Internet marketing is like a high-wire balancing act. Figuring out what drives visitors to your site, what they do when they get there, and how you can increase conversion rates seems like an ongoing battle. Google Analytics is only one piece of this large business website puzzle. Figuring out ways to save time and increase success with Google Analytics is simple with the following hacks and tricks.
Fixing Funnel Problems
One problem website owners face is figuring out how to turn people who visit their websites into customers. Funnel problems can reduce conversion rates. One way you can use Google Analytics is to analyze your funnels and see how effective they are. You can do this by setting up a goal and inputting URLs for your funnel pages. This will allow you to better track each step of your funnel process and tweak it. For example, are you losing customers on the page where the customer fills out his mailing address? What can you change to increase conversion for this page?
Set Up Custom Alerts
Another thing you can do that will keep you apprised of the processes on your site is to get up custom alerts. A custom alert notifies you on the days when you don’t have time to check your analytics, but only if something significant occurs. For example, if your site has a sudden decrease in traffic, you probably need to know that so you can figure out why.
You can set up custom alerts by using custom variables. One alert you might want to set up is if your site gets no visitors on a given day. This can signal that your site is down, blocked by Google or that you have other issues you need to check out and fix ASAP.
Clean Your URLs
Inconsistent URLs can create false metrics. For example, your home page may appear as both www.samplesite.com and www.samplesite.com/index.php. Short of gathering all the data and using a calculator to figure the actual number of visitors (and who has time for that), it is hard to know your analytics when this occurs.
Google Analytics provides a hack you can use to fix this problem. Simply log in to GA’s dashboard. Go to Profile Settings/Edit Profile Information and set the address and default page. However, if stats are also pulling from a home page or a simple root, you may need to add additional hacks via the Search and Replace filter.
Choose Custom Filter/Search and Replace and choose “Request URL” in the Filter Field drop down. You can then use the search string and replace string to customize results. For example, you can make the search string something like index.php and replace with a simple slash or whatever you choose. There are additional symbols you can use to further define your filters, such as a dollar sign to indicate a search string that appears at the end of another search string.
Placing Tracking Code in the Right Places
While you can place the code anywhere on your page, including the body, it runs faster and better when in the head.
Track Form Abandonment
Yes, you can use Google Analytics to track form abandonment. There are some other options out there that are a bit easier, but using Analytics will give you a different set of data. It will pinpoint stats down to a specific box on your form that people are pausing at before leaving your site.
You will need to add some code to your website in order to utilize this feature of Analytics. Luna Metrics offers a script for this purpose that you may find helpful. The script utilizes JQuery to track results.
Adding these hacks helps you take Google Analytics to the next level. No longer will you only track how many people visit your site, but you will track their actions and use that info to increase conversions and profit.