Google Analytics Series 2. What do users want?


First Things First

So you have a site, it has some visitors and, if you have read my previous Analytics post, you know where they are coming from and where they are going to - what we need to answer now is:

  • Did they click on any other pages?
  • Did they convert?
  • How can I give them more of what they want?

The last question is the most important and often the most difficult to answer (seriously there are whole companies dedicated to just answering this question). If you can get a feel for what your audience wants you will rapidly see your conversions/engagement rise which often leads to a snowball effect of more users.

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But before you can answer that question you must answer the others.

Did they click on any other pages?

When looking at how your users are getting to your site it is key to see what sort of onward journey they have. To really dig into this we need to look at the behaviour section of analytics.

Navigate to: Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages

You should get a list of every page on your site that has ever had a pageview. From here you can narrow down your search to a specific page by clicking on the URL.


The new page is showing page view stats for just that page, pay close attention to the entrances and exit figures as these will help you identify how many people arrived on your site and how many left. Also look at your bounce rate, a user who arrives at your site and doesn’t click on any other page is called a “bounce.” Google counts up all your visits and bounces to give you a bounce rate.

From here you want to click on the navigation summary just above the graph.


This will replace the table below the graph with two columns of data, the left side shows where your users came from (including entrances) and the right side shows where they went to (including exits).


Did they convert?

This is where things can start to get quite complicated, and there are a lot of analytics features around trying to work this out.

For now we just want to know if they went into the process and if they saw a “success” page, this could be a thanks for registering screen or a purchase confirmation screen - this is your “goal” page and each unique visitor to the page should tie up to your own users. We need to add this page as a goal in our analytics setup so we can track it properly.

Click on Admin right at the top of the screen from your analytics account, by default the correct “view” should be selected on the far right, underneath this you should see a little flag icon and the word Goals.


Clicking here will let you manage or setup a new goal, go ahead and click new goal now. Thankfully Google has already set up a number of templates to help speed the tracking process along, the one we are after for now is “aquisition” so click the button next to it and press next.


Name the goal something like “signed up” or “purchased”, something you will remember in 6 months, and select the type “Destination”, this is the one that ties the goal to a specific page.


On the final screen enter the full URL of the page that is your “success” or “thanks for purchasing” page, you can check you have got it right by clicking on the link just above the save button which says verify this goal.


Assuming everything is fine go ahead and hit save.

You can now go back to reporting (on the top bar) and into the section called Conversions > Goals. This is where you can start to view how many people landed on your goal page and if it increases due to the changes you make.

How can I give them more of what they want?

So you know what your most popular pages are, where they go from that page and the pages which convert people from just browsing to active users, you should have some idea why your users would use your site, this is what you need to tap into when creating new content or features.

For Example

Your site is about selling cars, your most popular page is an article about which is the most reliable car, people go from that page to a price comparison of similar cars. This would indicate that your audience is interested in reliability and affordability, you could create articles around why certain cars are more reliable or what is the most affordable reliable car. You would ideally then link this into your highest converting page to try and lead users into a conversion path by making it easier to get to exactly what they want.

How do I know if it's working?

Sales/subscribes/comments, or whatever else you are trying to achieve on your site, goes up. This is the bottom line that every other adjustment to your site is trying to get to and the way we tend to look at this in marketing is using a “conversion funnel”, more information on this is available here: [KissMetrics]

Keep that content engaging and those conversions coming!

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About me

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett

I'm a search engine optimiser and social media strategist as well as a software developer. I have worked for multiple on...Read more