August 31st, 2006 | Published in Google Analytics
1. Create a funnel path and goal that mimics the expected navigation
You designed your site, so you know how you expect your users to navigate through it. Create a funnel and goal that mimics the expected path that your site is designed for. Note: if your site is not using the e-commerce tracking code, give your goal a value and take a look at this post about setting goals on a non-e-commerce site.
2. Give it a few days
Give your site a little while to perform, and let Analytics collect at least 3 or 4 weeks of data. Weekends, special events, and holidays may lead to skewed results so giving your site some time to perform enables you to get more reliable, indicative metrics.
3. Pull up a few key reports and re-evaluate your funnels
Open up your Analytics account and visit Content Optimization > Content Performance > Top Content report. Sort the list of pages by the $ Index column. The $ Index value tells you how much each page on your site is worth (as opposed to how much each site visit is worth. The $ Index is based on how often a transaction is completed or goal is reached when a specific page is also accessed during a visit. The $ Index will give a value to that page calculated based on the value of the goal reached.
Use this metric to evaluate the pages in the report. Remember, this column won't be populated with data unless you have a goal, and that goal has a value (see step #1). When you sort by $ Index, ask yourself what are the pages at the top of that column? Are they in your funnel process? If not, why are they worth more than pages in your funnel? Also, review the exit paths in Content Optimization > Goals & Funnel Process > Defined Funnel Navigation. Where are these visitors going? Do these pages have a high $ Index value? If so, you may want to reconsider the navigation path that you've set up, or maybe there are some design flaws that are making the certain pages difficult to navigate through.
4. Optimize that site!
Armed with this information, your next task is to make some changes. Burn the midnight oil and redesign your site. Then continue using Analytics to evaluate your site changes, because keeping visitors and turning them into customers -- or goal converters -- should always drive your site changes.