So you want to start optimizing your website and you want to run some tests. Great! Where do you look to start the optimization process?
1. Look for pages with high bounce rates
Pages with high bounce rates can often indicate that you need a redesign. People aren’t finding the information they want and this could be because the search terms that brought the person to that page don’t correlate well with what you’re presenting. High bounce rates do not necessarily mean the page is poorly designed. They are simply an indicator that you may want to check it out for potential improvements.
2. Least amount of time spent on any particular pages
This links together the exit and bounce rates. If someone spends 7 seconds on a page that should take 1 minute to read, they either don’t think the information is useful or they were led to a page that didn’t accomplish the need they had. The good news is you can see if they decided to go back and try to find other, useful information or if they bounced altogether.
3. Pages with high exit rates
Exit rate indicates that it was the last page someone viewed before they left your site. Visits that start and end on the same page are bounces (not exits) and are reflected in the bounce rate. Pages with high exit rates may mean that the visitor has felt they’ve reached a dead-end and it may be up to you to help them out. There are certain pages that are ok to have a high exit rate (thank you pages) but if you have high exit rates on pages along the sales funnel (see #4), it can indicate that they are having second thoughts about the purchase of your product.
4. High bailout rates on your sales funnel
An extension of #3, if you have any analytics program worth its salt, you should be able to define and track the pages that make up your sales funnel. Looking for choke points along the funnel will show you where (and why) people may be leaving.
5. Pages important to your overall goal
Even if the pages important to your goal are not your worst performers, optimization may still improve their performance. Run tests on these pages to achieve higher conversions. Don’t be afraid to mess with what works because unless you are converting 100%, you can always do better!