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The Conversion Path: Define the User Journey on Your Website

User Journey Path

So, you’ve brought targeted traffic to your website, and that’s perfect. But, do you know how to drive the users towards your CTA (Call-to-action)?

It’s all about understanding your target users and their journey on your site! Every element on your website and every marketing effort should be directed towards attracting, engaging, and converting your target audience.

You need to figure out how to engage the prospects on your website and boost your conversion rates in the process. The more you know about your target audience, the better you’ll be in defining the user journey on your website and developing effective marketing tactics that convert users.

What Is a User Journey?

When you want to develop a user journey, you want to map out the behavior of the users by using data. According to Hubspot, a (Customer) User Journey map is:

“a visual representation of the process a customer or prospect goes through to achieve a goal with your company. With the help of a customer journey map, you can get a sense of your customers’ motivations — their needs and pain points.”

A user journey can help you map out the entire process, from the beginning to the final customer touchpoint, and helps you assess if the users are reaching the goals or not.

Track the Behavioral Stages

The behavior of your website visitors can provide you with sufficient data on how the users think, act, and make their decisions. If you’re not aware how one of your pages contributes to your conversion rate, you won’t know how to optimize that page in order to make it even more powerful.

User behavior and its stages can change depending on the preferences and patterns of the users. This is why before you define the perfect behavior stages, it is critical to learn how people currently behave on your site.

One of the best analytics tools for the purpose is Google Analytics. GA can tell you nearly everything about user behavior on your website, including:

  • User Entry: How the users arrive on your website.
  • Behavior Flow: Where do the users go when they arrive on your site.
  • Engagement: How do users engage with your website.

User Entry

Open your GA, and head to “Behavior” and click “Behavior Flow”. You will be presented with the following chart:

The first column of the chart, called “Landing Page”, is the first URL of your website that users enter, or in other words, the first page users arrive on.

As you can see, the landing page takes the users through several other pages, all the way to their final destination. You need to investigate all of these pages and define where, how, and why the users are redirected from one specific page to another.

If you want to get more information on why the users enter these the specific pages, you can add a modifier to your Behavior Flow chart. Just click on the dropdown menu on the upper-left hand corner of the chart, and pick the variable that you want to add:

For example, if you select Acquisition → Default Channel Grouping, you’ll get an analysis of your main traffic sources.

This report can help you grasp why some of your pages get more traffic than other ones, and how the user journey continues from there. You need to work on enhancing the most popular landing pages of your site to improve overall first impressions.

Behavior Flow

By now, you’re already familiar with the GA’s Behavior Flow chart above. At this point, as opposed to looking at the entrance pages, you can examine how the users interact with other parts of your site. Essentially, the behavior flow report displays exactly where the target users go after the initial entry.

Each new page that the user opens after the entry represents the first, second, third interaction, and so on. Besides the flow chart, there are also other valuable sources of behavior insights that you can get with GA. You can simply go to Behavior → Overview.

In this report, you’ll find some key insights about the general behavior, including the average time that a user spends on your website, the collective bounce rate, and the most visited pages of your website. The key insights that you need to keep an eye for are:

  • Bounce Rates: Which are the pages where you fail to convert your visitors? There can be lots of reasons for the high bounce rate of these pages, it may be the lack of quality content or an intrusive feature that pushes the users away.
  • Major Connections: Look at the Behavior Flow report, and see which of your internal pages and how long do the users stay on them. The higher the number of interactions is, the better is the user flow of your website.
  • Traffic: What are the pages that get the most traffic? What sets these pages apart from others on your website? And what makes people want to visit them?

Bottom line, in order to understand user behavior on your site, you need to be constantly informed with the latest site performance data from your Google Analytics account. The next logical step in defining the user journey on your website to take applicable steps and improve the customer experience.

Define the Behavioral Phases

Building a high-converting user journey asks for an excellent understanding of your target customers, their needs, motivations, and habits. Before you define the behavioral stages, you need to validate your customer personas:

  • Where are your customers located?
  • What are their spending habits?
  • What is their budget?
  • What is their average age?
  • What are their habits, hobbies, occupations?
  • In which industry do they work?
  • How do they access your products/services?
  • How do they access your website?

By now, you may already have the information that can help you to get a better grasp on your customer personas. Additionally, you can collect feedback from your current customers who have already interacted with your brand:

  • How did they found out about your company?
  • What attracted them to your website?
  • What are the goals that they want to achieve on your website?
  • How much time do they spend on your website?
  • How easy is for them to navigate on your website?
  • Is there any way to make the process of using your website easier for them?

When you have your customer personas in place, you need to investigate what they want to achieve as they go through the buyer journey on your website. Understanding and defining customer goals is critical when you want to develop a user journey map.

Think about what are the goals that the customers want to achieve, and see if your website is able to sustain those goals.

