Here’s the scenario. You’ve got a big fat website. It’s getting bigger and your navigation is starting to get jammed up. It’s time to make some hard decisions about which pages stay and which pages must go. But how can you decide? If you’re trying to determine the impact of a web page on a visitor’s conversion rate, you’re in the right place!
What are we Measuring?
Keep in mind that since web pages have tasks other than just influencing a visitor to convert, you can’t compare a product information page with the same metrics as a contact page or a newsletter unsubscribe page. Also remember that traffic quality/intent is difficult to quantify. A web page that says “free beer” may get a lot of clicks and a few conversions but it might not be converting as well as one of your other pages. The trick? Try segregating pages that are meant for generating traffic from those intended to influence visitor behavior when on site.
$ Index in Google Analytics
When it comes to measuring webpages side by side, my weapon of choice is the “$ Index” metric in Google Analytics. Is it perfect? No. Does it provide something to measure how visitors behave after visiting a webpage? Yes! $ Index provides a dollar value that tries to quantify the impact that a webpage view has on getting visitors to convert. To get this metric for your site, you need to have goals and goal values defined within Google Analytics. I haven’t been able to find this metric in the new interface so I’ve been jumping back to the old Google Analytics interface to get access to this metric.
Once you start evaluating website pages on how much impact they have as an average buyer browses through your site, you can start to prioritize which pages need the most work and which can be ignored or turfed.
To access and use the “$ Index” metric, head over to the old version of Google Analytics and under “Content” choose the “Top Content” item:
For illustration purposes, I chose to compare all of the items within our “about us” navigation. Aside from job openings, the pages are designed to self serve potential customers on information about our company. Measuring them by their $ Index gives us a pretty good comparison. I used a small slice of time for the comparison.
Taking a look at pageviews lets us know which of the items are attractive enough to click on. Job openings takes the cake, as it does on most sites. “Our company” is a bit of a surprise to me, because it was the second navigation item on the website. Comparatively speaking, it’s also one of the most frequently used pages by typical customers, as evidenced by the $ Index. Compared to “why choose top draw”, you can see that “our company” wins the race. If you actually examine the two pages, the answer becomes clear: “why choose top draw” has contact information right on the page. So if visitors see everything they need, they can call the phone number or send us an email and jump right through a hole in our analytics. Hey, no one said this was easy!
So there you have it, one way to measure page impact on your visitors. It’s not the easiest or cleanest task, but measuring influence is never straightforward. If you have a bigger website and more standardized conversion goals, $Index should be one of the metrics that you look at if you’re chopping navigation.