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What should you be paying attention to on your website? What are some low-hanging fruit tools that you can use to easily gather data about how your clients use the website? Would you like to work with a visual representation of how your clients interact with your media?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about website analytics and heatmaps with Jess Freeman.
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Meet Jess Freeman
Jess helps health and wellness professionals, authors, and service-based professionals look good online. With her support, business owners build authority and get more clients through their websites and online presence.
When Jess is not working with clients, you can find her teaching on her YouTube channel and podcast.
Visit Jess’s website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
FREEBIE: Access Jess’s free mini-course, The Profitable Course Planner
In This Podcast
- Check out your website traffic
- Use Google Analytics
- Use heatmaps to gather data
- Jess’ advice to private practitioners
Check out your website traffic
Specifically, what pages people are going to [on your website]. It’s usually very easy to see your overall traffic.
For example, if 100 people came to your website, that’s a specific data point.
However, you can look deeper into that and see that 99 people came to your website, but only one of them went to your services page, then something needs to change.
It can be very interesting to pay attention to the specifics of what pages or blog posts or podcast episodes … that people are going to, to [see], “Are they actually clicking through the pages? What are people most interested in?”
Looking at this data is also very helpful if you counsel different types of clients.
Use Google Analytics
You can connect Google Analytics to your website, and use it as a tool to retrieve lots of interesting and usable data.
If you go into the actual Google Analytics dashboard after you’ve connected that to your website, Google Analytics will show you how people are actually moving through your [web]site … like a flow chart.
It gives you more specifics to work with by showing you how your audience is interacting with and moving through your website.
Use heatmaps to gather data
It takes a little bit of set-up by adding a small amount of code into the backend in the “theme” of your website, but it is another great tool you should consider using.
This will show you where people are clicking and scrolling on your website … it looks like the heatmaps that we see the meteorologists show us.
It is a great visual tool that will show you exactly where people start and stop scrolling, which buttons they do and don’t interact with, and where they miss some important information.
With this data, you can change your website to suit the natural progression of your clients as they explore and look for information on your site.
Jess’ advice to private practitioners
Your work matters, and more people need to know that your business exists. Make it easier for them to find you.
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
- Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free.
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Useful links mentioned in this episode:
Check out these additional resources:
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 830.
Well, I am Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast where we are helping you start, grow, scale and exit, potentially exit your private practice. Hope you’re doing amazing in December. I don’t know what the weather’s like here in Northern Michigan because I recorded this way ahead of time but it’s the end of the year and we’re thinking about next year and the things we need to do, the things we need to think through. Maybe you have some meetings with your accountant just to make sure all your final tax things are done. Who knows? I know that when I first started Mental Wellness Counseling and Practice of the Practice, I built my own websites on WordPress. Actually, first with Mental Wellness Counseling, it was on Microsoft 360 where they had this free website design thing you could do and I did.
I had a white background and I typed all my keywords with white font, so you couldn’t see it, in a hope that Google would see angry kids, are you mad in your marriage, therapy in Traverse City. If you like, scanned my website, like did a highlight you would’ve saw all the keywords I wanted to rank for, because I literally knew nothing about SEO, about technology, about anything. Then when Microsoft decided to shut down Microsoft 360, or was it three, I don’t remember. That sounds right. That may not be what it was called. Then I talked to some friends who knew just a little bit more than me and they had built their websites on WordPress and then years later I finally hired a designer to help me upgrade that theme a little bit more.
It was just this like slow moving process where there weren’t resources out there, there weren’t podcasts on private practice. There was hardly even blog posts. So the fact that you have a podcast to listen to right now I feel like it’s sort of like when my kids complain about something and I’m like, “When I was a kid we had the telephone on the wall.” It’s sort of like that, you get all this great information and you get to hang out with people like Jess Freeman who we are hanging out with today. Jess is an Atlanta based award-winning website designer who’s been in the business for 10 years. Jess helps nutrition and fitness business owners build authority, get more clients through their websites and online presence. When she’s not working with clients, you can find her teaching on her YouTube channel and podcast. Jess, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here today.
Thank you so much for having me. I am very excited to be here and nerd out about websites and SEO and all that fun stuff.
Yes, well, as I was saying that stuff, I was thinking, oh man, on the other side of this microphone, I have this web designer who’s probably just rolling her eyes at my ridiculousness 10 years ago, 15 years ago,
I wasn’t rolling my eyes, but I did giggle because I was like yes, that’s definitely a thing that people used to do. But I would highly encourage anybody listening to not do that, do not run out and be like, oh no, but Joe used to do this. Maybe I should try it. Because Google has definitely gotten smarter, so that’s okay.
