The Engenius Blog

Ideas & tips on business, marketing, and using the Internet effectively.

Don’t Let Your Website Analytics Deceive You

If you’ve had a website for longer than a few days, chances are Google Analytics (GA) are not a foreign concept to you. These reports are a great resource for gaining deeper insight into how your website is being used, but only if you know what you’re looking at.

(If you’re already lost, you may want to start with the basics and install analytics on your site– IT’S FREE!)

I’m going to breakdown a few myths for you today. It is my hope that  the next time you log-in to Google Analytics (or if you’re a client of ours, the next time you receive your monthly website analytics report) you will be confident in what you’re looking at and what the numbers are telling you.

Website Analytics


Not All Bounce Rates are Created Equally

The common understanding of a website “bounce” is that someone comes to your site, doesn’t find what they’re looking for, and “bounces” back off your site. By Google’s definition, a bounce is any web visit where the visitor doesn’t interact with the website (ie: visit other pages besides the homepage, click on internal links, etc). Therefore your bounce rate is the total percentage of visitors who only visit your homepage out of the total number of visitors to your website during any given time period.

Seems simple enough, but these numbers are easy to misinterpret if you don’t know what to look for.

Let’s say I visit a restaurant’s website and both the reservation phone number and daily specials are right on the homepage. I decide I will eat dinner there, dial the phone number, and make my reservation. Then I close my web browser. Because I never clicked beyond the first page, this web visit would be classified by GA as a bounce.

By this logic, don’t assume just because you have a 70-80% bounce rate that no one is finding your site helpful. In that same vein, if you have a 30% bounce rate it’s also possible that people are having to click through multiple pages to find what they’re looking for.

(Note: bounce rate also applies to specific landing pages)


Time On Site: Is More Better?

Another potentially deceptive number is “time on site.” It is easy to make the assumption that the more time people spend on your website, the better. But that’s not exactly the case. For example, if you have an ecommerce website (where goods or services are being purchased), a four-minute site visit is great. That is enough time for someone to browse your products, add to cart, and checkout.

On the contrary, if you are a physician and someone is spending four minutes on your website, it could mean they are having a hard time finding your office location or appointment hours. If the latter is true of your website you will want to evaluate and seek out ways to improve your website’s overall User Experience (UX)


What are Entrances and % Exit Telling Me?

These two analytics are often some of the numbers I find most useful when helping my clients see where their visitors are coming and going within their website. In GA the “entrances” are the number of visitors who enter your website through that specific page.

Using our ecommerce website example from earlier, let’s say they had 1,262 web visitors in September, and 46 “entered” the website through the products page. This could have been via Google Ad, Facebook, email direct link, etc. But the first page they landed on our website was the products page. I can also see that 14.8% of our 1,262 web visitors “exited” our website via our products page. Meaning the products page was the last page of our site they were on before closing their web browser or going to a different website.

You can also combine data information to discover even more about your web visitors. As an example, the contact page on the e-commerce site mentioned above had an exit of 68%, with an average page duration visit of 2:47 seconds. This tells us that these visitors likely spent time filling out the contact form (hence the high visit duration) and then after submitting the form closed the browser (the 68% exit percentage). By this thinking, the contact page is highly successful.

At first glance analytics might seem a bit overwhelming.

I recommend setting aside a minimum of 30 minutes each month, preferably towards the beginning of each new month, to review your analytics and get comfortable with them.  As you become more familiar, you will learn immense amounts of data about your website (if I have a high site visit duration maybe things are hard to find on my website); about your website visitors themselves (if my bounce rate is high only on specific pages perhaps the call to action isn’t clear enough), and how to combine both of these to improve your user experience and overall ROI on your website. If you’re not viewing your analytics through the proper lens, it is easy to misinterpret what the numbers are telling you.

Who Are Your People?

Know Your Audience | Web Design Greenville, SC

We are often asked to evaluate websites. “What can I do to make it better?” or “How do I get people to read it?” are frequent questions.

The first thing I look for, beyond graphics or anything else, is an understanding of the intended audience.

Time and time again, the issues I find with a site are not tied to user interface necessarily, or even poor graphic design. It’s that the site does not articulate well to the target audience of the business it represents. When constructing a website, putting yourself in the shoes of your prospective audience and understanding how they use your site is vital.

Knowing who your people are cannot be set aside.

A website is essentially a tool for communication. There is a reason we look at prehistoric cave paintings with furrowed eyebrows and cocked heads. They were a communication tool used by a vastly different audience. If you don’t understand who you are communicating to, how they want to be communicated with, or what information they are seeking to learn, then your potential customers will be like tourists trying to make sense of ochre stick figures—and then they’ll leave. Another opportunity missed.

