5 things you didn't know about your website


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Presentation to the Web Publishers Community at the University of Edinburgh, June 2012.

We look at some trends observed across the University website and discuss what can be learned from them, making recommendations for content management practice, ongoing analytics and user research.

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  • Visitors to you web pages are rarely interested only in them, they will spend a lot of time on other parts of the University website.We looked at some school sites to see where else international prospective post grads go.
  • Slide shows top content for 2011 for serious interest by non-Scotland based PGs.
  • Graph about mobile overtaking desktopSlide 23 http://iwmw.ukoln.ac.uk/iwmw2012/talks/doyle/Data from opening slides of http://iwmw.ukoln.ac.uk/iwmw2012/talks/borley/Or whatever else you find…
  • Mobile use is only 2.5% of all traffic. 400, 605/15,246,907=0.02But, as usual, we need to look at trends, not absolute numbers.
  • This is aggregate across the whole siteManagers will need to look at own data.Segment by audiences…
  • On reading speed: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html
  • Far right column is the actual time divided by the expected time
  • Green column uses data from CrazyEgg – calculated by taking the maximum time
  • http://website-project.reportsection.com/snapshot/313382#heatmap
  • 5 things you didn't know about your website

    1. 1. 5 things you didnt know about your website Insights from Google Analytics Neil.Allison@ed.ac.uk University of Edinburgh Website Programme www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme @usabilityed
    2. 2. Google Analytics update• We’re changing the way we use the University’s Google Analytics account – Existing users should have replied to email• To back this up: – New guidance: http://bit.ly/uoe-analytics – New training piloted this summer
    3. 3. Segmentation• All our trends today involved segmentation and filtering of the data• Learn how to do this in the new guidance• Segmentation is essential because: – You have multiple audiences – They want different things – They behave differently
    4. 4. Trend #1 Your visitors spend most oftheir time on other websites(Including other parts of the University)
    5. 5. Time on site – what we did• We looked at 5 school sites over 2011.• We segmented visitors to consider only those: – Outwith Scotland – Visiting the Uni site for more than 600 sec – Visiting the central postgrad section at some point – Visiting the school site at some point
    6. 6. Considering the top content • Exported the top content data to Excel • Counted school page visits • Counted not-school page visits
    7. 7. Time on school sites Total Page Own Page Other Site Views Views Views 11% 89%Biomedical Sciences 116,214 (12,890) (103,324) 45% 55% Divinity 225,749 (101,921) (123,828) 19% 81% Economics 168,176 (32,125) (136,051) 28% 72% Education 346,906 (96,110) 250,796 33% 67% Geosciences 435,937 (145,668) (290,269)
    8. 8. Some caveats #1• We’ve looked at a very specific audience – People from outside Scotland with a strong interest in postgraduate study• Some areas of the University aren’t monitored, so these figures could have been even more stark• Examples of data missing: – Geosciences sub sites, Economics masters site SGPE, Biomedical Sciences research institutes…
    9. 9. So what should we learn? #1• Visitors will return to your website if – You have information that they want or need – They are genuinely interested in you• If there are parts of your site not using the University GA code, address this• Work to understand your visitors’ journey and help them on their way – Presenting the right links at the right time – Too many links aren’t helpful – prioritise – Links to homepages are much less helpful
    10. 10. Trend #2On-site searches tell us a lot about what visitors areexpecting from your website
    11. 11. Staff searches on Finance siteWe looked at commonsearch terms from within asite where search use isheavy:Finance – For Staffhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/finance/for-staff
    12. 12. On-site search: What we did1. Segmented visitors by having visited the finance pages and having made a site search2. Filtered all site search terms by start page
    13. 13. Most popular searches Search Term Total Unique Searchesinsurance 433procurement 333registry 266printing services 166brown 133furniture request form 100gift shop 100telephone systems 100eduroam 66hamilton 66
    14. 14. So what should we learn? #2• On-site search is an insight into what your visitors were thinking• Clues to inform – Keywords for links, titles and headings – Prioritisation of content and navigation – Related links to other sites• Tasks to set in usability tests
    15. 15. Trend #3 Mobile devices are increasing in use,but arent significant (yet)
    16. 16. Mobile is a broad term• Portable devices that can be used to access regular websites.• Not necessarily used on the move though… – http://bit.ly/LKfyA4
    17. 17. Mobile increasing year-on-year • 45% use mobile internet while out and about – 75% of 16-25 year olds • 22% of mobile internet users use desktops infrequently • 86% of mobile internet users do so in front of the TV • Half of all local searches take• Estimates vary but at some place on a mobile point before 2016 mobile will overtake desktop use Office of National Statistics 2011
    18. 18. Mobile device use on our siteIn 2011, mobile visits accounted for only 2.5%
    19. 19. Increasing quarter by quarter Page Visits Mobile Visits % of TotalJune 11 – Aug 11 3,204,491 90,364 2.82%Sept 11 – Nov 11 4,477,765 153,134 3.42%Dec 11 – Feb 12 3,851,763 176,024 4.57%Mar 12 – May 12 4,144,053 218,628 5.28%
    20. 20. Mobile use on your site• Create 2 segments: – One which includes mobile traffic – One which excludes mobile traffic.• Combine these segments with other facets for greater insight – E.g. Interest in postgrad content, Visitors using EdLAN, Visitors from a particular country…• Remember that some people will access the same pages from different devices
    21. 21. Trends in mobile user behaviour• So far on the University site, mobile users: – Visit fewer pages per visit – Spend less time on site overall• Dangerous for us to suppose why – Different reasons on different sites with different audiences
