The beauty of the web for businesses and marketers (and anyone else, really), is that every interaction a prospective customer has with your website is trackable. Tools like Google Analytics let you see, in complete detail, what kinds of pages get the best traffic for you, where your external visitors are coming from, and, most important of all, what parts of your website are best at leading visitors towards a contact or sale.

To get the most out of analytics tools, you have to be sure they’re working – measuring what they’re supposed to measure, and getting the numbers right.

Google Analytics is complex and powerful, giving you a lot of options. That can help you get exactly the right data – or, if you click the wrong button, it can throw everything off, leading you to draw exactly the wrong conclusions.

(Oh, and in case we got too far ahead of you: if you’re still hazy on what analytics is, and why you need it for your website, you can check out our post above, or go deeper with some solid starter guides from ConversionXL and Moz.)

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Get your Google analytics in ship shape.

Here are just a few of the things you can improve about your analytics – or that can hold them back from giving you the insight they should.

1. Stop Tracking Yourself. You and your employees probably spend a fair amount of time looking at your site – but those aren’t the numbers you’re looking for. You can filter specific IP addresses from your results under the “View Settings” menu in Google Analytics. You can also filter out remote employees’ and contractors’ traffic.

2. Set Goals. Analytics can tell you a lot about page traffic, obviously – but you’re not online to get people to look at your pretty website. To track performance, you must set up Goals within Google Analytics. That will highlight things like downloads, leads, or newsletter signups, and ultimately help you figure out how to generate more of them. The Goals menu is under the “Admin” tab in your Analytics account.

3. Get What You Pay For. Google AdWords is a great way to generate highly targeted traffic – and your AdWords account gives you a lot of good information. But Analytics allows you to link your AdWords account directly to your actual page traffic data, giving you new, Batman-level powers, including seeing how specific keywords work across your site. Set up the link in the Property menu of your Admin page.

4. Spot Your Errors. Everybody makes mistakes – the difference is in how you fix them. Adding Google Analytics codes to your error pages (404 and 500) can help you spot broken links on your page, or external referrers who made a mistake when trying to link to you.

Of course, that’s just scratching the surface. Solid tracking is at least as important as having a great web presence in the first place, and experienced web techs will check for all sorts of smaller details – like filtering out page refreshes, or making sure your time zones match between accounts. Our team of inbound marketing professionals are among those few and proud, so if you need help, reach out and get in touch today.