How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Web Design

Discover the power of data-driven web design and learn how to use Google Analytics to your advantage.

Literally MILLIONS of websites use Google Analytics.

But how many of your competitors use it to help improve their web design?

The answer is all of them should, but very few actually do. So how can businesses use Google Analytics to inform and improve their website design? We’re going to show you.

Step #1: Double-check your Google Analytics connection

If you HAVE NOT set up Google Analytics …

All you need to do is sign up for an account, connect your website, and inject a piece of code into your site. Google Analytics walks you through this step-by-step. Or, if you have a web designer or developer on your team, you can ask for their assistance to set this up.

Keep in mind that it will take a few hours, days, or even weeks to collect enough data about each analytics property to make critical design changes.

If you DO HAVE Google Analytics connected …

Log in to your Google Analytics account and confirm successful implementation. You’ll know you correctly implemented Google Analytics if you see lots of data across most dashboards inside the platform.

Google Analytics Data
Properly displaying Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics pro tip:

You can’t improve your website’s design with data from Google Analytics if you don’t have enough of it…

If you aren’t sure if you have “enough” data, talk with a local web professional. They can double-check your Google Analytics connection.

And if you really want to get into tracking your website, talk to your web pro about Google Tag Manager!

Step #2: Identify your goals

An e-commerce apparel website has different goals than a local litigation attorney’s website. This is why it’s critical you identify the purpose of your website before making any major changes.

If you want your website to earn more online sales, you can focus on conversions. If you operate an affiliate website, you can focus on outbound link clicks. But if you want customers to spend more time on your website, you can focus on bounce rate (and what’s causing it). So on and so on.

Google Analytics pro tip:

Once you identify your goals, cross-check them against the data you collect via Google Analytics. For example, if you have an e-commerce website, make sure Google Analytics is set up to track online sales. Or, if you want to know how many phone calls your website generates, use phone call conversion tracking.

Step #3: Check out visitor behavior vs. your goal

Here’s where it gets a little tricky, so we’ll outline this with examples to break it down.

Let’s say that you own a monetized fashion website. You write lots of quality content about style, and each page has at least one outbound link to an apparel site. Every time a website visitor clicks one of those outbound links and makes a purchase, you earn a commission on that sale. Some pages earn more in commission than others.

In this case, a goal of yours could be to find out which pages earn the most in commission. This way you can identify why certain pages perform better than others, and design accordingly.

So … which metric in Google Analytics can help?

exit rates in Google Analytics

Exit rate! Pages with high exit rates (and no other obvious on-page issues) is a GOOD thing for affiliate sites. A page with a high exit rate means you did a good job persuading readers to go make a purchase.

Identify pages with high exit rates and look for commonalities. Do these pages use lots of images? Do they have tables or graphs? Is the content more organized with clear headers? Whatever it is, you can then apply those design principles to other affiliate pages.

Now, if you DON’T own an affiliate site, a high exit rate likely indicates something is wrong.

For example, if your real estate agency’s website has high exit rates, high bounce rates, and low conversion rates … that’s bad news. It means people are leaving your website and going elsewhere (most likely back to the search engine or another website).

The good news though is that design can fix it …

Step #4: Design with data

Let’s say you’ve identified a page that’s underperforming on your real estate agency’s website. It has an unusually high bounce rate according to Google Analytics. How do we fix it?

First, let’s dive deeper into the data. Check out things in Google Analytics like:

Location: Where are your visitors located?

Device: Are your visitors on mobile or desktop?

Browser: Which browser do visitors use to scroll through your website?

You can also view other data like operating system, screen resolution, and more. Just open Google Analytics then go to Audience >> Technology and Audience. Then, switch between the tabs along the top to find more info.

Going back to the example, let’s imagine you find out most users visit the page in question on mobile AND they’re on an iPhone.

There’s a good chance that the problematic page isn’t mobile-friendly on iOS devices. Aha!

Now you (or preferably your web designer) can view the page on iOS mobile and identify ways to improve the design. Maybe images don’t render properly. Or the text cuts off. Or there are zoom issues. So on and so on.

Design that’s backed by data has the power to increase conversions, decrease bounce rates, and so much more.

This is because Google Analytics uncovers issues in the user experience, which can then be fixed with (you guessed it) design.

Final thoughts on improving web design with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is much more than an SEO tool. It’s a tool that can help inform design, identify serious issues, and ultimately impact online performance. Here’s a quick-fire recap of everything this guide covered:

  • Make sure your website is correctly connected with Google Analytics
  • Identify what you want your website to accomplish. This could be sales, traffic, conversions, and so on
  • Think about how customers should behave on your website in order to accomplish those goals
  • Check the customer journey in Google Analytics to look for gaps in behavior
  • Use those gaps to identify issues, and then resolve those issues with great design

Ready for even more info on web design for business? Check out the Clutch Creative blog for expert tips, helpful guides, and tons more.

Want to talk about your website with a pro? Talk to us! We’d love to chat about your goals.