Website Management A La Google Analytics (Top 5 Secrets)
Owning and maintaining a website isn’t easy, and for startups your website is carrying a lot on its shoulders; in many cases it’s the gateway between your brand and your customers and in other cases it is your brand! A good website can make all the difference on how you put forth your services and leave a lasting first impression.
But of course, having the perfect website on its own is never enough; you need to constantly maintain, improve, and upgrade your site in order to remain competitive and better communicate with your customers. I’ve mentioned this many times before, the tech world is a constantly evolving turmoil of innovation and if you’re not changing with time, then you’re getting left behind!
Thankfully, there are a handful of data tools such as Google Analytics to help you streamline and build your site around your customer.
Top 5 Secrets of Google Analytics
1. (Advertisement) Campaign Tagging
Lets dig into these secrets chronologically as if you were starting a new site; first you need advertisements to raise awareness about your site and product. Setting up campaign tagging (if done right) can provide crucial data regarding the initial origin of visitors. Learning where a visitor came from and how the visitor was directed to your page helps you know which campaigns are working, and which campaigns are not.
Basically, the links within your advertisement, which redirect users back to your site, needs to contain some identifiable and unique tags. For instance, if you have an advertisement on Facebook, the link can contain a tag name “#001_FBAD_2012.” Google Analytics can compile this data to help you evaluate the success of your advertising initiatives. If you have multiple, say 10 or more advertising outlets you can choose to continue, invest more, or discontinue certain sources based on their individual successes (as in how many viewers are coming to your site through that specific outlet). We understand the value of your penny and spending wisely on advertising can go a long way towards achieving heavy traffic.
2. Page load time
Nest, set up and monitor page load time. Even before users get to your site, if they are having to wait forever for your high resolution multimedia to load they are going to go somewhere else. This should help you find a balance between beauty and functionality, help you choose the resolution of your images, compression levels, formats, and in certain cases this may even help you choose the ideal hosting service.
3. Event Tracking
At this point you have some successful advertising outlets going, bringing decent traffic to your page, which is loading effectively, now you want to better understand your viewers. What are your viewers looking for? Configuring Event tracking, which will record what viewers are clicking, viewing, downloading and where they’re navigating can achieve this.
This information can help you better organize content on your page according to viewing trends, for instance, the more popular content should be easier to find. Through this you can also see which of the features on your site are redundant and get rid of them, such as media players.
4. Interlinked domain Tracking
If your services and information are spread over multiple interlinked domains, (which is likely if you use external web services), setting up cross-domain tracking is very important in order for the core features of Google Analytics to be effective, and for you to be able to correctly track your visitors’ complete interaction with your site. For instance, if your cross-domain tracking is not set up properly and a user leaves one domain, Analytics will end that session and begin a completely new one resulting in inaccuracies with your user interaction data leading to misconceptions and poor decision making.
5. Transactions / E-commerce Tracking
Last but not least, if your website deals with transactions and sales you can enable e-commerce tracking, which will give you and overview of the transactions and sales related information directly from Google Analytics, which makes it a whole lot easier to keep track of your sales and expenditures (well at least for a start, you can then use this data and manipulate to organize and plan your expenses further if you’d like).
Get on Board
The key components discussed should introduce you to the usefulness of tools like Google Analytics which, hopefully will go a long way towards making your website better suited for both your customers and your success, by helping you take better design and marketing approaches; its all about getting to understand your customer and then building services around them.
WordPress users, also check out our recent interview with George Ortiz from PressTrends, a plugin that goes beyond analytics and actually makes suggestions about how you can improve your site.