You may have signed up for a couple different services to monitor your stats like Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, Woopra, and more. However, what can you get from those stats that will allow you to be able to fill the need for your readers, including first time visitors who are looking for something?
If your visitors cannot find what they are looking for, they are going to leave. If you are not tagging and using keywords that accurately fit your articles, you might need to go back with a critical eye and adjust. Remember that people look for things and type in a few words to search. If your article comes up, hopefully it does relate to what they are searching about.
Whether you look this up every week, couple of weeks, or once a month, you will want to know a couple things when looking at your stats:
- How did your visitors enter your site? Did they come from a search engine or were they referred by another blog? Were they referred from your social network handles?
- What search terms are coming up about your site? Are they really what you wanted people to look for? If not, as I said, you might need to go through your site and correct the problem.
- Where are your visitors leaving your site? Sometimes for self-hosted users, you can use your built in server stats. For example, most cPanel users have access to Webalizer. Some outside sites can also tell you where your visitors are leaving from.
Once you have determined the need of your visitors based on the information you got from your stats, you need to put a plan into motion. If one part of your site is receiving attention, obviously you need to emphasize that. However if there is an article you really wanted people to see, you will also need to build a marketing plan around that.
Two features I really recommend on a site are Yet Another Related Post plugin, Featured Post with Thumbnails… at least for WordPress. I know there are components that are equivalent in Joomla and Drupal, but not the name. They are really handy. While you have a post, you can entice your readers to look at other related articles that might delve into more of the topic they had already come to read.
Another great way is to enhance your 404 page. While you might try Joost de Valk’s Practical Guide to 404 Error Pages: What WordPress is Missing, you can also add material to entice visitors to the most popular places on your site besides giving a suggestion of page links.
Last of all, if you do not have what someone is looking for, but it is relevant to your site, create the content – fill that need. This is very simple and even if you were planning on posting about other things, you can always write those articles, and schedule them to post anytime.
The bottom line is that you want to keep your visitors on your website. By solving your visitors need, they will come back and perhaps look for more goodies.
What methods do you use in determining your visitors needs? How have you fulfilled those needs?