Define the Touchpoints

A “touch” happens every time the target user comes into contact with your company. This also embodies your website as well!

On the basis of your customer persona and user behavior research, you need to be aware of all the touchpoints that prospects will make use of on your website, as well as the touchpoints that they should be using. If the user journey exercises fewer touchpoints as you’d expect to, perhaps your website is not optimized enough for a lower bounce rate.

And on the contrary, more touchpoints than necessary can indicate that the user journey on your website is too complex. A touchpoint doesn’t imply only for your website. In the user journey, you can also include a paid ad, email marketing, social media mentions, and a link from another site that mentions your company.

The actions that your target customers make when they engage with your company could be from a Google search to clicking a link in an email newsletter or a social media post. Each of these actions is driven by emotions. This motive can be their pain point, the problem that they want to solve with your help!

Being aware of their paint points should direct you towards providing the content and the layout that will help them uncover the solution on your website.

Fix the Obstacles

Is there something that you can fix on your website that would improve the user journey? Or, you need to rebuild things all over again or make small alterations that can boost your conversion rate?

For example, some users might complain about a certain feature, and if that happens frequently, you need to do something about it. The end objective of your pages should always be to push prospects down the funnel and convert them. Ultimately, you should always aim to convert your web visitors, and every retouch on your pages should facilitate that goal.

Set up Your Website

When you want to align your website for a maximum user journey effect, you need to start with a plan! Think about your company mission, vision, goals, and the approaches that can help you achieve them. You need to also put yourself in the users’ shoes and understand what they want to see on each of your pages. The end goal is to incorporate each web element based on your buyer persona.

Focus on UX

A positive experience with your website can make all the difference. When improving your UX, here’s what you need to focus on:

  • Speed: There are no longer excuses for having a slow website. There are numerous ways to improve your website’s speed immediately, including the usage of a caching plugin, image optimization, database optimization, minifying CSS and JavaScript, reducing HTTP requests.
  • Clear CTA: You need to know how to highlight your CTA. Have a clear message, with the right typography, colors, and tone. The CTA needs to be positioned in a way that makes the entire visual experience of your page far better.
  • Scannable Content: Format your content to be scannable so users won’t have any obstacles when they browse your site. This will reduce their task errors and the bounce rate, and will help them comprehend what you want to communicate.

Improve the Navigation

One of the most important characteristics of an excellent customer journey is a faultless web navigation. This is vital if you want to keep the users on your site and can make or break your conversion rate. So, if you don’t want to chase the users away, here’s what you need to improve when it comes to web navigation:

  • Limit the Number of Menu Items: In general, the menu selection items shouldn’t be more than 7-8. Users might not have a lot of time to spend on your site, so organize your content in less than ten categories. Too many categories can lead to indecision anyway.
  • Don’t Deceive the Users: Never have misleading or inaccurate titles or links that can damage the user journey. It is one of the biggest reasons for site abandonment. Misleading them will be catastrophic not only for your brand reputation but for the entire site UX as well.
  • Include Image Alt Text: If your images are clickable, you need to give them an alt attribute with text that is matched with the page that is linked. With that, you’ll let users know that there’s a link behind the image and that they can click it.
  • An Obvious Search Box: One of the most utilized options on a website is its search box. Thus, it is a vital component of every web navigation. A search box can provide users with easy access to the information they need. The ideal place for any search box is at the top of the sidebar, or in the header area of the page.
  • Use Colors Wisely: Colors can make a difference when you want to separate one component of your website from another. You can use one color for the navigation bar so it can be apparent to users. If the background of your site is bright, you can use a softer color for the navigation bar, and vice versa.

Design a User Flow Diagram

The best way to summarise the user journey of your website is to create a user flow map or a diagram. A diagram can help you work out what it will take for the users to complete the desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing your product.

According to Neil Patel, the best user flows are simple and geared towards action. The mapping process alone is what helps you to keep users in the funnel and to define where the goals will meet their needs. When you know where users interact the most, you can focus your efforts for maximum conversions.

If you already have your Google Analytics behavior flow data ready, you can easily map out and redefine the user journey. The best way to achieve this is either using a spreadsheet or a flowchart/wireframing tool.

As we mentioned before, the user journey doesn’t have to be complicated. But, it needs to be helpful enough so you’ll be able to improve the weak spots of your sales funnel. With that being said, a simple user flow spreadsheet may look like the following ones below.

Of course, you can opt for user mapping tools, such as:

Wrapping Up

Knowing what kind of experience the users have on your website is essential for increased conversion rates and long-term business growth. When you envision how she or he interacts with your website, you can estimate the time a user stays on the pages, or leaves the page, and provide a better user experience for your existing and prospective customers.

Now, it is time to take everything that you’ve learned from this article and apply it in order to make a significant change towards your business goals! When you provide the best possible experience from start to end of the user journey, you can enhance client satisfaction and improve your sales and customer retention rate.

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