Google Analytics is an exceptional tool for website traffic reporting, but the data can lose its value if certain decisions are not made early on. Here are a few tips to get you started with Google Analytics so you can get the most out of your data.
Exclude Yourself from ReportsUnless you tell it otherwise, Google Analytics includes all traffic information coming to your website. Yes, that includes everyone in the office, your marketing person, and you when you’re checking to make sure something works or find a link to send to a client or customer. To avoid this and get accurate data, create a filter for IP addresses for yourself in Google Analytics. If you don’t feel quite that tech savvy, install the Google Analytics Opt-out plugin in your browser.
Track Conversions as GoalsGoal-setting is a big deal in Google Analytics. It allows you to know if people are doing what you want them to do when they visit your website. Are they searching for a property? Did they sign up for your newsletter? Have they registered for unrestricted access? Creating and tracking goals in Google Analytics will let you know how well those conversions are working. You can even set a dollar amount for each goal to represent what those conversions are worth to your business.
Track Your Links with ParametersWhen you look at your Aquisition report in Google Analytics, you’ll see several traffic categories including organic search, direct traffic, referrals, social, and paid ads (assuming you’re using that option). Direct traffic is often the first or second largest channel since it refers to visitors who typed your exact URL into to the address bar, or used a saved bookmark. But the “direct” channel data can sometimes include visitors who used links that you sent in an email or text message as well. This makes it hard to see the value of your email or text campaigns. To avoid this issue, use unique URL parameters for every campaign. For example, your email newsletter might include a link that looks like this:
http://www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=emailURL parameters like this help you to better identify the exact source of your visitors, and gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Use the Google URL builder to tag your URLs with parameters Google Understands.