As you’re setting up your website, one of the final features to enable is some form of Analytics tracking in order to see website visitor data. Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools used to accomplish this, and it comes with numerous types of data that allow customization based on your business’s needs. Below are 5 simple features to help get you started.
1. Link Google Webmaster Tools & Google AdWords
If you haven’t done so already, make sure that Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) is also linked to your Google Analytics account. This allows some of the data from GWT to be directly integrated into Analytics, giving you a more accurate picture of how your website is performing without switching back and forth between the two tools.
If you are running paid campaigns through Google Adwords, you need to link it to Google Analytics in order to get more accurate acquisition data. This allows your website traffic to be categorized correctly by showing you exactly the right amount of paid visitors. Otherwise, your paid advertisements have the potential to get categorized elsewhere without you knowing about it.
2. Use multiple views
When you first set up your account, make sure that you always have one view that remains completely untouched. This will be your view that contains all the raw data of your website analytics. If you want to start filtering out visits, make a completely new view for those filters and label it appropriately. It’s also useful to remember that you cannot set a filter for past data on Google Analytics. As a result, if you decide to use a new filter, it will only apply to brand new website visits.
By having one view with raw data, you can always use that to compare to the filtered views. Through comparison, you know exactly what your filters have excluded, allowing you to determine if you set your filters correctly.
3. Use appropriate filters
What exactly are filters useful for? Sometimes, your website will get hit with traffic that isn’t actually real. These are commonly bots, ghost referrals, and altogether they are definitely not potential customers coming to your website. First, you’ll need to figure out how these visits are coming to your website. Some will creep into your organic keyword queries while others will appear in your referrals. From there you can set filters to exclude these domains from your Analytics accounts.
Another time that filters prove useful is if you want to see more data on how your mobile visitors are interacting with your site. You can set a filter for one view so that it only displays mobile traffic. From there, it becomes really easy to see which pages they are visiting, how long they are staying, how they got to your site in the first place, and much more.
There are numerous ways to use filters so take some time to figure out which ones are best suited for your business and its goals.
4. Use event tracking
Event tracking allows you to collect data about very specific interactions that visitors have with your website. By embedding the right code, it allows you to track how many clicks a certain button received. It can also tell you how many times someone has clicked the link to download a file from your website. If you have a video on your website, you can see how many people have clicked play and/or pause. If there’s any action that a visitor can take on your website, Google Analytics has made it possible to track almost every single one.
Once you have figured out exactly what you want to track, and after you have determined that it is actually possible, you’ll want to run a real time test to make sure that you coded it correctly. After that, you’ll now be able to look into your Analytics account and see just how many people have triggered the event. In the example below, you can see that 1,627 people clicked on the Online Shop button of the website.
5. Check your Google Analytics notifications
Last, but not least, whenever you sign into your account, always check for new notifications in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen. These alerts let you know if something is not configured properly in your account, and sometimes it will even give you suggestions on how to better improve your data collection. If you accidentally ignore a notification, you can still find it under “Archived notifications”.