How to use analytics to improve the relationship between content and design

Posted / 21 February, 2014

Author / Enginess

With the data in an analytics report you can improve both content and web design so that both help you reach your business goals.

The design of your site is a major asset in attracting new customers and retaining current ones. That's also true of your web content. So wouldn't it make sense for design and content to work together? One tool that can help with that is web analytics. With the data in an analytics report you can improve both content and design so that both help you reach your business goals. Many people think of analytics as relating only to how many people visited a particular site, but that's only the beginning. The data available within analytics software is incredibly rich, and that's why it's such a valuable tool for improving your content – and your web design. For this article, we're using Google Analytics, but most analytics software has similar data. Here's a snapshot of the kind of information you can get. You can see:

  • an overview of page views, average time on page, bounce rate and exits
  • an indication of the top content pages on your site by URL (and you can see more if you want to)
  • which your top landing pages were
  • whether your top pages met page speed guidelines
You can also use the visitor flow report and in-page analytics to see how people interact with your site once they get there. Analytics helps you find out whether design features are hampering the effectiveness of your content and whether you need to improve the content itself.   For example, if your analytics report shows that slow page load is making people leave your site quickly even though you're confident about the quality of the content, then you know it's time for a redesign focused on page load speed. And if you're unsure where to place certain elements on the page to best attract your customers, Google's Experiments feature or another split testing tool can help you troubleshoot that issue. This is a good way to check on formatting, typography and other content display issues too. Identifying your top performing content via analytics software can help you decide which content to feature when you redesign your site. You might want to incorporate something like a featured content slider or a popular content list into your page design to give already popular content more visibility. Equally, you may choose to use your CMS to take great content that's not performing as well and tweak both content and web placement to improve its reach. At the same time, you can improve internal linking and content visibility by using analytics data to guide you on the display of related content. And you may want to check out the social reports in analytics to see whether you should add new social sharing buttons or highlight social proof for your most shared content. There's one final design issue resulting from analytics data – you can use the information you get to design new products based on content you already KNOW is doing well. The Content Marketing Institute gives eight examples of how you can repurpose blog posts into other content, whether that's taking the key points from your post and turning them into a series of tweets or a slide deck or expanding a popular post into a new ebook. Whichever you choose, the knowledge you have from the analytics data about what web visitors like will help you design better content products – and better websites!

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