The Practical Guide to Analyzing and Optimizing Your Blog

by Cecilia Haynes

Last updated on October 9th, 2018

Crazy Egg's Practical Guide To Analyzing A Webpage

Google Analytics can be an intimidating tool to many marketers. It contains tons of information about your website visitors, but unlocking insights and coming up with action items is often a challenge when you’re faced with so much data.

To avoid data paralysis, we recommend using Google Analytics to uncover your most popular webpages (let’s say your Top 5 to begin with), and then using Crazy Egg’s user behavior reports (Heatmaps, Scrollmaps, Confetti, Overlay and List) and A/B testing tools to optimize them. That way, every positive design change you make has the biggest impact to a visitor’s experience of your website — and your revenue goals.

If you’re not sure how to get started, we’re going to walk you step by step through the process of running and analyzing each report to identify your biggest opportunities for improvement. For the sake of this post, we’ll focus on a popular source of website traffic: your blog.

A blog is an excellent tool for boosting brand awareness and allowing you to build up a community of visitors who regularly return, share, and interact with your content. Done right, a blog is an ideal way to draw in your target audience, introduce them to your company, and even turn them into leads.

Staying top of mind can be the difference between a sale or a loss, and you’re more likely to make the sale if you can motivate visitors to achieve your goals, such as:

  • Increasing your newsletter subscriber count
  • Clicking on a product CTA
  • Downloading an ebook

But how do you know if your blog is the absolute best that it can be at converting visitors?

Enter user behavior reports. These are tools that allow you to see exactly how people are using your blog (or any other webpage), and whether they find your content compelling.

While it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to optimizing your blog, we’ve made it easy for you with a complete breakdown of the practical steps you can take to kick off the process.

What To Consider When Beginning the Webpage Analysis Process

As you enter the analysis phase of optimizing your blog, you should be focused on three guiding principles:

  1. Decide on what goals you’d like your visitors to accomplish
  2. Identify areas of improvement and opportunity
  3. List these areas in order of greatest impact and least amount of effort

The process of website optimization is never-ending, so it’s helpful to have a framework that keeps you on track. Figure out what changes you can make immediately that will allow you to accomplish your central goals, and then plot out a timeline for rolling out the larger adjustments.

This incremental approach also allows you to test what’s working and what’s not without muddying your results with too many variables.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus my main goal on increasing my subscriber count.

Step 1: Run a Heatmap Report

No matter the layout of your blog’s homepage, it’s always important to know what people are clicking on. Not only does this tell you what content they find the most interesting, but you’ll also be able to see what CTAs are the most effective and which ones could use some work.

Take this Crazy Egg Heatmap of the Quicksprout Blog, for example:

Quicksprout Blog Heatmap

You can see that the navigation on the right-hand side is very popular, but there doesn’t seem to be a consistent resource or link that attracts a great deal of attention. In this case, I would reduce the number of links and add an image along with a small blurb describing that link.

This approach allows me to direct people towards my most valuable resources, and provides an incentive for people to click through.

Another great way to use a Heatmap is to compare CTAs:

Use Heatmaps to compare CTAs

In this case, the two CTAs highlighted in blue are less clicked on than the newsletter subscribe CTA highlighted in red at the bottom.

This is to be expected on a blog, so here are the two design changes I would test and compare to see if they improved my subscriber conversion rate:

  1. Move the subscribe CTA further up to get a boost in submissions
  2. Eliminate one of the other CTAs to reduce decision paralysis

Step 2: Examine Your Scrollmap

One of the main goals of a blog is to keep visitors on the page by providing them with content that they want to read.

Use your Scrollmap to full effect by zooming out so you can quickly see where the vast majority of people start scrolling past your content, or even dropping off your page.

using a scroll map on your blog

What you’re looking for are areas of color transition so you can add in content that entices people to continue scrolling down.

In this case, I would shorten each of the article snippets to give visitors more options for articles they might want to read.

spotting overlooked CTAs with scroll maps and heat maps

Another approach is to use your Heatmap with your Scrollmap to spot areas of opportunity like CTAs that are being overlooked.

In this example, the subscribe CTA which was receiving the most clicks and submissions actually falls in an area of blue transition. While not many people are seeing the CTA, the people that do are submitting their email!

This piece of information reinforces that I should move the subscribe CTA into a white, yellow, or red region with more traffic.