There was a phase for about six months where you could take a blog post, and I think they called it blog spinning or something like that, spinning was in the title. So you’d like write one blog post about, say, anxiety, and then you would have a word like thoughtful in your blog post and you could have like 10 other words and then you would spin it and then it would make like a new blog post but it was basically the same blog post, but just with different, like synonyms for different words. Then Google totally caught onto that and was like, no, these are all the same blog posts that you posted 10 times. So then I had to go back through and delete all these old blog posts because I was following advice of people that I, I mean at the time it worked for a minute, but, so, well, let’s start with how’d you get into website design?
I actually decided I was going to be a designer when I was in high school and got my degree in design and right out of college had a few jobs in corporate and nonprofit world and was still freelancing on the side doing just creatives. I truly thought, oh, maybe when I’m like 45 I can run my own business and be my own boss because —
Wait, why 45?
I don’t know, it was such —
This seems old. Just say it, it seems old
That’s when you’re like a “real adult,” is what I thought when I was 22. It was such an arbitrary number, but I didn’t grow up with entrepreneurs. I actually didn’t even know anybody that was running their own business when I was freelancing on the side and then joined a Facebook group with other freelancers and they were talking about, no, I work for myself full-time and I’m 25, 26 and I was like, what? What is this? Wait, you don’t have to be 45? So I only worked in corporate for two years and then was able to take my business full-time and then was realizing, oh, more people are really needing websites and that sounds more fun than designing like business cards in the side of trucks and this kind of stuff. So I shifted my services slowly to include more web design until probably two or three years later it was like, I’m really only doing web design now and that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s probably been seven or eight years now that I’ve been doing just websites.
What do you like about it?
One part of me loves the big project part of it. Like, I like a big project. I don’t know why. I just like the layout of it. It goes back to my yearbook days in high school, which is, like I said, that’s when I decided to be a designer.
Oh my gosh. I’ve not thought about yearbook probably since high school. You would’ve hated me in yearbook because I did it my senior year last semester. I think I designed one page the entire semester and then, I know, you were the one that was like making up for me. But I was in charge of going to Sam’s Club and picking up the photos and I would take the full two and a half block hour to do that with my friend and eat samples the whole time. Then I argued that I shouldn’t get a B for the class and the teacher’s like, “You literally designed one page, not even a full layout, one page. A B is gracious, sir, go to college. Sorry.” Anyway, so yearbook, you were the one that picked up the Joe’s of the world slack.
Yep, yep. But I also freely love that it combines two of my favorite things, design obviously, but also, I am a little bit of like an analytics data nerd. So while I do, and which I feel like is rare in the world of creatives, like most creatives are bad at running businesses and not liking numbers and all that stuff. But me, I’m like, yes, let’s make it look great, but I also want to know all the like backend information and so it combines those two things that I love.
Let’s talk through what are some of, for people that are not tech savvy, we’ll start there and then I do want to geek out on people that are tech savvy too, but people that are not that tech savvy, what are some analytics or data or things that they should be paying attention to, even if they’re not that tech savvy that you think would actually help their bottom line in regards to understanding their website, what’s happening there? What’s the low hanging-fruit for non-techy people?
I think one of the easiest things to look at is your site traffic, but specifically what pages people are going to. It’s very easy usually to see your overall traffic and like, okay, a hundred people came to my website this month, but that’s only really telling us that a hundred people came to your website. But if we can look specifically at, oh, 99 people came to my homepage, only one of them went to my services page or my about page, something is wrong, something Is not working. That’s a very extreme example obviously, but it can be very, very interesting to pay attention to the specifics of what pages or blog posts, or podcast episodes or whatever that people are going to to find out are they actually clicking through to pages, what are people most interested in?
This can also be really, really helpful if you are someone who counsels different groups. So maybe you have a page for family counseling and then you have a page for marriage counseling and you notice you get a lot more traffic to your marriage counseling page. That can give you some really good information about the demographics that you’re serving and what they are needing. If you’re like, well I am getting a lot of traffic to marriage counseling, but that’s not what I love to do, then you might need to rethink the layout of your website to direct people more to the family counseling page. Or again, if you see a lot of traffic to marriage counseling but you’re not getting a lot of inquiries, you’re not getting a lot of leads, then you could look at that page and think through, do I need to change the copy? Do I need to change the layout? Is there information missing on this page? What can I tweak on this page to get more of this traffic to actually convert into leads?
