Welcome! In this article I am going to review 9 key areas of your Google Analytics setup that are crucial to the “analytic success” of your website that you must not overlook (but may have).
What is Google analytics?
Some say, this is the best analytical system on the internet today. No other system comes close to it! Especially at the low, low price of: Free. So, take advantage of this great free tool, Let’s get started…
Configuring Google Analytics for Optimal Reporting:
First things first, Go ahead and switch to Version 5 Analytics. This incorporates Multi-channel Analytics which will track your web traffic more throughly across different sources better as well as other improvements Google has implemented such as page load times.
How To: In the upper right corner of the landing page on Google Analytics page it will say “New Version“. Click it. Then click “Make this version default“
Keep in mind Google has recently incorporated page load speed into their algorithm and you want to rank high on Google!
A few important Google analytics account configurations:
Click the Icon in the upper right that looks like a gear to access the settings options
Exclude your Home Office, Business Computers, etc. from skewing the traffic results on your page. Use www.whatismyip.com to find your IP address and then enter that into the Edit Filter (Example… Exclude: traffic from the IP addresses: that are equal to:)
Specify the date of any events that may affect traffic sources such as Holiday Email Blast, etc that will alllow you to realize the ROI on any campaign or other significant event as the results trickle in!
3. Profiles>Assets>Custom Alerts
You’re busy, so instead of worrying that you’ll be missing something such as a huge traffic drop, go ahead and setup an alert to notify you via email when traffic is less than a certain number of visitors.
E.g. Alert if less than 50 visitors per day, etc. Shown Below…
If you sell things on your site or not, It’s necessary to track conversions (goals) on your site! First, you need to know URL on your site where a transaction is complete. Most likely it’s the “thank you page” of your site / or the “order submitted successfully” page.
5. Profiles>Profile Settings
If you have an eCommerce site or informational website and you want to track what visitors enter into your search field the then enable the Site Search Setting. Then Click: Do Search Website Searches.
How to create segments to focus on Key Metrics:
6. Profiles>Assets>Advanced Segment
In this example below I created a market segment to see what type of visitor traffic I receive from my Social Media efforts. It’s easy to accomplish. First, name your segment. In my example, I used “socialmedia”. Next select your Source by using the drop down menu (green box) to select Source. Leave Containing selected, and then enter the base URL (i.e. twitter.com or facebook.com) of the traffic you want to segment. To add more URLs to this segment just click the “Add ‘OR’ statement. When done, click “Save Segment”.
7. How the Google analytics tracking code works and a few customizations:
add the site speed code into tracking code on your site. This will occasionally query your site’s page load times and report back to you on that. Google LOVES fast sites nowadays!_gaq.push([‘_trackPageLoadTime’]);
8. Setting up Dashboard Widgets
Dashboard Widgets simply make the Dashboard a more informative landing page. You design these and select from: Metrics, Filters for data dimensions, types of widgets (metric, pie chart, timeline, table). Take the initial time to setup your dashboard with proper widgets! Check back soon as I will be writing about how to set up your Widgets properly.
9. Custom Campaign Tracking:
If you send out your own newsletter or custom campaigns and your program such as MailChimp or Constant Contact does not use tracking results analytics, then Google Analytics offers you the Tool: URL Builder. I have shown an example below and more info can be found here on how to properly configure the Campaign Report Builder.
Next Step: Define Key Metrics for your Business
Track what is working and what is not. Look at what is working and focus more of your marketing efforts and time on those channels. On the other hand, use the information you now have available to nix the areas of marketing that have a low conversion rate.
Google Analytics is powerful and is a huge source of valuable information when installed, setup properly and reviewed often.
Comments are welcome, I would like to hear from you and any best practices you use for getting the most from Google Analytics on your site!