process to come up with relevant search terms for the products/services that you offer. After compiling an extensive list, we can look at things like search volume and searcher intent to help decide what pages need to be built.
Starting with the obvious, if you find some keywords that have high search volumes that are relevant to a service you offer, or a product you sell, or simply a topic that you cover in your sales process, you want to consider having an in-depth page covering that topic. This in-depth page could be an actual cornerstone page on your site (usually when the keyword pertains directly to your product or service) or a blog post (when a keyword is related to a question often asked during your sales process). Considering the user’s intent with a search term helps us decide what should be focused on a cornerstone page versus a blog or article on your website.
Keyword search volume isn’t the only thing you should be looking at when designing your new website and deciding what pages to add. You have to consider the searcher’s intent when they type (or speak) their query into Google. Is the query poised in a way that suggests the user is ready to buy or are they looking for more information? Thinking like this helps us determine if more pages need to be created to help build your website traffic after launching.
Now we don’t believe in creating pages just to have more pages on your website, in fact, we advocate for the opposite. But when the keyword volume suggests that a question is being asked enough, is relevant to your business, and something that you can write in-depth on, it should be on your website. Google and other search engines are looking for websites that can produce valuable information for their searchers. By providing the answers to these frequently searched questions, search engines see your website as more reliable on relevant matters and give you a higher trust and authority rating and thus rank your website higher.
Now that we have all of these new ideas, we need to organize them in a fashion that can produce a website flow that can get a user to convert into a customer. Every page on your website is a potential door into your business. Gear up each page to greet and guide the user appropriately.
The search queries that suggest a user is ready to purchase will be targeted on a cornerstone page on your website. These users should be able to convert into a customer right on the page they land on and should be a service or product page. Have all the information they are searching for on the page, intriguing content and imagery, and a clear call to action to get the lead/buy.
Search terms that feel more like the user is in the information gathering stage should still be articles or blog posts. Take the opportunity to show the user that you are the authority and expert on the matter they are searching about. Answer their questions as detailed as possible. The call to action will be a little different on these pages. Since these users might not be as far down the sales funnel, we don’t want to hard-sell them. Instead, offer them more information they might be interested in or a free consultation. You can use the sidebar of the article to introduce them to your business, your offerings, your 5-star customer service ratings, and so on. Even though these users weren’t ready to buy with their original search query, they might be once they are done reading your content. The point is to build trust with the user that you are the best and most knowledgeable about your industry and show them that you offer the thing they need so when they are ready to buy, you are on the top of their minds.
Here is a good example of how we used website analytics to help a client. This client was not only a new brand, but their product was a very new and innovative concept and not widely used in their industry yet. We found that their “[brand] reviews” was a pretty highly searched term. Before, all these searches were going to other aggregate websites where reviews were posted. The solution was to build out a stand-alone review page where we populated all of their reviews on one page. The difference in getting the user onto their website versus someone else’s is now we have a better chance of the user reaching out to the business and them getting a new lead.
As web designers, we use a number of tools to get your new website performing as well as your best sales staff. Our analytic software may be one of the most important in determining if a website is going to successfully return on your investment. Again, this isn’t the only thing to consider when designing a new website, but one of the main aspects that is constantly on our minds as we build out your new pages. The point is to set up the new website as best as possible to turn your website traffic into new customers and clients. The best way to do that is to find out what your customers want and deliver that to them in an elegant and simple to use fashion.