The market today certainly does not lack analytical and user behavior tools. We can find numerous tools that we can use to track what visitors are doing on a website. Let’s see how to use analytics and how Icecat is using them to improve the UX (the User eXperience) of its websites.
It is the most commonly used analytical tool. Google provides it free of charge. It offers real-time analytics and reports based on historical data. They often include basic metrics such as active users, sessions and session duration, bounce rate, location, and user device. Further, more experienced and advanced Google Analytics users can set ‘goals’ that can track user behavior. This will show if a user completed the desired goal, whatever that may be. It can be the registration for a service, newsletter, or download of a piece of content.
At Icecat, we simply use Google Analytics to measure conversions and visitor statistics. Furthermore, we use historical data to analyze several key metrics. They may be the comparison between quarters, Y-o-Y trends, and changes in terms of visits and visitors, and so on.
Lastly, the Google Analytics mobile-friendly app makes tracking metrics and users much easier. For example, its AI works very well while working on a campaign in a given country. For example, by asking Google Analytics how many users visited the website from a specific country during the campaign period.
Most blog sites operate through WordPress (WP). Also Icecat.com and Iceclog. There are lots of WP plug-ins available on the market free-of-charge. In terms of statistics and tracking users, the WP Statistics plug-in provides great metrics. Metrics such as visitors, search words, browsers, referrers, and more. Iceclog is using this plug-in for a while now to measure its website traffic. In comparison with Google Analytics, this plug-in does not offer many advanced features like tracking user behavior across pages and setting goals. However, depending on your needs you can always add another analytic metric as they can work together without interference or just simply upgrade to something new. For us now, the WP statistics show the essential data we want to see.
If a company wants to optimize the UX of its website, having an analytics tool alone is not enough. Recently Icecat announced its new corporate website and currently we look for ways to improve its UX. Therefore, we started a pilot project with Hotjar, a user behavior tool that visualizes what users do on a website. We also apply it to our catalog website icecat.biz and for now, we are getting the results that we expected to see. We can see exactly what users are doing, where they click, and which page they visit. The heat maps and screen recordings provided by the tool provides insights per device. This includes also recordings of mouse clicks, moves with the cursor, and scrolling.
If we go beyond visitor analytics, Google Search Console (GSC) is a handy tool in terms of optimizing the SEO of a website. The insightful data available from GSC shows exactly which keyword or a keyword phrase (search query) a user used to find your website on search engines. In this case, only on Google’s search engine, which is the most used search engine in most countries. GSC also provides insights as country location, device, search appearance, and date.
We started using GSC recently for Iceclog in order to optimize our blog to meet the best the search queries of users that are trying to find us online, and to find information about our solution and services.
In conclusion, there is no such thing as designing a website from scratch and making it perfect in one take. There are always some unanticipated challenges and insights that only come from a learning experience. The tools I mentioned above are here to help us understand our users, how they interact, and experience our website. Also for our relatively new corporate website, we are going to use some of the mentioned analytics tools. Most likely Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Further, if the Hotjar pilot goes well, we will implement this tool too to have a complete picture of what visitors do. All this, to reach our goal – to enhance our users’ experiences on our websites.
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