Where They Go and Why They Leave

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...Image via CrunchBase
When I first constructed OtherNum we had a list of priorities about 1000 items deep (I'm sure you can relate...) and way down near the bottom was something like "Write some content for the About page".  I had a short blurb up there about Walter and I and Twilio but it was extremely terse.  I didn't think it mattered.

But after we launched our public beta I was looking at our Google Analytics reports and I realized something...

People were looking at that page!  Not only that, but they were going there almost immediately after hitting the homepage.

And then they were leaving.

I was floored, but then I thought about it.  These people don't know anything about OtherNum or Walter or me.  They aren't going to just sign up for an account (even if it's free) on a website unless they know something about the company.

So I wrote a lot of content for the About page, I put it up on the site and now I'm looking at the results...

And it looks good!  The number of pageviews on this page soared (most likely because I tweeted about it specifically) but the Exit % for that page dropped like a rock.  The Bounce Rate actually went up, but that's actually not unexpected. 

The Bounce rate is actually only a measure of how many people enter on that page AND exit on the same page.  Before I tweeted about this page specifically, nobody was landing on it directly so the Bounce Rate was basically 0%.

So how did I know that the About page was a problem?

One of the things I saw was that 15% of the people who went to the homepage, went next to the About page by drilling down into the Content -> Top Content report in Google Analytics.

That surprised me because I hadn't written much on that page, thinking nobody would go there!  You can also see in that first graph that the Exit Rate on that page was 50%! 

So What?  You're still in beta...

What I was concerned about was the perception of the company.  You only get once chance to make a good first impression.  I'm spending time tweeting, blogging and emailing people to try and get them to come and sign up for an account.  If a chunk of the people I manage to get to the site is going to go straight to the about page and then leave then I'm wasting my own time and money. 

By looking at where people go when they get to the site and seeing what they do once they get there I've hopefully made the site more effective.  Now all my attempts at generating more traffic will be that much more valuable.

Share Your Experience

I'd love to hear about your experiences with similar changes.  I'm also working on using KISSMetrics to measure our user behavior.  Post your stories in the comments below!

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