With all of the analytics packages out there sometimes it is hard to choose which one to implement! Some are more user friendly but provide less data while others are hard to manipulate but provide a mountainous amount of data. The worst part? Most of these programs have a large price tag associated with the use of the program.
For those of you who would rather swim through analytics data without a large price tag attached for similar programs, here are 10 tips to get the most from Google Analytics.
- Documentation. Read the major links on the Google Analytics support site (www.google.com/support/analytics/). This will give you a good overall understanding of the implementation.
- Page Tags. Tag all your pages with the GA Tracking Code that Google gives you when you sign up. Most GA users put the tracking code into an "include" file that gets included on all your pages, like a footer. When you think you are all tagged, spend $9 to $29 for a SiteScan at Epikone (http://sitescanga.com) to verify your work.
- Secure Pages. If you have any secure pages on your site, you need to use the secure code for them. The easiest way to do this is to use secure code on all your pages (even the insecure pages). When you sign up for GA, give your URL as https://www.mysite.com, not http, and it will generate the secure code (and don’t worry: the analytics will still work just fine.)
- Test Profile. Create a test profile in addition to your "real" profile. That way, you can test new features. When you are sure they work, move them over into your real profile. (Under "Analytics Settings" choose "Add a Website Profile." Then choose to add a profile for an existing site. You can have up to 50 profiles in an account.)
- Funnels. Use sales funnels (tools that allow you to observe the online sales process) for defined movement in the site -- like through a shopping cart, or from a sign-up page to the "Thank you" page. Don’t try to make your funnels teach you about undefined motion, like pathing through the whole site -- you'll just be frustrated. And don’t forget to create those funnels; they are one of GA’s greatest strengths.
- Special Profiles. Create special profiles for important campaigns (like paid search or organic search). That way, you can apply all of the GA tools focusing a specific campaign. This is one of the best ways to segment in GA, but you have to think of it before you need it.
- E-commerce Tracking. If you have an e-commerce site, remember to set up the special e-commerce tracking code and tell GA that each profile does e-commerce.
- Autotag Google AdWords. If you use Google AdWords, make sure that your AdWords talk to your Analytics. Then be sure that your AdWords are autotagged (it's in the "My Account" tab of your AdWords.) Finally, go to your Google Analytics from your AdWords (you have to do it this way), choose your profile, edit the profile, edit the main website information, and choose "Apply Cost Data." Now your AdWords and your Analytics are in sync.
- Tag Other Campaigns. Be sure to tag all your other campaigns, too – like your Yahoo and MSN paid search, your banner ads, your email marketing. Use the Google Analytics link tagging tool, being sure to include at least a campaign name, a source and a medium.
- Analyze your data. Use all that hard work to figure out where you are getting your best traffic from, to learn where individuals are leaving your shopping cart, and to learn which keywords are working for you. After all, the whole point of having great analytics is to make more money.