Because yes, it’s cool to say, ooh, I got X amount of people to my website. That’s exciting but then when you compare that to how many inquiries you’ve got, that could be a good or a bad thing, which it’s surprisingly about 2% to 4% is a usual conversion rate on a website. So you do want to make sure you increase that traffic so that you have a larger base of people that will hopefully convert into clients. Because again, if it’s only two to 4% and you only have a hundred people coming to your website, that’s not a very high conversion.
When you say conversion, does that mean actually works with you or takes any action? So is it just taking an action to email you or is it actually being a paying client?
Personally, I like to compare it to actually turning into a client, but some people consider it, oh, if they at least inquired, like they at least took an action. Because there’s a lot of variables as to why someone might not actually book with you because maybe they would love to work with you, but they are only available on Tuesday afternoons and you don’t have that availability. Well, that’s just like a scheduling conflict that’s not anything else. So if you’re like, well, sorry, my Tuesdays are usually full, but I can put you on a wait list that, so it depends on also why they didn’t convert into an actual hiring you, working with you lead. So you can look at it both ways but yes, it just depends. The other thing I would look at outside of traffic, which that you can usually see on your website dashboard, if you are on WordPress, you can have some plug-ins that will show you that information but if you go into the actual Google Analytics dashboard, after you’ve connected that to your website, Google Analytics will show you how people are actually moving through your site.
It’s like a flow chart. It looks like it’s from Microsoft Publisher, and it will show you, hey in March this many people went from home and then a lot went to about, but then some others went to your services page and then some went to your contact page. So you can literally see how people are moving through your site. So it’s a little bit more specific than just saying like, okay, 80 people went to home, 70 people went to about, because you don’t know the order in which people are moving through your website. Again, when we know that information, we can make some adjustments. Maybe we need to add some more buttons on your pages to direct people to keep them clicking and keeping them engaged.
Yes, I love that, especially the flow one. I used the example, anyone that’s listened to the podcast has probably heard this, but early on with Practice of the Practice when I was looking at that flow, I saw that obviously the homepage was like number one. Then I think it was our about page and then next was how to name a private practice. It was like, wait a second. It was this blog post I had just written that I looked into it and started going incognito to see, and we were ranking number one for when someone searched for that and it was just totally accidental. But then I did podcasts about it and on that page, we had a very clear opt-in to our email list and then we created other things that had to do with starting a practice that people could read after that. Then we could watch. Okay, originally, they would go to how to name a private practice and then go to the homepage. That was the main page they would go to. Then over time it was second or third blog posts about starting a practice. So then people were on the website longer and they were learning more and they know, like and trust process, hopefully. So what are a couple other low-hanging fruit things for people that aren’t super techy?
One, it does take a little bit of setup, but then looking at it is pretty easy is heat maps. It’s a very simple, you just put some code on the backend. Usually there’s a spot in your theme that you can add it, so it’s not like you’re literally going into the scary parts of where the code is but this will show you literally where people are clicking and scrolling on your website. It literally looks like the heat maps that we see that the meteorologists show us when it’s like, oh, this big system is moving through. That’s what it looks like. So you can literally see where people are clicking, scrolling, that stuff. So it’s very, very visual and you can just say, huh, okay, so people are not scrolling past this point or people are not clicking on this button, maybe I should change the color of the button, change the wording on the button.
But it’s a very easy thing to look at, whereas sometimes Google Analytics can be a little overwhelming because there are 15 different tabs and lots of, it looks like a spreadsheet and there’s lots of graphs, so it can be a little overwhelming, whereas the heat map is very visual and you just, this is what it looks like, here’s what I can learn, what I can change on my website, here’s where people, how people are using it. That’s a very, I think, easier thing to understand than trying to go into Google Analytics and look at all the specifics of demographics and behavior and all those things that I find interesting outside of just the basic, like how much traffic you’re getting. But for non-techy people, all the other things in analytics can sometimes be overwhelming.
Now for that code, is there a heat map plugin that you prefer or like, so I’m picturing someone hearing that and they’re like, great, I want a heat map. What should they say exactly to their IT person or someone that can help install that code?
There are a few options out there. I really like the site Crazy Egg, like E-G-G, Crazy Egg. You have to sign up for an account, you get a free 30-day trial, which is plenty of time to install the heat map and then look at the reports and then if you want you can just not opt-in for an account after that if you like —
How much is it after the 30 days?
Right now, just because prices always change, I believe it’s $29 a month, so I’m pretty sure that’s the lowest tier. It’s literally like one line of code that you put on the backend, so your web designer, IT person, whatever, can just install that on the website. And they do have, you can just put it in your website or if you’re on WordPress, they also have a Crazy Egg plugin that you can use, but you don’t have to. So if your designer doesn’t know how to do it or if you’re doing it yourself and you’re like, I don’t know where to put this in my theme, you can use their plugin and put the code there.
