How to Better Understand Your Website User Behavior


This is an article by Oscar Waterworth. He is a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.


The success of any online business largely depends on one particular thing – user activity – that’s just a fact. No matter if you’re a new ecommerce platform selling goods directly to consumers or a small, local business trying to build a reputation – your site lives and dies by the activity of your users.

If a user doesn’t like your website on the first visit – chances are they won’t give it another chance.

As Search Engine Watch reports, a Google survey from a few years back revealed that almost 80% of users will go back to search and look for another website if they don’t like what they see on your site. Now you see why user experience is so important to so many people.

And speaking of Google, you probably know that they are ready to go to great lengths to provide a great experience for their users. This leads us to a rather simple conclusion – making an effort to improve user experience will definitely improve your rankings.

However, if you want to pamper your visitors, you have to get to know them first…

Getting to know your visitors

The age range of your users

For the first time in recorded history, we have no less than five generations in the US workforce, working side by side. You need to realize that all of these people are your potential customers and that all of them have different habits, expectations and standards.

These are five groups you should get familiar with:

  1. Traditionalists: People who were born in the 1940s and came of age in the late 50s and early 60s. They usually aren’t impulse shoppers, so attracting this demographic will take a lot of work.
  2. Baby boomers: These guys lived through the most stable period of US history. This means they are usually big spenders, despite their age.
  3. Gen X-ers: Generation X has just recently hit the peak of its earning potential. They were there for the birth of the Internet, which means they don’t have a problem with ecommerce.
  4. Millennials: This should be your main focus group. Millennials have finally entered adulthood and they don’t even remember the world without computers and lightning-fast Internet connections.
  5. Gen Z-ers: Although the members of this generation are still in their teens, you should consider marketing toward them while they are still developing.

Important sociological factors

People from all walks of life visit your site on a daily basis. They all have different attributes, and luckily, they can be broken down to help you understand specific characteristics. Here are a few things you should definitely know about your users:

  • Are they married or single?
  • Do they have any children?
  • Are they renting or owning a house?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Do they have any specific hobbies?

Once you get answers to some of these questions, you’ll be able to understand what influences their behavior the most. This is crucial, because this behavior influences how they search just as much as how they shop…

The words your visitors use

Users that type in “how to” into their search engines are always looking for specific answers to specific questions. Those that search using the phrase “best” are looking for a list of top-performing services or top-selling products. You get the gist. This information can help you create and target your content.

In order to discover what words are users choosing to use, you’ll have to do some keyword research. The most popular tools for this are AdWords and Google Analytics that can give you demographic information about your keywords.

Responding to their needs

Learn how to hold their attention

On average, users decide whether they like your website or not in roughly 10 seconds, according to statistics compiled by HubSpot. So, no matter how good your product or service is, chances are, the average consumer won’t be able to see it.

In addition to eye-catching design, you have to make sure to create content that will offer some genuine value to your visitors. By promoting useful content, instead just your products, you’ll be able to increase the number of visitors and improve your retention rates significantly.

Don’t give them too many choices

Making decisions is not easy – for some people, it’s downright stressful. And just because a person has read an article you’ve written doesn’t actually mean they are going to look up or evaluate your product – let alone buy it.

You have to lead the consumer to your product. You can accomplish this by establishing a clear conversion tunnel. But you need to do some planning before you start. Creating well-defined steps to converting a random visitor into a loyal customer will give you the ability to focus on bigger issues.

Establish a trustworthy site

When it’s all said and done, people opt to do business with companies they trust. Trying to make someone buy an expensive item before establishing a relationship is pretty much like proposing to a girl on the first date. You should start with baby steps…

For instance, start by asking the users for their email address and try to build trust over time. And as Black Friday 2017 statistics have shown, email is still an effective tool, seeing as how it had the highest conversion rate during the Black Friday weekend.

The bottom line

Although we’ve outlined a couple of common user behaviors in this article, the fact of the matter is, consumer behaviors are pretty unpredictable. What works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa. That’s the harsh truth.

Luckily for you, there are some amazing tools and resources out there that can help you learn more about your users’ habits. That means, if you really want to study the behavior of your users, you’ll have to put in some effort – but trust us – it’s well worth your time and it will pay off in the long run.

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