    22. 22. So what should we learn? #3• Not all audiences are the same – Identify where mobile use is growing fastest – Identify the content in demand & optimise • http://bit.ly/LKeNXX – Identify key differences with desktop behaviour• Be ruthless with quantity & focus of content• Monitor your analytics regularly
    23. 23. Trend #4Some referrers are worth more than others
    24. 24. What’s a referrer worth?• A referrer may deliver thousands of visitors – But so what? – What are they actually doing?• The best referrers deliver visitors who: – Are genuine prospects – Demonstrate real interest in your business – Do what you want them to do
    25. 25. What do I want my visitors to do?• Visit specific pages• Spend time interacting with my content• Act on my calls to action – Register – Email – Download – Apply
    26. 26. Every site is different, so…• Our definition of quality traffic for today: – “People from outside the University showing significant interest in postgraduate study”• Our segment: – Visits of more than 600 seconds – Including visits to content in www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate – Not using EdLAN
    27. 27. Considering 5 schools in 2011• Divinity• Economics• Informatics• Languages, Literatures & Cultures• Royal Dick Vet
    28. 28. Top referring sites
    29. 29. Common referrers• Wikipedia• Facebook• Email• Search engines• Scholarships sites
    30. 30. Trends observed in referrers• Wikipedia is a common referrer – Not just the English version• Baidu Baike a sort of Chinese Wikipedia• 36ohk6dgmcd1n.yom.mail.yahoo.net – An email from a Yahoo account – HSS schools only – College Office activity, perhaps?
    31. 31. So what should we learn? #4• Define what a quality visit to your site means – Calls to action are essential• Identify where you can improve your profile on referrer sites – Are there more sites you should be getting referrals from? Check other schools’ data• Are you getting value for money from paid referrals? – How does target audience behaviour compare to non-referrals?
    32. 32. Trend #5Visitors don’t spend longenough on page to read all your content
    33. 33. Average time on page• Average time on page gives an indication of how visitors are engaging with your content – How little do users read? http://bit.ly/LKhkkO• We looked at the top content page on five school sites and estimated how much got read
    34. 34. Analysing schools’ top contentLooking at 2011, we:- Filtered the top content by school to locate each school’s top content - So not homepages or overview pages- Measured word count of these pages- Compared average time of page with expected reading time - Assuming people read 250 words per minute
    35. 35. Pages examinedRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicineand Surgery (BVM&S) ~ Overviewhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/vet/studying/bachelor-vet-medicineSchool of Education : TESOL (MSc/PgCert/PgDip) ~ Overviewhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/education/graduate-school/taught-degrees/tesolSchool of Divinity: Staff profiles ~ Dr Helen Bond MTheol PhDhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/divinity/staff-profiles/bondSchool of Health in Social Science: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology ~ Overviewhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/health/clinical-psychology/studying/doctorateSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures: Prospective students ~Studying English Literature at Edinburghhttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/english-literature/undergraduate/prospective/study-english-literature
    36. 36. The Pages Examined
    37. 37. Time on Page Expected vs Real Page Word Estimated Average time % time onFindings rank Count time to read (secs) on page (secs) page Divinity 11 723 174 70 40% Education 16 268 66 75 113% (TESOL) English 23 520 124 49 40% Literature Clinical 9 493 118 58 49%Psychology Vet 2 900 216 25 11%
    38. 38. Google’s mean average• Google’s mean average time on page is skewed by outlying high values• We also used Crazy Egg click analysis on the same pages to learn more – Caveat 1: We only had time to collect a week’s click analysis data – Caveat 2: Google’s average time on page and Crazy Egg’s time to click are calculated differently
    39. 39. Mean vs median Estimated Average time Time to time to read on page (secs) click (secs) (median) Divinity 174 70 20 secsEducation 66 75 40 secs (TESOL)English Lit 124 49 30 secs Health 118 58 20 secsSciences Vet 216 25 15 secs Median = the time at which half of visitors had clicked
    40. 40. Vet School prospective undergrad contentCrazyEgg’s scrollmapillustrates what visitors arelooking atEstimated time to read: 216 secsAverage time on page: 11 secsMedian time to click: 15 secshttp://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/vet/studying/bachelor-vet-medicine
    41. 41. Why so long on the TESOL page?People spent more timehere than we’d expectCould the MS Wordhandbook download bea factor?Estimated time to read: 66 secsAverage time on page: 75 secsMedian time to click: 60 secs
    42. 42. Understanding the user journey• Click analysis reveals most clicks happen in the right hand menu – Expected? Probably• Can we learn more about the typical user journey?
    43. 43. Google Analytics navigation analysis• The most common entry point from within the site is the previous staff profile• The most common exit page is the next one
    44. 44. So what should we learn? #5• Long pages will rarely be read fully• Summarise & prioritise content• Avoid mixing menu items with content• Bring in user testing & click analysis for extra insight – Decisions on Analytics alone can be dangerous
    45. 45. Summary• Work to understand your visitors’ journeys and help them on their way• On-site search is an insight into what your visitors were thinking• Mobile use is growing – behaviour is different• Define what a quality visitor to your site means & measure this• Optimise your content ruthlessly – Help your visitors – Help you understand them
    46. 46. Thank you Questions? Neil.Allison@ed.ac.ukUniversity of Edinburgh Website Programme www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme @usabilityed