Almost everyone now installs Google Analytics to track statistics in the hope of optimising their website. But what really needs to be installed or configured so that the analytics are customized for the greatest benefit?
Here are the 4 points I think are crucial to get the most out of Analytics:
Quality assurance of installation
So many people install the analytics script but do not check to ensure the whole site has been correctly tagged. This is the foundation for using analytics! Tools exist to ensure that Google Analytics is present on all pages of a domain, there is a WASP to name one. It is easy to use and a free version is available.
Goals represent the real value of Google Analytics. They can track purchases, registrations, subscriptions, specific content viewed, etc... In short, it provides a mechanism for you to measure the most important traffic on your site!
Goals are fairly easy to customize - first identify a specific page where the "action" occurs (it often takes the form of a confirmation page).
Also important with the objectives is the ability to isolate performance goals from the traffic source: social media, search engine, banner, newsletter, etc.. Without goals it would otherwise be impossible to validate the contribution of your campaigns and investments.
Using a filter is the standard way to remove internal traffic, that is, traffic of your own employees. Especially during testing phases, ones own employees could skew the sites statistics. Exclude traffic coming from your IP address to ensure you are getting realistic results.
The trick to measuring Web performance is to isolate the important numbers rather than having too many less meaningful numbers. To achieve this, add reports to the dashboard that can quickly and easily be viewed each time you open Google Analytics. It can also be configured to automatically e-mail you at a given frequency.
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