User Behavior: How to Track it on Your Website

Tracking user behavior is one of the best ways to optimize your online presence. Whether you need to alter your marketing strategy, or you want to see whether your website is intuitive enough, you need to know how your users approach it. So, to help you out, we are going to cover the basics of behavior tracking and how to make proper use of its numerous benefits.

Different types of user behavior

To properly explore user behavior, we first need to define it. So, in a nutshell, it is the actions that your users take that are attributed to your website. These can actions that they take while on your website, like reading blog posts, clicking on links and buttons, ordering your services and/or products, etc. Or, they can be actions that are related to your website, like sharing posts on social media, mentioning your website in different posts, or opening your content due to search results in Google. All of these are just some examples of behavior that your users manifest, and that you can track. Since it is not usually cost-effective to keep track of every type of online behavior, we are going to explore the most common examples.

Conversion rates

One of the important directions you have to make when tackling online presence is better standard and quality traffic. Standard online traffic is simply the people that stumble upon your website. They might read something, learn something, or simply enjoy your content. Quality traffic, on the other hand, is the people who are quite interested in your content and are likely to make a purchase, hire a service or sign up for a subscription (depending on what your website is about). The moment in which a person turns from standard to quality traffic is called a conversion.

A person holding a credit card while looking at an online store.
Tracking user behavior is one of the most effective ways to boost conversion rates.

Conversion rates are the best indicator of how well your online marketing is running and how good you are at engaging the right audience. A surprising number of websites have good traffic, but not enough conversion rates. This is either because they cannot engage the right people, or their website isn’t properly optimized for conversions. Whatever the case, you need to properly track your conversions in order to see whether your online presence is properly set up.

Time spent on a page

A good indicator of how interesting your content is is the time that people spend on it. If your visitors only stay for less than a minute, you can be sure that they thought you had something interesting to offer, but that the first impression was lackluster. This is one example of how time spent on a page can show you what your customers are experiencing. Your goal should always be to increase this time. The more time the people spent on your page, the higher the chance for conversion.

Mouse movement

One behavior that website managers often fail to track is mouse movement. While it might seem that tracking the mouse clicks and link clicks of your visitors have little use, in actuality, it can be instrumental in designing an intuitive website. Here you need to understand that it can be quite hard to make something intuitive. While a certain website layout may make sense to you, it can be quite unintuitive for your visitors. So, to help combat this, you need to be able to see how the readers’ attention flows when they are on your website. Luckily, this is precisely what mouse movement tracking gives you.

A girl using a phone to visit a website, showing you one user behavior that you need to track.
Certain tools can help you track both mouse movement and touch input from mobile devices.

By gathering data from various visitors you can get a rough idea of how the average reader goes through your website. Ideally, their attention should naturally go from the top to bottom, from left to right. If they need to go back and forth and scroll up and down your website in order to reach something, know that you are doing something wrong. The more naturally and intuitively you can design your website, the more enjoyable it is going to be. And the more your visitors enjoy your website, the better the conversion rates.

Tracking tools

Knowing which behavioral patterns to track in your visitors will do you little good if you don’t have the necessary tools. Luckily, user behavior is something that people have been researching and dealing with for years. There are numerous tools that you can use each giving you a different way to track your visitor’s behavior. Some give an all in one package, while others are more specialized for specific monitoring. Some are free, while others can cost quite a pretty penny. Therefore, one of the most important things you will have to do is to find the right tool for you. Our pick would include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Crazyegg
  • Hotjar
  • Clicky
  • ClickTale
  • Kissmetrics
  • Heap

If you are new to behavioral tracking, we would advise you to start with Google Analytics and make your way forward. In time you will learn which behavioral patterns are the most important. And which tools give you the best way to track them properly.

Google Analytics on a laptop.
Using Google Analytics is a must for every web manager.

Using your gained data

The final thing to note about user behavior is that you need to have a clear idea of how to use the data you’ve gathered. Know that simply knowing the behavioral patterns of your visitors won’t do you much good. Instead, you need to a) understand your website and b) understand what the people that visit your website go through. The more you can wrap your mind around your user’s experience, the easier it will be to make your website intuitive and make changes, if necessary. If you manage to do so properly, you will effectively make your website as appealing as it can be. After all, you will have literal scientific data telling you what to do.

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