The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Seeing is believing – Google Analytics

I’m such a linear thinker that conceptualizing how web sites actually work has been a tough haul for me. I first thought that all visitors to a site came in through the home page and then selected among various hierarchical menu options.

Not so, as I’m sure that you already know.

I’ve read from many experts that this idea of mine wasn’t true, and my own surfing experiences should have been enough to convince me that it wasn’t so, but it wasn’t until I installed Google Analytics in January that I saw first-hand that only a third of the visitors to my site enter through the home page.

It finally penetrated my awareness in a concrete way that any page could be the first, and perhaps only, impression a visitor might have of my site. This makes for a really big design challenge, but it does tend to focus one’s thinking on what is truly important.

I can’t say that I particularly like this pesky fact, but nonetheless, that’s just the way it is. Every page should ideally contain the most important things, but it isn’t always obvious what those important things are. Even if I think I know what’s most important to me, it probably doesn’t match up with what my visitors consider to be important.

Some web designers seem to solve this problem by including everything on every page, but doing that results in a very cluttered and overly busy viewing space, in my opinion.

The only thing to do, I guess, is to test and see what works best.

Hmmm . . . there’s probably a book about this somewhere, that answers all my questions, including the ones I haven’t thought of yet.

Suggestions are welcome.

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Written by Tom Fox

05/17/2007 at 12:18 pm

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