Goal-oriented User Behavior

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Visitor Goals

Take-home message: visitor website behavior is goal-oriented. People who visit websites are usually trying to accomplish something. Your job if you work on a website is to facilitate this. There are some essential questions to ask;

  1. What are people who visit your website trying to accomplish?
  2. What are you doing to understand them?
  3. What are you doing to help them?

By studying traffic statistics for the past ten years across thousands of sites we have learned that website behavior is increasingly goal-oriented. In the past people seemed to do more surfing for “fun” - for example visiting company websites out of curiosity.
No-Brainer: Use traffic information to improve your website.

Q: What should you do with this insight?
A: Reverse engineer your website from a user-experience point of view. What does this mean in plain language? Figure out what people are trying to do, make sure they can do it quickly and easily. This applies to improvement of an existing site or creation of a new website.
How-to: improve visitor experience and likelihood that visitors acheive their goals

  1. Know what goals your visitors have
  2. Focus what you are offering – provide what people want
  3. Reduce the amount of clicks needed
  4. Make the process easier for them

Surfing behavior and the average amount of time people spend on website pages has changed. The vast majority of internet pageviews last 1 or 2 seconds. Writing on the internet evolves to reflect new reading habits. Many changes have been understood using website statistics. News websites are a good example. Look at the formatting on BBC, CNN or Yahoo. These sites continously re-invent themselves based on how and where people click, and how long they view. These websites base their design on the behavior of millions of daily visitors using traffic statistics.

Pages of text have been replaced with paragraphs. Paragraphs have been replaced with sentences. Pages are being re-designed to meet specific steps visitors make to reach their goals.

Part 1 of this article, above, is concerned with creating a website that helps visitors achieve their goals, next are webmaster goals.

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Webmaster Goals

A Webmaster Goal is a goal that people who build websites want to encourage, for example signing up, making a purchase, or requesting information.

Encouraging your visitors to convert to your goals
Website designers build sites that encourage visitors to take certain actions (goals). Advertising campaigns are measured in success by the number of goal conversions which take place.

Combine goals for greater success
Action point: combine visitor goals and webmaster goals where possible.

  1. You want your visitors to convert to your goals
  2. Your visitors are trying to accomplish their own goals
  3. Find the overlap between these two activities and win-win

Increase the likelihood of goal conversion 
Strategy from the business point of view: every website has goals. Websites can be reverse-engineered in order to make sure that visitors are led to the goals.

How can statistics be used to increase goal conversion?

  1. Stats can be used to examine Goal Conversion scientifically and determine how to increase goal conversion likelihood &
  2. Visitor behavior, specifically in terms of how visitors find a website; the search terms typed and referrers used can be utilized to grow trends. For example, generating content related to most-used words, topics, and terms on the internet.

Conclusion

based on traffic and clickstream data we know that, more often than not, people are trying to accomplish a goal when they visit a website. Visitor statistics play a central role in increasing website performance and value. As a business, the easier you make it for people to accomplish their goals, the more visitors you will have, and the happier these visitors will be. In other words, the greater likelihood that they will return.

Glossary:

Conversion
Goal
Source
ROI

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