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Read between the clicks

Understanding what works and what doesn't on your website

By analysing the way visitors navigate through your web pages, you can improve your customer service and make your site more appealing to users. Here are five items to pay attention to:

The most popular pages

The most often visited pages on your site can tell you what type of information visitors hope to find when they come to it.

To make your site more effective, you'll want to highlight this content by making it available in fewer clicks or finding ways to package it as "preferred" content. For instance, if you discover a particular product offering is receiving the most hits, position it on the home page where it will be easy to find. Group it with links to complementary products or services that may interest people who buy it.

The least popular pages

Your site traffic can also tell you which site offerings are duds. If a page isn’t receiving many visitors then you should consider why.

Is it difficult to find? Does it take a long time to load? Is it relevant to only a small portion of site visitors? Keep in mind that even pages with low traffic may be closing sales for you. If it encourages even one person to do business with you, it's probably worth keeping.

Traffic patterns

Study the length of time visitors spend on your site and how they are navigating through it. This may uncover a structure that works well for users, so you can replicate it elsewhere on the site. It may also help you find inconsistencies in navigation and information paths.

For instance, if you notice that users jump to multiple pages, staying only a short time on each, and then leave your site completely, it may be a sign that it's difficult for visitors to find the details they need. It might also be a sign that your site takes too long to load, which will drive users away.

Email and phone queries

Track the emails and customer calls your business receives for signs of improvements that can be made to your site.

Do a number of customers ask similar questions? It may be time to update your FAQs. Are requests for product details common? You may need to make your product descriptions clearer.

Customer feedback

You can use your site to solicit feedback on its effectiveness by doing some online market research.

Add a temporary customer survey to the home page and offer an incentive for completion -such as a 10% discount. You can ask questions about site navigation, the design, or ordering processes.

It's also a good idea to institute and monitor a permanent customer feedback email address that visitors can access from any page on your site.

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