Getting the basics down regarding Google Analytics can be overwhelming even for seasoned veterans. By keeping in mind some best practices, you’ll be able to better utilize the capabilities of Google Analytics and cater to your particular needs. Take a look at some of the best practices we recommend below.
Admin and Set-Up
- If you haven’t already, update to the asynchronous Google Analytics before the closing </head> tag. This new version allows for easy-to-implement event tracking and earlier load time.
- If you have multiple subdomains with multiple profiles, be sure to set-up a catch-all profile with no filters or exclusions. This is recommended in case there are any issues with the other profiles – if needed you can do a little digging and get the same profile information in a crunch from that catch-all.
- Exclude your network or internal traffic from tracking with Analytics. Surprisingly enough, internal traffic can skew the data significantly. This can be done at the domain level or a range of IPs.
- When looking at your Analytics data, be sure to include annotations. If there was a spike in traffic and you can attribute it to an email blast for instance, then be sure to note it. Chances are you aren’t the only one looking in the Analytics account. By including annotations you eliminate any confusion and can see who added a particular annotation.
- Depending on your industry and other online initiatives, a fast way to look at a particular group is to create a custom segment for it. The example below is an advanced segment for MSN PPC traffic. This allows for a quick glance at how MSN as a search engine is performing.
- Create goals. Plain and simple. Even if you aren’t an e-commerce site and can’t track sales, set up other goals like time on site, pages viewed, downloads, etc. A trackable action will provide additional insight as to what people do on your site. Sure you can get them there, but what else can they do that adds value? Determine what that is and track it.
- At some point or another you’re going to have to report on your findings within Google Analytics. Make it easy by taking advantage of the new export options. Have any Standard Reporting – Explorer dashboard exported as a spreadsheet, PDF, or even emailed to you at regular intervals.
- Make reporting even easier by adding those same Standard Reporting – Explorer’s to a custom dashboard. Building out custom dashboards makes for an instant overview of key metrics without having to dig.
All of these best practices are designed to make using Google Analytics easier for beginners as well as advanced users. But not all of the best practices may apply to your site. Consider taking a look at each one in an effort to add value and gain insights into your online presence – or just to familiarize yourself more with Google Analytics and the plethora of information it provides.