5 Ways To Figure Out What Your Site Visitors Actually Want

If you make a living from your WordPress website(s), then you need to know what your visitors want. It’s natural to assume that you already know exactly what your visitors want. You got them to show up in the first place, right!

Except, maybe you don’t…

Assuming that you know what your visitors want is a sure-fire way to lose at least some of your visitors’ attention prematurely. And, the good news is that pinpointing your visitors’ needs and wants really isn’t all that complex.

In this article, we’ll take a look at four tools you can use to answer five specific questions about your website visitors. That way, you can make sure that you’re hitting the mark and delivering the content your visitors are googling.

1. What Are Your Visitors Looking For?

Screenshot of the Google Search Console Website

Search Console is a free service from Google that was previously known as Webmaster Tools. Search Console lets you monitor the appearance of your site in Google’s search results and keep track of the terms Googlers use to reach your site.

Many novice users confuse Google Analytics with Search Console. There’s good reason for this confusion: both services are provided by Google, and once you have both set up Search Console, data can be integrated into Google Analytics. However, if you’re just getting started with Search Console, you need to set up Search Console separately from your analytics account.

Solution: Use Google Search Console to Pinpoint the Information Your Visitors are Looking For

Screenshot of search terms in Search Console

Search Console provides a wealth of information about the search terms that lead visitors to your site. You can sort the data to view how your site performs for each term based on the number of clicks, number of impressions, click-through-rate, and average position in search engine results. You can also filter the results by landing page, search country of origin, device, and type of search (web, video, or image).

Search Console is great for clueing you into the specific topics users are looking for when they reach your site.

Dig deep into this information and you may find some surprising topics that you didn’t realize some of your visitors were looking for. What’s even better about finding these sorts of hidden surprises is that you know it’s worth investing the time to create relevant content because Google is already sending relevant traffic your way.

2. What Content Do Your Users Like The Most (and Least)?

Screenshot of the Google Analytics website

Google Analytics (GA) is a free service you can use to find out a great deal about your website traffic. If you’ve never set up GA before, it really isn’t that hard to get started and we’ve written a detailed tutorial that will help you get going: Getting Started with Google Analytics.

When visitors find a specific bit of content useful, they stick around for longer and view additional pages. This is good for you because it means more page views, a more engaged audience, and ultimately, more opportunities to convert visitors into customers and subscribers.

You can use Google Analytics to help you identify your best content by looking for the content with the longest average time on page and the lowest bounce rate. Then, you can study your best-performing pages for clues about what makes them so effective and put what you learn into use when you new content or improve existing underperforming content.

Solution: Use Google Analytics to Spot Your Best (and Worst) Content

Log into GA and go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This will bring up a list of your most popular site content along with key performance metrics for each page.

Screenshot of most popular content pages from Google Analytics

As we just mentioned, the key things to look for here are the average time on page and the bounce rate. A low bounce rate and high average time on page indicate that your audience finds that particular bit of content to be extremely useful.

Another useful way to look at this data is to click on the average time on page and bounce rate columns. This will sort the data so that you can see the pages with best and worst average time on site and bounce rate values.

After sorting the data, look for any outliers. Outliers, whether positive or negative, can help you pinpoint the topics and content formats that either work really well or very poorly for your audience.

3. Is Your Content Relevant to Search Users?

Another question Google Analytics can help answer about your audience is whether or not users who reach your site via Google’s search results find your content to be relevant. To see what I mean, log into Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, and from the list of channels click on Organic Search.

When you do this, you’ll see a list that looks something like the following image:

Screenshot of the most popular search terms in Google Analytics.

Taking a look at the image above, what can we gather from this information?

Well, for one thing, we can gather that the analytics admin user needs to learn how to filter out the spam keyword showing up in the fifth place. In addition, it is noteworthy that a lot of traffic lands at this site using some variation of the term “centrifugal pump parts” and, quite frankly, this site sucks at meeting the needs of those search users. The time on site is quite short and the bounce rate far too high.

For this particular site, this stands as a great opportunity for improvement. Since this site already ranks highly for these specific terms, it would behoove this site’s owner to do some work better meeting the needs of search users.

JOBS & PROS

Find Jobs, Get Paid

Browse jobs that suit your skills, or list a job for another member. WPMU DEV is full of talented and creative people so we made it easy to find and hire them.

TRY WPMU DEV FREE LEARN MORE

4. What Do Your Users Think?

If you’ve never created a survey before, then it might seem really easy. You just throw together a handful of questions, get them in front of your visitors, and you’re done. Right?

Not so fast! First, crafting an effective survey that generates useful insights takes a lot of thought and effort. Second, getting a large enough pool of survey answers to come to any real conclusions can be difficult. Third, there’s the technical angle to consider. How will you build your survey and collect responses?

Surveys can be an effective means to find out more about your audience, but only if you’re willing to put in some real effort.

Use Surveys to Collect Complex Information

If you’re considering using a survey, take a minute to think about the types of information surveys are good at capturing.

Filling out a survey involves a certain time commitment and survey takers need to be invested in the process. This means that surveys are great for collecting information from regular readers – such as the audience that receives your email newsletter – but not as good for collecting information from casual browsers.

This has certain implications. If you’re trying to gather information about prospective users, then a survey will be a tough sell. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about your most loyal existing customers, you’ll find it much easier to gather responses.

Surveys are most effective when they are used to generate open-ended answers. However, this means that the results will need to be analyzed qualitatively rather than quantitatively.

If you just want simple stats and quick answers, a survey probably isn’t the best tool. Instead, use a poll or dig for the data using analytics. On the other hand, if you want in-depth opinion, you might be on the right track with a survey.

5. What Gets Your Users’ Attention?

If you want to find out how users will instinctively respond to specific design elements — colors, layouts, headlines, images, and so forth — A/B testing is the way to go. Over time, you can use A/B testing to figure out things like:

  • Email newsletter subject line formats that get the best open rate.
  • Blog post title strategies that get the most clicks on social media.
  • Image types that get the most social media interaction.
  • Call-to-action colors and copy that produce the highest conversion rates.
  • Opt-in form designs that are more or less effective.
  • Related post widget designs that get the most clicks.

And that’s certainly not the end of the list. A/B testing is a flexible tool you can use to make all aspects of your digital marketing efforts vastly more effective.

Use A/B Testing to Watch Your Users’ Natural Reactions

The good news is that getting started with A/B testing is easier than you might think. Here are four resources to get you started:

Wrapping Up

If you’ve never taken the time to find out what your visitors and users really want, you may be making some wrong assumptions that are costing you money. However, by leveraging a few tools — Search Console, Google Analytics, surveys, and A/B testing — you can pinpoint your users’ needs, wants, and preferences. Then, you can put what you’ve learned into action to generate more traffic, keep your visitors around for longer, better meet your visitors’ needs, and optimize every aspect of your digital marketing strategy for maximum performance.

Jon Penland
What is your favorite tool for pinpointing your site users' needs and wants? Let us know in the comments section below!