BPM Analytics

Advanced techniques for measuring website performance and user behaviour

We live in a fast-paced, internet-connected generation. All our daily activities are online — banking, playing, paying bills, shopping, being in touch with people, etc. Unfriendly page layout, slow-loading sites and glitches in them put us off; our loyalties waver. This is bad news for companies, particularly for e-commerce stores. Do you know what else is? Not knowing user behaviour.

Smooth-functioning websites and tracking user movement on the website are both essential for e-commerce businesses. A well-operating website attracts more users, and gaining a deep understanding of their preferences and actions drives website improvement. Consequently, it is vital to measure both aspects, as they provide valuable insights for business growth.

Website performance and measuring techniques

Website performance encompasses the speed with which a website loads, usability, interactivity, and reliability. It is the first thing about a website that visitors assess. It is a key metric that influences the following:

  • User engagement: Does the website encourage users to linger, explore and return for more?
  • Brand perception: A brand with an optimally performing website is reputable, trustworthy and professional.
  • Search engine ranking: Better the website performance, more the visibility in search results since algorithms rank and index websites based on user engagement metrics.
  • Bounce rate:The percentage of users who abandon the website after viewing only a page.
  • Conversions and sales:Fast and smooth websites motivate users to take action such as making purchases, filling out forms, subscribing to newsletters, etc. This drives higher conversion rates and boosts sales.

Given what is at stake, measuring performance is vital. There are numerous techniques for the same. Here are the most common among them:

  • Page load time: It is the time taken for a web page to fully load in a user's browser. Tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix and WebPageTest can provide detailed information about page load speeds.
  • Speed index:The speed index assesses the speed with which viewable sections of a web page are rendered. WebPageTest and Google PageSpeed Insights are some tools that provide speed index statistics.
  • Time to first byte (TTFB):It is the time taken for the browser to receive the first byte of data from the web server. It denotes server responsiveness. TTFB can be measured using Pingdom or New Relic.
  • Page weight: The size of webpage elements ( HTML, CSS, JavaScript, pictures and other media content) determines a website's overall efficiency. Tools such as Google Chrome DevTools, WebPageTest, and GTmetrix can examine resource sizes and request counts.
  • Mobile performance:As handheld devices become more popular, it is critical to assess and optimise website performance for mobile usage also. Google's Mobile-Friendly Test and Lighthouse can help here.
  • User experience metrics: Metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates might reflect website performance indirectly. Website analytics platforms such as Google Analytics offer useful insights in this area.

It is imperative that website performance measurements be done from multiple locations and under different network conditions. This helps in capturing a broader perspective.

Moreover, consistently monitoring and analysing performance metrics over a period of time can assist in recognising patterns, potential challenges, and opportunities for improvement.

It’s now time to move on to the other crucial aspect of boosting e-commerce sales — user behaviour.

User behaviour and measuring techniques

In contrast to a brick-and-mortar store, where direct visibility allows for immediate assistance with customer issues (such as guiding them through aisles and making adjustments) and engaging in conversations to understand their needs, an e-commerce website lacks this physical interaction. Consequently, it becomes more challenging to discern user preferences.

This is where the study of user behaviour becomes crucial. User behaviour refers to every action visitors take on a website, including their clicks, scrolling patterns, stumbling points, and eventual exits from the page. By tracking user activity, you can gain insights into how people interact with your site, what they find engaging and where they face obstacles.

With a high volume of users daily, advanced techniques such as user behaviour analytics (UBA) are necessary for tracking user activity effectively.

User activity generates a trail of qualitative and quantitative data. UBA collects, combines and analyses this data with the help of various tools that provide a comprehensive overview of the user experience. Some of the tools UBA uses are:

Heatmaps: They provide visual representations of the specific areas on a webpage where customers spend the most time and how they navigate. This enables the identification of the most clickable assets: buttons, calls to action (CTAs), etc.

Session recordings:Gives a live recording of every movement of the user — the mouse movements, the clicks, the u-turns and the page clicks.

On-site surveys: They can help collect personal responses from users with targeted questionnaires on things that work and need to change.

Feedback widgets:Feedback widgets on specific pages help collect feedback about specific parts of the page.

These tools provide valuable insights that inform the implementation of improvement measures.

Every second and every user count

Whatever the website's style and content, or the targeted sector, efficient website performance is essential. Even incremental changes can significantly impact user experience and perception.

Consequently, continuous monitoring of website performance and user behaviour is vital for businesses to optimise their online platforms, enhance the user experience, and ultimately drive growth and success in the digital marketplace.

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