Understanding How Visitors Flow Through Your Website Is Critical to Achieving Your Website Goals

Understanding how visitors flow from page to page through your website is absolutely critical to achieving your website goals. Like anything, the more you know about this subject the better decisions you can make for improving your website. Your website should be set up in such a way that you get your most important information on the web pages that are frequented the most.

Knowing the flow of traffic through your website will absolutely help you accomplish this. In this article we are going to discuss how to track visitor flow through your website, explain how to integrate your calls-to-action into the right web pages, review things that you can do to change the flow of visitors through your website if need be, and the benefits of doing all of this.

Tracking Visitor Flow through Your Website

Tracking visitor flow through your website can provide you with some extremely useful information about your website traffic and how they move from web page to web page through your website. Understanding this flow allows you to revise the web pages that are being visited the most so that they include your most critical information and your calls-to-action. If your goal for your website is to have people sign-up for your email newsletter OR if you run an e-Commerce website and your goal is to drive traffic to your online store, how effective will you be at achieving your goals if the majority of your website traffic never lands on the pages that contain your call-to-action? Exactly. Not very effective. However, if you optimize the web pages that are visited most often to contain internal links, banner ads, etc. that display your call-to-action and link traffic to the most appropriate pages you will have greatly enhanced your ability to achieve your goals.

Perhaps the content of the web pages visited most often by your website traffic do not make sense to include our call-to-action. If this is the case, by knowing how visitors flow through your website you can effectively divert them from one web page to a web page that does contain your call-to-action. Again, putting yourself in a better position to achieve your goals. We will discuss this in more detail later in the article. For now, let’s move on to how you can track visitor flow through your website.

instantShift - Visitors Flow

There are a lot of great reporting tools out there, such as Google Analytics that will allow you to track visitor flow through your website. Whatever reporting tool you are using simply log in and click around to see if that tool provides you with the ability to track visitor flow. If it does, perfect. Start analyzing those reports to see what web pages are being visited most and in what order. Here are the steps I would take when analyzing those reports:

  1. Set the dates to show data over the past year
  2. Find out what pages most visitors land on and then analyze where the majority of traffic goes to from each of those pages
  3. Go out to your website and look at each of the landing pages to see what you think people are clicking on in order to take them from the landing page to the next page in their flow. This will show you how people are navigating through your website, as well as, provide you with the information you need to in order to determine if you need update the landing pages with your call-to-action OR if you will need to divert them from the landing page to another web page that includes your call-to-action.
  4. Start writing down all of this information and determine which web pages you need to update in order to change how visitors flow through your website in order to get them to visit the web pages that you want them to see.
  5. Once you have your list of changes that you need to make, start updating each web page one at a time.
  6. After the web pages have been updated give your website visitors 60 days or so and then go back into your visitor flow reports to see if your changes worked. You will also start to know if your changes worked if you start seeing more and more people act on your call-to-action.

Integrating Your Calls-to-Action into Highly Visited Web Pages

Depending on the web pages that you find are the most visited, and the content that they contain, it may or may not make sense for you to add calls-to-action OR just divert them to the web pages that already have your call-to-action on them. We will discuss diverting traffic in the next section, but for this section, let’s discuss updating the most frequently visited web pages with a call-to-action. Again, the most important thing for your as a website owner is to achieve the goals that you have set for your website. In order to achieve your goals you have include a “call-to-action” which is basically a phrase or sentence that literally asks your website visitors to perform some sort of action. If you want people to sign-up for your newsletter your call-to-action might be “subscribe to our newsletter to receive special offers and the latest information about XYZ website”.

