Reviewing analytics data is really important when redesigning an existing website. Rather than taking an uninformed view of what content is being read by users, you can actually find out using your analytics data and make informed decisions based on this insight.
Google provides a robust industry standard analytics platform that is improving all the time. It can be installed on a website in several different ways. The first is by adding a UA tag to each page on the site, and any further tracking tags to buttons and links to track clicks. Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows non-technical users to add tracking codes across a site, without the need for technical assistance. (Note: Google Tag Manager needs to be installed on the site first in this case. There are also situations where a code update can stop tracking working, so care needs to be taken with this approach.)
A standard out of the box GA implementation will provide a wealth of information that can be explored and combined to gain valuable insight. It is worth noting that users are only tracked visiting your site after GA has been implemented. Real-time tracking is a quick way to check tracking is working.
An analytics implementation can then be extended to allow the measurement of specific events such as clicks on banners, or most usefully website goals. A ‘goal’ maybe an apply button or a register button. This is also known as a website conversion. Reports can be made much more interesting as they can focus on what behaviour or inbound traffic led to these goals. You can also setup page funnels to a goal. This is where you can track the sequence of pages a user visits before a reaching the goal. This can be really useful for understanding where users are dropping off your site and gives you insight into how your users are moving around your website to reach the goal.
Inbound campaigns can be tagged with parameters on the website URL so that Google can track these as specific referrals. This is a really simple exercise to get into the habit of doing and means that you can see which campaigns are working better than others.
Getting clever with event tracking tags can enable a test and learn culture. Banners and content can be tracked and changed to see what impacts they are having. Optimisations can be made to the site to improve conversion rates in a scientific manner.
This is useful when you have two websites that form part of a user journey to a conversion point. Out of the box, GA will not recognise a user as the same user, when they step from one website to another. However, with CDT setup you can analyse the complete end to end journey. This is specifically useful for careers website and application tracking systems (ATS), where ideally the goal is not the apply button on the careers website, but the submit application in the ATS system.
It is often useful to setup a dashboard report which provides you with the specific information you want to use to make decisions. The GA interface allows you to analyse data in every way possible, and it can be easy to get information overload, and hence not really get the insight you need.
A simple dashboard makes viewing the key indicators, be it visitors, events, referrals, best pages and conversion goals. Each of these may be segmented by other data such as demographic or technology.
This dashboard can then be easily viewed month on month to see seasonal trends or business growths or slumps.