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Cool. So heat maps, looking at some of the analytics, let’s dig into if someone wants to take it to the next level, either with a designer or maybe they want to start to learn some things beyond what maybe they already know. What would be some more advanced techniques around analytics and understanding people’s flow within their website.
You can, with the heat maps and the analytics, you can also do tracking like UTM links to see where people are coming from, where they’re clicking, if they’re clicking over from —
Sorry, what’s UTM?
Off the top of my head, I don’t remember what the acronym stands for, but UTM, it’s a unique, I think that’s what the U stands for, unique, basically you’re tagging your link, so it adds a little bit of text onto the end of your URL. So instead of just jesscreatives.com/squarespace versus WordPress, then it would say like, UTM and then there’s a button like equal sign, whatever Facebook. Then I share that specifically and basically then I can more specifically track where people are clicking from, whether it’s a podcast interview, Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, any of that. That is another level of tracking within your website. Then, I mean there’s a, I think a lot of people set up their website, they talk about their services, they make sure it looks good on mobile, maybe they are doing this tracking with the heat maps, but they don’t actually optimize it for SEO. So having an actual SEO strategy and trying to get traffic that way instead of just relying on social media to drive traffic or the Google My Business listing, if you have an office and you have that listing on for your location, having an actual SEO strategy to get more traffic, that way can be really beneficial, obviously. Those are some of the things that I like to really encourage people to pay attention to.
Now when you have all this data what can therapists or private practice owners do, what should they be doing with the data?
I mean, the biggest thing is paying attention to where are people going and then adjusting the things on your website, which the tricky part is if you’re looking at a bunch of data, you’re looking at heat maps, you’re looking at analytics, maybe you’re doing the tracking, it’s a lot of different stuff and so you might have this list of, oh, okay, I want to work on this. People are clicking here, I need to fix this. But you need to limit how many changes you make at one time because if you’re changing button colors, you change a layout, you change copy, you don’t know what actually worked or didn’t work. So I usually try to suggest maybe just change colors right now or maybe only change buttons and button placements.
Then I usually say give it at least 30 days, maybe 60 days, and then look at the data again and see if you need to make more adjustments because again, if you’re making too many changes at once, you don’t know what actually worked. Unless you have a lot of traffic, and by a lot, I want to say like 10,000 views a month or more, you need at least a month or two of data to actually see how people are using it. Because again, if you only have about a hundred people coming to your website in two weeks, that may only be 30 people coming to your website, which isn’t going to be enough data to make a good, have a good idea of what changes would be good to make. Because 30 clicks versus a hundred, you’re going to get different data. So make those changes to your copy or to your colors, your layout, and then wait, which is the hard part,
Well, and I think, I mean, that’s similar to marketing where you want to run some A-B tests and have just small variations between the two ads and whether it’s your all-in-one platform with two different ad types or you have a very similar ad that’s running in two different magazines. It’s like if you have one crazy ad on one and one crazy ad on another, it’s like, well, that one worked better, but we don’t know why. So yes, that’s great advice. Now when you think about like the heart of why analytics and heat maps and website design matters, like what’s the heart that drives all of this?
Because, we as, business owners are spending this time and this money and this energy getting these websites set up for our businesses, but if we aren’t actually looking at the data to know what works, we just have a good-looking website instead of a good working website. I believe our website should be one of our hardest working employees. It needs to be working for us even on the weekends, even when we’re on vacation. Like, it should be bringing in leads and converting people. That way you don’t have to rely just on social media or just on Google Ads or outreach, whatever it is, you can be the answer to someone’s Google search.
That’s so wise. I like that idea of your website being your hardest working employer, one of them. That’s just such a great philosophy. Well, Jess, you may have already answered this, but if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
I would want them to know that your work matters. It’s really, really important and more people need to know that your business exists. More people need to be able to find you easily and get the help that they need.
And Jess, if people want to work with you, if they want to connect with you, what’s the best way?
So you can find me at jesscreatives.com and then pretty much everywhere on social media at Jess Creatives.
Oh, so awesome. Well, Jess, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast today.
Thank you so much for having me.
I just want to go back and underline and bold that idea that your website should be your hardest working employee. When you really think about how much time or money we put into our websites, sure, on the front end we put money into it, but ongoing time, ongoing analysis and adjusting and optimizing, I’m guilty of it that we don’t always put that time into it like it’s an employee that’s working for us. It’s beautiful, it’s good, but that’s about it. So what an awesome interview and a great philosophy in thinking about your website as an employee. I like that a lot.
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