Google analytics allows an insight into your website and its visitors, of which the setup is a user preference. However, we have put together a few suggestions on best practice for the web analytics solution:
- Set Goals – Even if a goal is not needed within the early reports, they should still always be set up. Typically, this is what the conversation point of the site may be, which is normally obvious by downloading a PDF, a form or thank you page or contacting the business via another means. Make sure to test your goals on a regular basis. Find the page-path in the content report, and view the ‘unique page-views’ to this page. Audit the goal once a month once it is set up and working correctly to ensure the goal and its funnel still works.
- Make sure to design an account structure that fits the plans for your websites – Keep your account structure clear and simple, it should never have more than three tracking codes fire on each page of the site. For one site then only one tracking code should be used, however if you deal with several domains then two tracking codes are recommended – one for site level and a second global roll up. It can be tricky task creating an effective account structure that provides all of the insight – always think about the level of visibility across accounts that may be needed, ensuring any trouble is avoided with providing access to reports.
- Think about your reporting and know your metrics – You need to understand the metrics and dimensions that are used in Google Analytics. Know how to use them and what insight they are reporting on. Many websites out there list and explain these, and it can be surprising. Did you know ‘bounce rate’ only applies to pages you can enter on? So, you shouldn’t report on ‘bounce rate’ within a form with pages in which you have to access through a page on the website.
- Apply filters – Filers allow you to filter out a number of things such as your IP address. As you will probably be testing pages, your site experience will not be average, and by applying this filer you don’t need to worry about your own testing data skewing reports. Some great filters:
– Include [xx] Traffic –Includes certain domains traffic and is used as a best practice to filter out domains that aren’t the live site.
– Exclude [xx] Traffic – Excludes all traffic from agencies/developers/testers.
– Add hostname to URL
– Force Lowercase – Stops cases from coming up as different pages. E.g. Home.html and home.html will be merged together
- Use naming conventions – Always develop a convention and keep to it, whether this is an account or profile name, a custom report or an advanced segment – this ensures meaningful reports for any party.