That call-to-action may or may not be on every web page. If it’s not contained on the web pages that most people visit when they come to your website then you are not going to get a lot of people to sign-up for your newsletter, thus you are not going to achieve your goals. So once you understand how traffic is flowing through your website you can look at the pages that most people visit to see if your call-to-action is included. If it is, but you’re not seeing results then you may have to tweak your offer, make it stand out more, etc. If it is not included then you need to read through your content to find a good place for it. The other option is to create a banner ad that goes into your sidebar which contains your call-to-action, along with a link to the sign-up page. Then you can drop the banner on every page OR at least on the web pages visited most frequently. By including your call-to-action on the web pages that are visited by the majority of your website traffic you are going to get many more people to sign-up for your newsletter.

Things You Can Do to Change Your Visitors Flow through Your Website

As I mentioned above, once you know how visitors are flowing through your website you can then come up with a strategy for updating those web pages to include the most critical information. Depending on the content of the most frequently visited web pages sometimes it does not make sense to include your call-to-action within the website content. If that’s the case then you can simply divert traffic from that page to a page that contains the call-to-action instead of having them move on to yet another web page that also does not include your most critical information. For each web page that you are updating, follow the steps below to determine how to divert traffic from the web page to a different page that contains your most critical information.

  1. Determine what web page(s) most of the traffic is navigating to from the web page that you are updating.
  2. Find out how your traffic is navigating to the next page. Is there a link in the content that most people are clicking? Is there an image on the sidebar that people see and click on? Before you can divert traffic to a different web page you must know how they are navigating to the web page that you don’t want them to go to.
  3. After identifying how your website traffic is moving from one web page to the next you must then decide if you want to totally remove that option and replace it with the new option to link to the web page containing your call-to-action OR if you want to leave the link in there, but try to divert traffic before getting to the link. It’s your call and it really depends on the content of the web page and what makes the most sense. You don’t want to swap things out that are necessary for your visitors. You want to improve their experience, while also improving your odds of achieving your goals.
  4. Once you decide how you want to divert traffic flow now it’s time to actually go in and make the changes. It’s that simple.

Benefits of Understanding Visitor Flow through Your Website

As you can probably start to see, understanding visitor flow through your website can lead to some really great things for you. By either updating your web pages to contain a call-to-action or by diverting traffic to web pages that already have a call-to-action within them you are effectively getting more eyeballs to see your call-to-action, thus one could infer that you would get more people to complete your call-to-action. That’s really the biggest benefit of doing all of this. That said, here are a few other benefits of analyzing your visitor flow through your website:

  • Increased chance of accomplishing your website goals
  • Better understanding of the most important content on your website, thus allowing you to write more about those topics in the future (possibly via blog articles, etc.).
  • Better knowledge of the top landing pages, which can then allow you to see how they are optimized and possibly use similar keywords from those web pages on other web pages to help them move up the ranks of search engines.

Again, these are just a few of the benefits that you will receive by taking time to analyze visitor flow through your website. It’s definitely an activity that I do frequently for my websites and my clients websites. It helps me achieve my goals and it will help you too.

What do you think? Is it worth taking the time to analyze visitor flow through your website? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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  1. Hello Ryan/ Team Instant Shift

    This particular topic throws light on just the right areas on which I have been struggling. I hope I can work on them to increase number of visitors on my site(s).

    In general, Instant Shift is an excellent website where I find everything that I need to perk up my development/designing skills. Ton loads of thanks. Super share on Twitter…


  2. Impressive Ryan! I totally agree with you on the fact that analyzing the flow of traffic on a website is necessary. You can easily make out the strong areas of your website and also the portions that need your attention. Embedding to call-to-action can ensure maximum conversion through your prospective clients. Analyzing the flow of traffic on a website can assist you in improving weaker areas considerably, thereby fulfilling the true motive of having a website on the first place! Thanks for sharing the knowledge :)

  3. Great post i found, yes i agreed that follow up is very necessary and checking the traffic on consistent basis that is much important for this activity you got the idea what you are gaining with and know how you are on the right page.

  4. Not so long ago I’ve read KissMetricks guid on how to work with site analitics well. They also said a lot of interesting facts about the importance of tracking visitors flow.
    But all these researches need so much time. Sometimes I doubt if I really need them

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