Take a look at margaretriver.com this week and you’ll see that some permanent changes have been made to the main website navigation menu structure.
Some new menu items have been added; Trip Ideas, See & Do, Towns & Regions and Essentials (click above to view, or go to margaretriver.com)
- Trip Ideas: This is the home for most of our editorial, story telling content. It draws visitors in and gets them excited about the many possibilities offered by the region.
- See & Do: This section contains directory-style listings of products and experiences which will help visitors when they’re ready to start planning their stay.
- Tours: Carried over from the previous menu.
- Accommodation: Carried over from the previous menu.
- Towns & Regions: Carried over from the previous menu, but now given its own menu item. This section is great for website SEO, as many people searching in Google use location names.
- Essentials: This section contains lots of practical information for visitors, including services which fall outside of core tourism experiences, such as banks and dog kennels.
Why did we make these changes?
The new navigation menu is the culmination of:
- Feedback we’ve had from members and visitors since launching the new website
- Months of market research
- The need for a better experience on mobile devices (over 50% of our web traffic is now from smartphones)
- Our belief that visitors are looking for more directory-style ‘need to know’ content (i.e. lists of businesses and things to do), alongside the editorial content which can be more aspirational and ‘nice to know’.
Good news for visitors, good news for members
After weeks of testing the new navigation vs the old one via A/B tests, the initial results are promising:
- Page views per session is up 5% on mobile devices with the new structure.
- Time on site again is up 4% on mobile devices with the new structure.
What’s really exciting for MRBTA members is the reduction in exit rates. The average exit rate for a page on margaretriver.com was previously 43%. In other words, 43% of people who land on a page either from Google or elsewhere don’t visit another page on the website.
However, on the new landing pages we’ve setup under the ‘See & Do’ and ‘Essentials’ menu, we are getting the following exit rates…
- Eat & Drink – 5.34% <- You beauty!
- Activities – 14.4%
- Attractions – 9%
- Shopping – 13% (down from 43% with the previous menu structure)
- Services – 26%
We will continue to test the new navigation menu and the landing pages to test whether users are finding the information they need. These new landing pages are expected to gain a lot of search engine traction in the coming months, which means that more than ever, visitors will go straight to the page they’re looking for via Google, rather than going in via the margaretriver.com homepage. As the search engine rankings improve, we expect that traffic to member pages will also improve, and this will also open up possibilities for us to do more marketing activity targeting niche interest groups.