Your SharePoint Journey is well on its way, but let’s not forget that navigating through all the ins and outs of the SharePoint Portal is a feat in its own right.
Now that you have stopped over with your portal visitors and attained a thorough understanding of their characteristics, demographics and interests, it’s time to learn how exactly they’re navigating throughout the portal.
Why Measure Navigation Paths?
This may seem like a silly question considering navigation path metrics have traditionally been the most common type of metric that organizations have enabled, but just implementing these metrics without setting goals and fully understanding why you need them isn’t satisfactory for comprehensively measuring and then optimizing the portal based upon your findings. Truly enhancing the experience for your users requires a more complete understanding of how people are using your portal. Are they finding exactly what they’re looking for? Are they completing the actions that you have intentionally set out for them to take?
Let’s say your company has just released a new important legal document that all employees should read up on based upon federal government standards and regulations. Navigation reports can assist in measuring whether the document has had increased traffic flow, as well as giving you vital information as to where the users have navigated to after viewing the document. You can also discover which sites users are frequenting most and what content they are specifically navigating to when they are on these sites. Finally, you can gain insights on when and where users are exiting and entering the SharePoint portal.
The only way to know is to measure!
Navigation Report Drill-Down
The time has come, the moment in which we finally disclose which navigation path reports can truly assist you in getting the most out of your navigation path measuring initiatives. With these reports, you can easily follow the trail left by your users. Navigation reports enable you to monitor your from each and every angle: What referred them to the site? How did they get there? What path did they take? What page did they land on and what page did they exit from?
Following the entrance paths of your users is simplified with Entrance Path Reports. This report shows the paths people take after viewing a specific SharePoint page. First you select a specific site you’d like to track and then follow the next two steps your users take when they access the page.
These next two steps can be of vital interest to you when trying to promote specific content within a page. Perhaps your users aren’t clicking on a recent training video you are trying to promote on the page. You can see what percentage of users navigating to that specific page are clicking on your video link. If you see that it is indeed true that your users aren’t clicking on the desired video link, you can create a large button on the page to attract your users. You can even implement A/B testing methods to then test whether the changes you have made are effective.
Exit Pages and External
Monitoring your portal vis-a-vis exit page reports show indications of the effectiveness of your site architecture, content, and navigation. Are your visitors ending their portal experience from the sites you would like them to exit from, or are they cutting their journey short prematurely? If large numbers of users are exiting from a particular page, which was not your intention, you may want to reassess your content or navigation buttons on that page.
The information included on the exit page report can be used in combination with other reports to gain a deeper insight into your users’ activity. For example using these reports you can see whether your most popular entry page is also your most popular exit page. A higher percentage of exits on a specific page can indicate that it’s not serving its intended purpose. In this case the content could be confusing or perhaps it’s not of interest to your users.
External destination reports can also help you identify external links that users travel to once they exit the page. Let’s say you implement an external link on your SharePoint page, you can then see what percentage of clicks this external page get once users choose to leave the portal realm.
Internal Traffic Sources
A high quality internal traffic report displays traffic sources such as; internal search results, navigation toolbars, campaigns, etc. If you understand how your users are being referred into the portal, a clearer picture of what external efforts are being enacted to drive users into the portal can then be formulated. If your marketing team wants to know whether their recent internal campaigns are working within the company, they can easily access analytics to understand if their landing page links are reaching the users as intended.
Good ol’ landing pages – the first page a user visits when entering the portal.
Landing Page reports can be used to answer a variety of questions about the performance of your SharePoint site, such as: “What pages are serving as an introduction to your portal?” and “How well is each landing page performing?”.
Segmentation can also be useful for seeking out how various groups of users arrive into your portal. If you see that various users from the finance department are entering the portal through a landing page specifically set up and marketed to them via a departmental newsletter, you can safely assume that the newsletter content was strategically effective for driving internal traffic to a specific landing page in the portal.