Which Pages on Your Site Matter?
Published by Adam Greco on August 18, 2009.
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Did you ever go through your clothes closet one day and figure out that your never wear half of the stuff in there? It seems like it is always much easier to buy new clothes than it is to discard old clothes. Well, the same thing hold true for websites. Most clients I worked with had thousands of web pages on their website, but in reality, only a fraction of them had an impact on their website success. Having too many pages on your website costs your business money for maintenance, translation (if your company is international) and makes the design and navigation more complex. Often times, these extra pages on your website make it more difficult for your visitors to do the small number of things you actually want them to do. In this post, I will demonstrate how you can help “trim the fat” from your website.
Finding the Pages that Matter
So how do you determine which pages matter and which pages don’t? The first step is to determine the website Success Events for which you want to optimize. If you care about multiple Success Events, this analysis becomes more complex, but the concept is similar. Therefore, in this post, we will assume a scenario where one website Success Event, Website Registrations, is the primary objective. The first thing we need to do is to ensure that a SiteCatalyst Success Event is being set for every successful Website Registration. Once this is in place, you will want to talk to your Account Manager or ClientCare and tell them to enable Participation for the Website Registration Success Event. As I covered previously in the Participation blog post, when Participation is enabled for a Success Event, Omniture will track every page in the flow leading to that Success Event and give each page “credit” for the success. Over time, the pages that are the most often in the flow, or participating, in the eventual Website Registration will have high Participation scores and those that do not, will have low Participation scores. Once Participation is enabled and has run for a while, you will see a report that looks like this:
While this is optional, from here, I like to download this data to Microsoft Excel or pull into into Excel using the ExcelClient so I can re-sort the data and create any totals I need. In this case, I look and see that by the time I get to the 32nd page on my site, each page is participating in fewer than 1,000 of my 45,560 total Website Registrations taking place in this time period. Now it is important to keep in mind that many of the pages below the 31st page may have been in the flow of the top pages that led to success, but the data suggests that they were critical less often than other pages (for this particular Success Event).
If this website had 15,000 total pages, you could inform your web team that 31 website pages (.2%) accounted for the majority of your 45,560 Website Registrations. This begs the question as to what purpose the other 14,969 pages are doing!! However, I would not suggest you use this data to immediately start cutting pages from your website since there may be other purposes served by many of these pages, but rather, I do think it is reasonable to have an intelligent conversation about which pages should stay and which should go. My philosophy is that a website is comprised of a set of KPI’s and pages help achieve those KPI’s, so if you can show that a page is not “Participating” in any of the top KPI’s, then it may just be taking up space (like that 80′s t-shirt that no longer fits!). You may even find that this type of analysis leads to a smaller, simpler version of your website, which in turn makes the lives of your web developers much easier and allows them to spend more time on the pages that do matter!
About Adam Greco
Adam Greco is a longstanding member of the web analytics community who has consulted with hundreds of clients across every industry vertical. Mr. Greco began his web analytics career managing the website for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and then became one of the founders of the Omniture Consulting group. While at Omniture, Mr. Greco managed accounts large and small and helped clients maximize their use of Omniture technologies. In 2012, in partnership with Adobe, Mr. Greco is publishing the first-ever book on Adobe SiteCatalyst - The Adobe SiteCatalyst Handbook: An Insider's Guide.
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