Your main marketing tool and the “shop window” online is your website. But do you know how well it’s performing? How many visitors do you get every week? How many of those sign up for your email newsletter (opt-in to your email list)? Where do they come from, what keywords they searched before they reached your site?
All this information is available for free in one of the most comprehensive marketing analytics tools online – Google Analytics. And best of all – it’s completely free to use! In this post I’m going to show you how to setup a Google Analytics account and your website conversion goals.
The main reason we need to set up and track websites goals is to track website conversions.
Every business website has a purpose: to sell products or services, to cross-promote another site, to engage users. The purpose is achieved when a user accomplishes some specific action, like watching a video, filling in an enquiry form, viewing a minimum number of pages, buying a product. It’s important to identify these milestones and give them values so you can track and measure the extent to which your users succeed.
That success data is available in the Goals reports in metrics like Goal Completions, Goal Value and Goal Conversion Rate.
Types of Google Analytics goals you can track:
- Destination: the user reaches a specified web page or app screen.
- Duration: the user spends a specified minimum amount of time on your site or app.
- Pages/Screens per visit: the user views a specified minimum number of pages or screens.
- Event: the user conducts a specified action, like viewing a video.
For newsletter subscription you can set up the Destination type of goal – webpage view. You need to set up for your email subscription form to redirect subscribers to a special page on the website “thanks for subscription”. Views of this page we are going to track.
First you need to create a Google Analytics account if you haven’t got one yet. Then you need to set up a marketing “account” there for your business and accept their Terms & Conditions. In each account you can have multiple properties – I would usually set up a properly for each separate website a business has.
Once your property has been set up, Google Analytics will give you a tracking code or a tracking ID that you can add to your website. If your website is powered by WordPress, you can install one of several excellent plugins – we love Google Analytics plugin by Yoast. Most of the plugins are free to use as well.
After your plugin has been configured and code successfully added, Google Analytics should say that Tracking has been installed and it’s waiting for data. You can come back to check on your results in a few days to uncover answers to all the questions I showed you at the beginning of this article.
What can you do with this data after you have setup your Google Analytics account?
You can test improvements to your site to see what really works.
- Name of your freebie or optin offer – reason to sign up for your list,
- Position on the page – above, below, after header, within the page etc,
- Having a pop up vs not having a pop up form, as well as having a text pop up offer vs a video opt-in offer,
- Having a sidebar signup vs not having one, and positioning it differently within the sidebar.
The key to testing is you change only one variable at a time, leave it for a while, check your results. If you start changing several aspects at the same time, like adding a pop up, changing offer title, and adding a form just below the header – you won’t know for sure which of those improvements made the biggest difference, and which of the changes could actually be hindering the impact of others.
The important part you will also need to set up is to configure goals for your website property – this is done through Google Analytics admin interface. You will need to set up a Goal for each conversion type you want to track – contact form enquiries, product purchases, newsletter subscriptions and so on. The simplest one to set up is your newsletter (email list) opt in conversion.You will need to choose a Goal of type page tracking and enter the URL of the page that subscribers see after they’ve signed up for your newsletter. If you haven’t got a page like that yet – you can add one to your site. In your newsletter provider you then need to add a setting that once someone signed up they should get redirected to this special page. How to do this varies from one provider to another, so you will need to check their specific help files.