Step 3: Study Your Confetti Report

Once you’ve looked at a few high-level visual reports, it’s time to drill down into the data. The Confetti Report is a good transition report to help you understand the audience segments interacting with your site.

Confetti report overview

In this example, I’m looking at the number of clicks of new versus returning visitors. This is especially valuable data to compare with your website visitor analytics.

For example, say your Google Analytics showed that the majority of your page visits are new, but your Crazy Egg report shows that there’s an even split in clicks between the two groups.

This shows that there is a massive area of opportunity for capturing more clicks from your new visitors.

In this case, along with moving the subscribe CTA further up the page, I would also change up the copy to include elements like social proof and a compelling reason to submit an email: “Join 200,000 digital marketers to receive the latest optimization tips straight to your inbox.”

Confetti Report: segment audience by referral source

Another valuable data point to use is to segment your audience by referral source. Finding out if people from different sources are clicking on specific links will help you:

  • Create related posts
  • Develop pathways of content through each of your articles so that visitors are motivated to stay on your blog longer

You can also see how the behavior differs between people who came to your blog through paid ads versus organic traffic.

This lets you know the ROI of your paid ad efforts by showing you whether those visitors are more likely to convert, or whether you should focus on driving organic traffic.

In the example above, the vast majority of people are coming to the blog from the Quick Sprout homepage. This tells me that I should double down on creating content that speaks to increasing website traffic and employing SEO best practices. Then I have a double advantage:

  • Keeping people on the page longer
  • Enticing them to subscribe so they never miss an article

Step 4: Explore Your Overlay Report

The Overlay Report lets you get even more granular into the data of every single click on every single element of your page. Because the Overlay Report can feel overwhelming (especially if you have a ton of links), it’s helpful to use your main goal to give you a starting point on what to look at.

In this case, I’m focusing on upping my subscriber base so I want to focus on my CTAs first.

Crazy Egg Overlay Report: Blog

Always use your reports together to verify and validate each of your hypotheses. As you can see, the image above confirms that the subscribe CTA is the most popular and should be moved higher up.

However, an interesting other dimension is that while the subscribe CTA is more appealing to new visitors, the other two CTAs are more appealing to returning visitors.

This reinforces the other hypothesis I had in Step 1 of removing one of the lower performing CTAs while keeping the other. This way I still have a CTA that speaks to returning visitors, while increasing the likelihood of it receiving clicks. The other benefit to this approach is that other two CTAs are more valuable to the sales funnel.

While you may be receiving a lower volume of clicks, each click can actually be more valuable because they move your visitors along the path to becoming a lead.

Overlay Report Pro Tip: Take a look at the Referrer breakdown of each click to check on the success of your paid campaigns.

Step 5: Analyze Your List Report

The List Report can both be the final step and the first step in your analysis process. It lets you see your top links organized by popularity, so you can easily pick out the most impactful elements. You can use this information to develop a goal to reach, as well as to spot areas of opportunity that you can then take back to the Heatmap stage.

Overview of Crazy Egg List Report

The driving goal in this article has been to increase the email submissions on the subscribe CTA. It is currently in 12th place, with 142 clicks and a mere 2.6% of overall clicks on the page.

My goal going into A/B testing would be to increase its ranking and click percentage.

The Overlay Report would be my go-to for validating if I was successful or not.

As a first step, the List Report helps you immediately see which links and resources are drawing the highest share of clicks. You can then use that information to go back to your Heatmap to check the areas of the page where they’re located. At that point, start the cycle over again as you: 

  • Look for ways to add in more impactful CTAs to those popular regions
  • See if you can spot other low hanging fruit for optimizing your page

You can also use the List Report as a way to source content by writing more articles that resonate with the top 10 most clicked links.

The Website Optimization Cycle

design-email-newsletter-template-conclusion

Your website is your platform to educate, entertain, and entice your visitors — so make sure that you don’t lose sight of its true purpose as you begin your optimization efforts.

Remember that your analytics tools and data channels are best used in tandem so that you make informed decisions as you enter every round of ideation, testing and analysis.

Each cycle will help you build on previous hypotheses so you can continue to increase your traffic and convert more of your visitors into qualified leads.

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Cecilia Haynes

Cecilia Haynes is the Product Marketer at Crazy Egg, working remotely from Florida and Hong Kong. She loves helping customers, traveling, and eating all the things. You can follow her on Twitter @unsettledtck.

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