Analytics provide you with the data you need to measure how successful a particular page is. You can only know how effective your landing pages are if you have some form of analytics installed.
The best thing about analytics is that there are a lot of options to choose from and there is one that is even free and easy to deploy: Google Analytics.
Setting up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is free to use. If you do not have it yet, just go to the Google Analytics page at http://www.google.com/analytics/ and sign up for an account. Follow the steps to get your tracking code.
Ideally, you would need to put this tracking code on all the pages you want to track.
Familiarizing Yourself with Google Analytics
When you view your site’s Google Analytics Dashboard, you will see an overview of your site’s activity such as the number of visits, page views, unique visits and other stuff.
To see the information on the pages that your users first see on your site, click on the “Content” tab found on the left navigational column. The menu will expand to reveal several links, click on “Site Content” and then on “Landing Pages.”
This will show you the different entrance pages for your site, along with the number of visits, the number of pages per visits, and other data.
Measuring and improving your landing pages
So how do you make sense of these numbers and measure your landing page performance?
1. Take a look at the bounce rate.
Bounce rate is an important indicator of a page’s performance in that it tells you the percentage of visitors who leave your page shortly after getting to it.
A high bounce rate is a very bad thing for your site. This means that you may have used keywords that are not relevant to your landing page. Search Engine Land suggests that you rewrite your content to make it more relevant to your keywords, making sure that your content talks about your keywords. This is to ensure that your visitors will not have any misconceptions about what your page is about. For example, if your keyword is “outer space,” then people clicking on that link will feel misled if it talks about camping.
It may also be that your page design is the problem. Your design must not be confusing to readers or they will exit the page. Search Engine Land suggests using some tools to help you determine whether there are negatively distracting elements on your page that makes your visitors lose their interest. You could use Attention Wizard (http://www.attentionwizard.com/) to see where your visitors are focusing their attention once they get to your site. You could also use ClickTale (http://www.clicktale.com/).
Bounce problems can effectively stop people from exploring your site or buying your products. Fortunately, these are really easy to fix.
2. Taking a look at all the other data available to you.
Measuring the performance of your landing page is not all about bounce rates. You can look at the other data in your analytics to gauge whether your landing pages are good or need improvement.
a) Unique visitors.
According to the StatCounter Blog, Unique Visitors is the number of “first time visitors” and does not include the repeat visits. This will tell you whether your content or marketing campaigns are doing a good job in driving people to your site.
b) Compare unique and repeat visitors.
You should strike a balance between your unique and repeat visitors. Too many unique visitors might mean that you are not getting the patronage you need. People find your site and do not consider it interesting enough to return at a future date. Too many repeat visitors, on the other hand, means that you may not be able to grow your audience and you might not be able to get new business.
c) Most popular landing pages.
Check out which of your pages are popular and you will notice a trend or pattern. This can tell you what kind of content your customers want.
d) Conversion rates.
Google Analytics and other analytics packages give you a chance to monitor conversion. It can help you see if a visitor converts to a lead or customer. In Google Analytics, you can do this by setting up goals. For example, how many people go from your landing page to your Thank You page?
Analytics can give you a lot of insights into what makes a page work or fail. It can really help in determining which pages need work and what needs to be improved.