Know your homepage visitors and how they behave – and you’ll know better what you must do

You’ve put tons of hours into creating the best possible homepage for your art pieces. But that is only the beginning: it has to be promoted too. Now what results can you find? Are you doing well enough? What can and must be improved?

Today I gathered the maximum of courage and logged into my Google Analytics account to see what there is to learn about visits to my new photo homepage. It covered the first month it was active – March 22 to April 21 this year.

There were 1,989 visits and 2,313 page views. The average duration of a visitor was, however, only 27 seconds! In average each visitor saw 1,6 pages (out of some 300). So, is it time to close your business? I really don’t think so – but, sure, we all hope for more positive results given the huge investment we’ve made. 27 seconds! – that’s not a way of treating my photos?

Wait a sec, let’s take a closer look

Google Analytics tells you very very much and here is only a fraction of all the statistics you get at your account:

Pavement18_PhSh
© Pavement # 18 – Jan Oberg 2013

This is where my visitors came from: 953 were from Sweden, 292 from Denmark and 202 from the U.S., the rest from surprising places such as Bangladesh and Jamaica but also France, Switzerland, the U.K and Burundi (from where I have two picture series). In other words, there are visitors in about 180 countries that I should “target” for instance on Facebook and Linkedin when I do ads.

Images of young men and women from Burundi are also those seen by most visitors. And about 10% of my visitors use mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads to see my works.

It seems that a large majority of visitors come directly to my homepage, I don’t really know how! Next, 316 came via PhotoShelter.com where the site is hosted (this proves that their SEO = Search Engine Optimization is working), while 150 came via Facebook, 65 via LinkedIn and 20 via this photo blog and only 1 via my Twitter account. That gives me clues!

Actually, it is very useful that I can see so much about my visitors. It will help me in my work to promote my photography work.

Not bad at all

66 visitors per day at an only one-month old homepage is not bad at all. However, I should be concerned about the fact that the average time spent is as short as 27 seconds. What does that mean – apart from documenting the fact that we all sometimes surf by some page rather than explore it in any depth? We are looking for something and this was just not it.  Let’s turn it into a positive strategic question: How does one engage visitors the very first seconds, right there on the front page where they land?

Good beginning – 5% serious visitors

At least two things make me happy:

A) There were a few visitors who spent much longer time on my homepage than 27 seconds: 30 visitors between 1 and 3 minutes; 22 between 3 and 10 minutes, 11 between 10 and 30 minutes and 9 visitors who were there more than 30 minutes. That’s about 100 visitors out of 1,989 – or 5% – who can be considered seriously interested.

Thus, volume – driving many people from around the world to my homepage which is the center of my photography – will be of the essence in the future! If my target is to have 50 serious people per day, I must have about 1,000 individual visitors per day. And at least some of the visitors must be turned into customers!

Ten to thirty minutes is more than many spend on passing a gallery at an art fair or visit a gallery or art shop in their town – some actually seem to go to receptions and speak with other guests rather than looking at the works…

A lot of visitors obviously come by out of some curiosity and almost at the front page see that this is not what they are looking for or like. We all do that, it’s OK. I see that as a statistical fact of life, not as an indicator that my works are bad. They appeal to some – few – but not to everyone. I don’t mind that!

I must “target” those who have a deeper interest and – when they stay more than 3 minutes – presumably think that what I do is interesting for one or the other reason.

2) The most frequently seen images are those of young men and women from Burundi. The more people who see those of the women, the more likely that I sell some of them – and that gives them 50% of the sales price – which gives me joy!

Use the statistics in your strategy

I recommend everyone with a serious homepage to get an account with Google Analytics, or similar. Even if some results may be discouraging, it is always better to know where you stand now so you can know better how to move towards where you want to be.

In my case – as an unrepresented* art photographer – I am not paying anything except my working hours. Having chosen to “do it my way” I also have to work for it – and blame no one else if I don’t achieve the goals I set up for myself within a certain margin. I am doing photography to have my works seen by people and if just a few also buy a piece, it is even better.

And, so, I shall now think deeply about what all this means. Revise my strategy here and there and see what it looks like in months to come.

Oh, by the way – please visit that homepage!

*) meaning not represented by a gallery but doing my own marketing work.

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