The secret to success in any kind of marketing – including digital marketing – is to treat it as a science. Everything can be measured and by measuring, you can figure out exactly what your audience is responding to. You can continue to improve your website’s performance by giving your audience more of what they like.
How to Improve Visitor Engagement
The point of all this is to improve visitor engagement—getting their attention, keep them on the site, and getting them to take the actions you want them to take, and coming back later.
There are several free analytics tools on the web and it’s a good idea to get familiar with a few of them. Don’t rely on just one tool because you’ll get a one-dimensional look at your web traffic. In addition to analysing your own site’s traffic, it’s also a good idea to study your competition’s traffic. It’s important to learn what’s working for your competition too.
The most popular and well-known analytics tool is the free Google analytics tool. To use it, all you have to do is sign up for an account and provide your website address. Here you can see a screen-shot of Google Analytics’ audience overview page. It will provide you with historical data showing visitor data such as total number of visits, unique visitors, length of time spent on your site and more.
Visitor Demographics Tools
You can drill down for specific information such as visitor demographics, their interests, geographical location, age-range and gender. This can help you create targeted content and ad campaigns. You can monitor upticks in traffic in response to new content and ads that you are running.
As you can see here, the reporting tool shows where visitors came from, which pages they looked at, and from what pages they left.
In addition to analytics tools, Google offers another free tool –the Google Website Optimizer. This tool allows you to rotate content on your site to find out what will generate the most clicks and engagement.
The process of testing content such as headlines, images, and text is known as A/B or split-testing. The beauty of split-testing is that you can pinpoint your visitor’s behaviour and learn scientifically what works, rather than guessing. Another excellent tool for A/B testing is Optimizely, which features a visual interface for creating experimental pages to test.
Once you are used to Google’s analytics tools, you can branch out and start using some other tools. Yahoo also offers a free analytics tool. Another tool that I love is Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg is a low-cost tool that creates heat maps of your site. What this means is you get a visual map that shows exactly where your visitors are clicking and engaging with your site. This can really help you improve your site’s usability.
Crazy Egg also offers scroll maps, which help you see visitors movements on your site and confetti maps which display user’s clicks.
Besides tracking your own website’s performance, you should be keeping tabs on your competition. This will give you a more complete picture of your target audience. Here are some free tools that will help you size up your competitors.
To check out the activity of visitors on your competition’s sites and how much traffic they are getting, take a look at Alexa.com and Compete.com. In addition to general traffic statistics, you’ll be able to see some basic demographics information such as age range, gender, geography and education.
Magestic SEO and Open Site Explorer are free tools that display a website’s “link popularity.” In other words, you can see how many backlinks your competition has. If you are facing serious backlink competition, focus on more long-tail keywords rather than generic keywords and keyword phrases.
To learn about your competition’s search engine performance, check out Searchmetrics Essentials, ahrefs.com and ispionage.com. These tools can show you how high their pages are ranking and what keywords are performing best on your competitor’s websites.
You can take that information to carve a niche out for yourself by ranking for similar keywords. Or you can create better content and pages and start to outrank your competition.
Hubspot offers a Marketing Grader tool which gives a ‘marketing grade’ to websites based on various metrics including mobile site, social media shares and search optimization. You can compare your site’s grade with your competitions and see where there might be room for improvement.
You can measure social media engagement with Simply Measured. It will provide a free report on the YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook accounts of competitors in exchange for a tweet on their behalf.
Just to recap, you can use many free or low-cost tools such as Google Analytics and Crazy Egg to evaluate your audience’s response and engagement with your site in order to find out what your audience is responding to so you can offer visitors more of what they like.
There are also great free tools and resources for checking out your competition such as Alexa.com, Majestic SEO and Search metrics Essentials.
You can use these tools to test and refine your pages until you’ve maximised user engagement and conversions.
See you soon,