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The Happy Path


This post was originally sent out as an email to my now-defunct mailing list. You can read all such posts here, if you like.

What pages on your site should you obsess over? Which ones can you safely ignore?

If you’re not sure about that, you can fix it this week. It’ll involve just a bit of fancy Google Analytics-fu, and a little imagination. You’ll end up with more focus, confidence, and empathy for your users. So let’s do it.

The Converters segment

The first step is to be able to look at Google Analytics data for only the visitors who gave you money. If we understand their behavior, and how other visitors’ behavior is different, we might just come up with some smart ideas.

There’s a built-in segment called “Converters” which works if you have Goals set up, or if you use Ecommerce tracking. (If not, this post explains how to create your own segment.)

Apply this segment and look at data for the last 3 months. We just need two reports.

Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

Where do most of these precious Converters land?

You’ll get a whole list. But our goal isn’t to have a whole list. It’s to have a better understanding.

So for now, just note the top page. This is the beginning of your Happy Path.

Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

What other pages do lots of Converters visit? Pick 2-5 of the top results.

This will include your quote-unquote funnel, if you have one. But be on the lookout for pages you didn’t expect to see, like About Us, or Integrations.

Now that you’ve got the top Converters landing page, plus a few more pages they tend to visit, go ahead and arrange them in a logical order.

You’ve got 2 valuable things now:

• A Happy Path script you can use for heuristic evaluation and user testing

• A list of top pages you can use to prioritize your A/B testing and optimization efforts

You can take things a bit further by carving out a Sad Path (more on that here), and by folding in data about devices and acquisition channels (more on that here).

But if you just take the time to find your Happy Path this week, that’s plenty.

Even a small improvement on one of these pages will lead to a measurable increase in conversions. Did you get any ideas?

© 2022 Brian David Hall