Have you installed Google Analytics on your websites?
Do you check your stats to determine how you can do better with converting the traffic you are getting?
And better yet, do you make changes on your websites based on the data that Google Analytics is collecting in order to improve your conversions?
I am a big believer in optimizing your existing traffic. Work on conversions first with the traffic you have, before paying good money or effort to get more traffic.
Why Use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can show you what your website visitors are doing on your website.
What pages they show up on. What pages they leave from. How long they stay. And if they are doing what you want them to do which is respond to a call of action and either click something or signup for something or buy something.
With this blog post I am going to introduce you to one of my niche sites, and use it as a case study. I will be opening the kimono and showing you how I am buildin my list, and how I improved my conversions.
And what is working and what does not.
Niche Websites and Converting
Building niche websites is fun. And profitable. Dennis Becker has a great short report on creating multiple passive income streams, including using niche websites.
The niche case study website is VenusFlyTrapCenter.com.
I built the site back in 2010/2011 as a whim. I wanted to see if I still had the mojo, the SEO mojo. I wanted to see if I could generate traffic solely by organic search engine traffic.
Why Venus Fly Traps?
Why not. It was fun!
I have grown carnivorous plants several times when I was younger, including Venus Flytraps, Cobra Lily’s, and other wonderful strange plants.
So I decided to build a niche website about a particular species of carnivours plant. But with this blog post I am not going to go into how I created the content of the website which is original articles, or how I obtained the graphics.
That is for another blog post.
Surprised by Traffic
I built the website back in 2010/2011, added articles, some graphics, built 5 or 6 pages, and then life happened and I forgot about the website. I just built it and walked away.
A year or so later I was sitting at my computer, bored I guess, and I asked myself the question:
“Gosh, I wonder how much traffic my website about Venus Fly Traps is getting?”
I opened up Google Analytics and just about fell out of my chair. This is what I saw:
My site was down for three months in August through October, 2011. I forget why.
Checked my stats in summer of 2012 and I was getting 861 sessions. Over time, my visitor numbers and sessions increased. Here is the summary:
- September 2012 – 1,864 sessions
- September 2013 – 3,494 sessions, and;
- August 2014 – 3,020 sessions.
Here is a screen shot showing the traffic stats for August 2014:
And this free organic search engine (SEO) traffic is pretty amazing for a simple, 6-page website that I built and then did little to for a long time. And to be honest, I still don’t do much to the website. And it still gets all this free, organic traffic from the search engines.
And what do I do with this traffic?
I collect optins to a newsletter.
Which then I use to educate about Venus Flytraps. And promote products. And sell stuff.
But I don’t just add an optin box to the sidebar. I went all out and did something else.
I increased my conversions by adding an optin box to the bottom of each article of my website.
Be Sure to Use a Bottom Opt In
I have a optin box on the right sidebar and on the bottom of each article or page/post. I use the plugin What Would Seth Godin Do.
Putting an optin box at the end of your blog post or articles on your niche websites, can dramatically improve your conversions.
This screen shot from my Aweber account is very interesting. The bottom optin has over twice as many optins/conversions than the sidebar. Here is proof:
If all I used was the sidebar optin, my conversions is 0.4%. But my optin box which is located at the bottom of every article on my niche website, has a 1.0% conversion rate. Double the optins.
But using both optin boxes I get a total 1.4% optin rate. And I can probably improve my optin rates by split testing the optin call to action, adding graphics, etc.
If you have traffic, squeeze out the maximum conversion rates with your existing traffic.
This website is a great place to experiment.
And you should be trying different things also to increase your conversion rates.
Bounce Back Bad
But my bounce back rate is pretty dismal. Here is a recent screen shot from my Google Analytics of the website stats:
That is not good! My bounce rate is over 80%.
What is bounce rate?
Bounce rate is really a measure of how engaged or satisfied your website visitor is.
If they come to your website from Google, then go immediately back to Google without viewing any other pages, and then clicked on another link in Google search results, that is a bounce.
You want a lower bounce rate. How?
Websites should be built first for humans. For readers. Then for search engines.
Therefore, even with small niche websites, I want to inform and educate and build trust with website visitors and then and only then sell to them. And my first step in selling is to develop a relationship with them by collecting contact information, then build that relationship with emails, more blog posts, etc.
So to raise my conversion rate and ultimately make more sales, I have to lower my bounce rate.
So what can I do?
Google Analtyics and Users Flow
Digging deeper into Google Analytics, I can select Users Flow.
To get there, log into your Google Analytics account, on the left select Audience, then Users Flow.
This will show me what pages my website visitors enter, and then what pages they look at next.
Here is a recent screen shot from my case study website showing Users Flow:
What does Users Flow show us?
Under the heading Starting Pages, you can see a graphic list of the pages that your users entered the site. For my case study site, the following pages are how my website visitors entered the site:
|Starting Page||Website Visitor Sessions|
…and so on
So 1,900 sessions come into venus-flytrap-facts from the total of 3,500 sessions to the website. The next highest page with visitor volume is venus-flytrap-care with 564 sessions.
But I have starting pages with 3,500 sessions and 3,130 droop offs.
What a drop off means is that they don’t click to another page on my website, but go back to Google.
So what the hey? What is wrong with my Venus Flytrap facts page? Don’t my website visitors like my site?
Why Don’t My Website Visitors Love My Website?
Why are website visitors leaving in droves after landing on the Venus Flytrap facts page?
Let us take a look at this page. Do you see what I see?
What is wrong with this post?
No links to click on.
No engagement with the website visitor.
Improve Conversions by Improving Website Visitor Experience
In order to improve my optin conversions and thereby improve my conversions to products I recommend, I really need to engage the website visitor.
To this and the other pages, my plan is to add some graphics, create some links to other pages on the website, and thereby make the page a lot more interesting. Simple fixes that will not take very long.
But if I hadn’t taken the few minutes to review my Google Analytics stats, I would be wondering why my conversions were so low.
And now I know why.
And now I know what to do.
I will report back to the readers of this blog after I implement these changes.
And of course my goal is to continue to improve my optin conversions, and get even more folks on my newsletter, and make more money.
What can I do to help you understand how to improve your website conversions?