One of my favorite quotes is from Adam Savage of the Mythbusters and Tested.com: "Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down." The same thing can be said about website design.
You just finished a brand new web page that is going to perform great and get you awesome leads!
Or is it?
How do you know if a web page is performing? How do you know if your design is easy to understand, or that it is reaching the right persona audience?
Inbound marketing websites need to be monitored on a regular basis to make sure the content you have put so much effort into is actually generating the leads you need. Even if the content is great, if users can’t find it or find submitting their information is confusing or intimidating, it will not perform well.
To test an inbound website you need to understand what to test for and what tools are available to do that testing.
What to Test on Your Website
The first thing you need to do is determine what you want to test for. Knowing what inbound metrics you are testing for will determine the correct testing method and which tools will work best.
Here are some of the metrics you should be analyzing:
Visits - How many unique visitors have come to your website. This is a great way to determine if your page is turning up in Google searches with good page titles and descriptions that cause visitors to click through to your site, or if other pages are helping visitors find the page.
Sessions - How many individual sessions have happened on your website. This metric is similar to visits, but the same visitor may have multiple sessions, so its number will be higher than visits
Traffic to another page - How many visitors clicked through to another one of your pages by either the menu link, on page link, or CTA. This is helpful in determining if your link text, page design, or on page CTAs are effective at directing your visitors to other pages on your site.
Average Scroll - How far down a page visitors have scrolled. If you have a longer page and want to see if important information is being missed, this kind of test can determine how much of the page your audience is seeing.
Form submission - How many visitors filled out a form and hit the submit button. This is useful to determine if a landing page is easy to understand and has compelling enough copy for your visitors to download an offer by handing over their information.
Content Download - How many visitors downloaded a piece of content on a thank you page. This helps you determine whether landing pages are easy to understand or if your links are broken.
Blog Subscription - How many blog visitors subscribed to receive email updates from your blog. This will help you understand whether or not your blog subscription form is easy to find and fill out.
Time on page - How long someone has stayed on a page. This is useful to see if visitors are reading all of your content or if your SEO is good. If this time is too short visitors may not be reading all of a blog post or all of your homepage information. However, sometimes a small amount of time on page can be a good thing if individuals are looking for a specific piece of information such as a phone number, indicating they're able to find what they're looking for quickly.
Bounce Rate - How many visitors didn't click through to another web page on your site. This is calculated by taking the amount of single page sessions and dividing it by the total visits to a page.
Page Load Speed - How quickly your web page loads. The faster a web page loads the better, as slow sites cause visitors to click back before visitors view your content. This is extremely important for mobile visitors, who tend to have an even smaller amount of patience to wait for a page to load.
Audience Demographics, Interests, and Geography - What is the age and gender of your visitors, what are their interests, and where are they located. This is extremely useful in determining if you are reaching your target personas.
Landing and Exit Pages - What pages and blog posts are bringing in the most traffic and which ones are leading to the most drop off.
How to Test Your Website Correctly
There are a large plethora of tools to use to measure these metrics. I'm going to cover how to setup some of the ones I'm more familiar with and most available to everyone. These tools include:
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most common and complicated analysis tools out there. While it is easy to setup it can be very hard to get any real data out of it. However, with the right setup you can make it generate great information. It even lets you see the data in real time.
Some of the things you can test for in Google Analytics include:
On Page Sessions
Landing and Exit pages
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to see how fast your web page loads. It will give you a score of 0-100 for both mobile and desktop versions of your site. It also lists areas where you can improve your score along with great resources on how to reduce image size [usually the biggest pagespeed culprit] and other page elements that can affect your score.
One thing to notice is that it now puts mobile in front of desktop. As online traffic is now higher on mobile devices Google prioritizes mobile load speed and mobile content more than desktop content.
When it comes to measuring important inbound marketing page metrics, I love HubSpot.
One of the main reasons is that it's easy to get useful data. Unlike Google Analytics, HubSpot is designed for usability over flexibility. They make it easy for inbound marketers to find the important data, such as form conversions and CTA click through rates.
Some of the web page metrics you can test for in HubSpot include:
Page Views by Source [Direct, Organic, Referrals, Social Media, Paid]
New Contacts Generated
Top Performing Landing Pages
On Page CTA views and click through rates.
A relatively newer tool, HotJar lets you really dig into on page and human analysis. Through a combination of page heat maps, screen capture videos, and other user interactions, HotJar can really help you see what specific design elements are causing your page to under or outperform other content.
HotJar can help you test:
Page scroll, or what percentage of visitors are scrolling down to different sections of your page.
Page design with heat maps based on what links visitors are clicking on or where there cursor is moving.
New testing tools are coming out all of the time, and we are always staying on top of the latest and greatest. Understanding what you need to test for and what options are out there is critical to knowing what is working on your website and what needs to be fixed.
Posted by Jonathan Stanis An engineer by training, Jon focuses on the technical delivery of an effective inbound marketing program. He builds client website plans that solve for conversion potential and utilize smart user experiences. He is also responsible for analyzing and monitoring the success of inbound projects. Jon fits the definition of being a "whole brain marketer" because he is both a strong writer-designer and a deeply analytical thinker.