Google Analytics: Getting Started with Website Tracking Tools

» Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Marketing | 0 comments

Google Analytics: Getting Started with Website Tracking Tools

Management guru Peter Drucker once said “What gets tracked gets done.”  Whether tracking your weight, your finances, or your website, you need to understand what is working and what isn’t in order to reach your goals.  Google Analytics is one of the website tracking tools that can easily help you to understand where your website traffic comes from and what visitors do when they get there.

Google Analytics

There are many tools to choose from, but for the small business marketer, Google Analytics offers several advantages.  It is comprehensive, is not limited to information from Google search, and is free.  Moreover, it seems a reasonable assumption that Google is going to be around for a while and will probably continue to invest in analytical tools – investing the time and resources in a tool that will not be supported six months from now can be frustrating, to say the least.

Google analytics works by putting a string of code in each of your pages and tracking activity on these pages. Normally this is done by adding code to the header section of each page of your website.  If you manage your own site, this is not out of the question for most tech savvy individuals; there are plenty of tutorials available on the web.  If you are using WordPress.org, you are in luck: research plugins.  There are several WordPress plugins that will insert code into your site.

Establish Benchmarks

In order to use analytics effectively, you need to be clear on where you are starting from.  We frequently run our clients’ websites through http://marketing.grader.com, published by Hubspot.  Hubspot or another grading tool can help you to see website’s weaknesses and to establish clear goals.  (See our review of Hubspot founders’ Inbound Marketing book.)

Getting Started and Setting Goals

Create an account at http://www.google.com/analytics/.  It is free and only takes a few moments.  Review the descriptions and a couple of the videos that describe on a high level what Google Analytics does. Google’s own description states:  “Google Analytics anonymously tracks how visitors interact with a website, including where they came from, what they did on a site, and whether they completed any of the site’s conversion goals. Analytics also keeps track of your e-commerce data, and combines this with campaign and conversion information to provide insight into the performance of your advertising campaigns.”

If you are using Google Adwords as part of a paid campaign to drive traffic to your site, you have the option to link the Google Analytics into your Google Adwords account.  This will give you further information about how your paid advertising is doing vs. organic searches, and can provide you with the means to keep improving ROI on your campaign.

Not clear on what your initial goals should be?  Google Analytics’ capabilities will give you some insight as to what may be easy to track.  A metric that is easy to report on and easy to track gives you a major advantage when presenting to management.  If you are managing your own site, a trackable goal can provide the starting point for educating yourself about SEO and other issues inherent in driving traffic or converting visitors.  For example, you may change blog content in order to increase new visitors to your site, or further the relationship with existing visitors by writing about things that were previously of interest.  You may also wish to target different types of sites for links depending upon what is working.  If you find a high purchase rate in your ecommerce site based upon references from a particular type of site, or from a specific area, or in a given language you would want to do more of that and less of whatever did not work as well.

The specifics that you choose to track initially are less important than the process of analysis itself.  Viewing your website as a part of your sales campaign and tracking results as you would for your human sales team makes sense.  What gets tracked gets done.

To learn more about Spalding Barker Strategies, visit our homepage or Contact Us to see how we can help your business.

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