The wonderful notifications of something being purchased online from your website.
In this post – I want to cover figuring out the WHY of sales – why did a particular visitor become a customer? Why did those sales happen on your website? What were the triggers that made the customer finally purchase from you? What pages of your website really help the visitor to ultimately buy from your website? What type of content really helps in converting your website visitor?
This post is primarily for online businesses that are selling any kind of products or services that can be bought directly online (physical, digital, coaching etc) and now you want truly understand better what really leads to sales online on your website.
You have a website – there are all types of things in there ranging from who you are, your content, services, products, essential pages and so on. You have been creating content for quite a while using various blogs, guest blogs, research and much more. Your business has been growing steadily or even at a faster pace – things are really moving forward for you.
However, you have been doing this for quite long and want to deeply understand your website’s performance from a conversion perspective
- You want to know what is working, what is not working on your website.
- You want to know which pages lead your visitors to convert and become customer.
- You want to know what type of content converts visitors on your website so you can create more of them.
The answers to above questions can lead to a lot of actionable insights in your business that you can actually take and start working on – once you know that “X” page of your website is what leads people to buy (or not) – you can go in and further optimize that page, create a set of pages, create a funnel to educate your potential customers more and so on.
In any kind of website analysis or data analysis – the right questions are more important than the answers at the start. The right questions should come from the business context and the problems you are trying to solve. Make sure you create your business questions before you jump right into the analysis – I have added all sorts of questions at the start and end of my blog for reference – you can take them and customize it for your business with all the context that you would have.
So without further ado, let’s get into how to do all of the above in deep on finding Your Websites Most Valuable pages.
- 1 1. Finding your checkout & purchase page’s URL
- 2 2. Finding which pages the visitors went to before buying in that session
- 3 3. Removing all the obvious and non-relevant pages from this dataset
- 4 4. Checking these pages and doing a complete analysis of these pages from a visitor’s point of view
- 5 5. Improving these pages
1. Finding your checkout & purchase page’s URL
We will be using Google Analytics data & basic excel/Google sheets for figuring this out.
Let’s start from the end point here – a visitor just bought from your website – he just became a customer on your website now. This means that he has visited the “Checkout” & final “Purchase” page of your website – let’s quickly find out the checkout page of your website if you do not know this already.
We can do this by testing your website as a test buyer (most portals have an option for testing) or by going to Google Analytics (Behavior -> Site Content -> Pages and searching for checkout or similar terms)
All the following process & steps will be done for checkout page URL only. You can repeat this for a final purchase URL also or rather, any other URL that you want to analyze. I would recommend doing it for both pages to get maximum insights & output from this analysis
For now, let’s assume that the URL of your checkout page is as follows:
URL: www.mywebsite.com/checkout (Google analytics shows only URI – “/checkout” )
Now, let’s see how many people really visit “checkout” pages in a week, a month, three months etc to get the feel of how visitors are converting to customers.
Now, we need to figure out exactly what this visitor did before visiting this page – for which we will be using a combination of Previous Page Path, Behavior flow & Users Flow reports in Google analytics – all of which will help us understand the customer journey before the visitor actually bought from your website.
2. Finding which pages the visitors went to before buying in that session
To find the set of pages the user has just visited before the purchase, we will be using the “Site Content” report under “Behavior” section and then use the “Next Page path” under secondary dimensions to set this up
Head in to Google Analytics -> select “Behavior” -> select “Site Content” -> select “All Pages” -> this report gives you all the pages viewed on your website, which is very useful data. Now, you click on “Secondary dimension” to select “Previous page path”
After this you can filter into your actual checkout page by filtering your data. To filter your data, click on “Advanced” and choose page containing as “checkout” as shown below. After this click on Apply and see the data
3. Removing all the obvious and non-relevant pages from this dataset
Now, Inside this report, you will see a list of pages that were viewed before your actual “checkout” page. If you can’t see it – you must have done something wrong – go back and repeat 2nd step again.
The next step is to remove the non-relevant previous pages here where you are looking at the same page as the previous page and a few obvious pages. Obvious pages could mean anything from the same page to the product page to your course page and so on. A visitor will surely view the product/course/service page before buying – because that is where he is checking out from. So, we need to remove these pages and look at only the content pages or blogs or other pages that led him to finally convert.
There are multiple ways to do this – you can export the entire dataset to Google Sheets/Excel/CSV and filter data within that or you can make use of “Advanced filter” options in detail and go about filtering data in the GA panel itself. Just make sure you have filtered all the obvious pages someone will visit
4. Checking these pages and doing a complete analysis of these pages from a visitor’s point of view
If you have done all the steps properly till now, you will be looking at a set of pages that were viewed before the actual checkout pages or the purchase pages.
You would have also found a bunch of other pages – it could be blogs or some content that has been around on your website that people are reading before the actual purchase decision.
Now, we need to go a little deeper and understand the full flow and the customer journey. For this, we will be using mainly the “Behavior Flow” report that gives us the flow from content to content and eventually how people are moving towards checkout and purchase pages. We can also filter in the exact pages that need to be looked at.
You can look at it from two ways – going forward or going backward. For the former, you can choose your own page and click on “Highlight traffic through here” at the start of the flow or the pages below “landing page” in below image. For the latter, you can click on the pages and use the same option below “1st interaction/2nd interaction” accordingly.
For any changes, you can always select the actual pages and use the options “Highlight traffic through here”, “Group Details” by clicking on the actual icons.
This can be deeply explored to understand the actual user flow, the drop-offs and much more customized for each set of pages that we found before.
5. Improving these pages
By now – you know a set of pages that are leading visitors to convert, their drop offs, their conversions and a much better understanding of what is happening behind the scenes on your website!
Phew! That was a lot of work! This is what we started to find out – pat yourself on the back for all the work done here!
Just one final and most importantly,
Now looking at all the pages list and the analysis you did – you can go ahead and start improving, optimizing your most profitable pages.
There are three main Obstacles that stop someone from purchasing on your website regarding any possible service or product – they are as follows:
You have to make sure that there are pages or information that address all these three obstacles in detail and more importantly, tells them how they can get these back in multiple folds if they actually purchase.
Here are some final questions that you should ask yourself while improving your most important pages of your website
- Are we addressing all the three obstacles that stop visitors from purchasing via our website?
- How can I educate my customer better about my products?
- Are we answering all the questions and concerns that they might have at the last moment?
Hope all this information helped you in finding the most profitable blogs and content on your website and also in improving the same.
All this said, there are always situations and websites much more complex than this or much more deeper analysis that needs to be done to extract more business insights. For this and much more, our team is always happy to discuss your specific problem and give you the most customized solution that could have maximum impact in your business. Contact us for more details