4 Steps to Know Your Audience:

1) Name your audience groups. Are they customers? Vendors? Investors? Prospective employees? List every single one—it’s important you don’t miss any.

2) Dig a little deeper and create a target audience persona. List all the key characteristics and motivators that define this group. What are their goals? What do they do for fun? What scares them? This is a combination of demographic and psychographic features.

3) For each audience group, name everything they may want from your website. What information do they value the most? Are they simply coming to your site to find a phone number and call for more details? Are they looking for specific documents to download? Do they need a list of products you offer?

4) Based on this, clearly define what message you must communicate to each audience group and what action (if any) you desire for them to take.


Now, with this information in hand, you’re prepared. Don’t make another change to your website without it. Use the answers you discovered to craft a website that speaks to your audiences.

When you tell your people what they want to hear, they listen.

What is User Experience and Why Should I Care?

What is User Experience And Why You Should Care | Web Design Greenville, SC

What is User Experience?

Lurking beneath the surface of everything you do is something researchers study and you likely never stop to even consider—your own user experience (UX). If you use the internet, UX is important to you. It covers the what, when, where, why, and how someone uses a product or service, as well as who that person is. User experience is how the user feels when interacting with something, including web design—what we do. To begin, you must ask one simple (at least, on the surface) question: What do people who use your website actually want?

What is UX Design?

UX design is a process, which means it’s scientific. Imagine taking the scientific method using analysis and measurement and applying it to humans and their behavior. UX design follows a user-centric design process, which takes the user’s needs into account at every stage of the website’s lifecycle. It’s purpose? Answering the million dollar question of, “What do our users want?” And after it asks this question, it asks it again. And again. And again.

Ask Questions

UX Design is all about asking the right questions. At every iteration of the project, take a step back and ask whether you’re designing a website that fits your users’ needs.

Good questions to ask would include:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What the number one thing users want when they land on your homepage?
  3. What’s the second most important thing?
  4. Are we making the journey to said things easy or hard? (The correct answer should be as easy as possible)

Imagine your user’s journey through your website. Find out what drives your user. Getting inside someone’s head is crucial to understanding the art of conversion. Just be careful not to get bogged down. Call things out that need investigation, make a list, then move on.

UX Design is Not One-Size-Fits-All

One mistake most people make when creating websites is the myth of “one size fits all.” They think of their website’s user experience in just one medium or device. This kind of thinking is detrimental to the success of a website.

Instead of thinking about user experience being one dimensional, we must start designing experiences that adapt to different environments and mediums. You should ask:

  • How will users on mobile phones access the site?
  • How are their desires different from those using desktops?
  • What can you do to reward and interact with users who continually use your website as opposed to first time users?

The rise of responsive web design over the past 5 years has helped push designing for adaptive experiences forward, but we still have work to do.

UX is Not ALL about the User

I would be lying to you if I said UX is only about the user. UX design takes into consideration the needs and goals of the business as well. UX Design enters the sweet spot where user needs and business needs overlap.

Why You Should Care About UX

No matter what field you are in or what your job title is, if you use the internet, UX is important to you. And here’s why:

Someone’s overall experience with your website is most often the determining factor for buying your goods or services. More importantly, it’s the determining factor for making your website one that they come back to buy or use your services time and time again.

Since your business model depends on a website, the user experience of your website plays a critical role in attracting and maintaining your customer base. You only get one chance to get it right. Most visitors decide within a matter of seconds whether to stay on your site or hit the back button to look for something better.

The stakes are incredibly high. Why, then, is it so difficult for many of us to define and create a successful user experience for our users? Why is there so much bad UX out there on the web?

What is User Experience And Why You Should Care | Web Design Greenville, SC

To be honest, crafting an amazing user experience is tedious. It will cost money, as with any creative marketing strategy. But the ultimate reason why there are so many bad user experiences on the web isn’t because it’s hard to do or because it’s tedious. And it certainly isn’t because business don’t have the money for it. The number one reason why so many websites fail at user experience is because it’s not a priority.

You must make UX a priority. If you want your website to succeed, then you must ask these questions repeatedly:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What’s the number one thing users want when they land on your homepage?
  3. What’s the second most important thing?
  4. Are we making the journey to said things easy or hard?

And remember, the answer to the last question is as easy as possible.

More on User Experience

Still not satisfied? Here’s a huge list of articles on UX so you can read to your heart’s content.

Do you need help improving your user experience but don’t know where to start? Let us help. Shoot us an email and let us know the Engenius Blog sent you.


  1. What the #$%@ is UX Design? by UX Mastery
  2. What is User Experience Design? by Jacob Gube, Smashing Magazine
  3. User Experience: What Is It And Why Should I Care? by Amy Harvey
  4. The Only UX Reading List Ever by Simon Pan
  5. How to design from 10,000 feet by InVision

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