Google Analytics has a special place in my heart because it has helped me recognize and fix my mistakes for many years. That’s why I make sure every website we launch is fully ready to collect data.
Unfortunately, not that many developers, web agencies, or website owners place Analytics set-up as their priority when launching a website. And it’s completely fair, after all, they have so many things to worry about. The only problem is, after a few months when someone on their team (SEO, CRO, Marketing, dev, business, and so on) want to check the data, they realize that all that time the website didn’t track goals, events, search… sometimes they don’t even have any Google Analytics at all.
Months of data lost.
So I thought that if we could make a simple step-by-step checklist detailed enough we could help web workers make sure that each and every website collects the data they need.
The Timeless Google Analytics Checklist
- First of all, make sure the tracking code is set properly.
If you want, you can simply set up a new Google Analytics account, and paste the tracking code in your header or footer. The script looks like this:
If you need more information on setting up the tracking code click here.
- Include the tracking code in every page: stand-alone pages, different templates, forms, anything that doesn’t use the header or footer where the main tracking code is.
- Subdomain and cross-domain. If you use sub-domains or multiple domains you can easily track them with Google Analytics in the same property. Find out how to configure Google Analytics for subdomains and cross-domains.
- Create a second view or profile. Google Analytics collects data for each profile/view differently. So if you make a mistake in your settings, you might lose data. Always keep a default view with everything, just in case. It’s like working in a lab and keeping a control sample. To create a new view simply go to Admin > View > Add new view. We will assume from here that all the changes you’re making are in the newly created view.
- Exclude your IP from the tracking. You don’t want your data to interfere with the real visitors’ data. Here is how to do it.
- Sync Google Seach Console with Google Analytics. Somewhat easy. The idea is to make sure that you can get all the data from Google Search Console transferred to your Analytics account. You will then get access to some very useful features:
- Link Adwords and Analytics if you have an Adwords campaign running or plan to run any. Here is how to do it.
- Enable Demographics if you’re interested in Audience data. If your website has enough traffic, it could be quite useful. Just remember that the data is not very accurate since it’s based on the user’s browser history and social media profiles (like Google Plus). Also, visitors under 18 are not represented, they are mixed with the rest. But it can still be a great way to A/B test, segmentation, and remarketing.
- Enable Benchmark. This is another underestimated feature in Google Analytics. Basically, you agree to anonymously share your data with your Industry, and in return, you can compare your results with them. Pretty cool eh? here is how to do it.
- Speed sample. If you don’t change that value, GA will test the speed of your site once every blue moon. If your traffic is high it’s OK, but if your traffic is under 100 visits/day, you might want to collect more samples. For this you must change your tracking code to this:
- E-Commerce Tracking (if relevant). There is so much to say about tracking E-com with Analytics that I recommend you read this great article by SEMRush about it.
- If you’re like me, you’ll want to set up Goals to try and put a number on your actual goals. It could be every time a visitor subscribes to your service, clicks on your phone number, or buy a product. Goals are powerful and are based on two different tracking systems.
- Destination page: Ideal with conversion funnels for E-commerce (e.g. cart > checkout > thank you).
- Event-based: A user clicked on the Call Us Button. More common but requires setting up Events.
- Marketing Campaigns. Even if your campaign provider tracks data, you want to make sure you have your own website tracking system. Basically, you create a link that contains data for a specific campaign, and every time users use that link to go to your website they will fall under the campaign name in Google Analytics. You will need Google URL Builder to build your campaign’s URL.
- Filter Spammers to keep your data as clean as possible (hint: it will never be 100% accurate). We follow this very useful article to filter spam.
- Weather Conditions. What? Well, this one is for fun. But it could actually be helpful. With GA you can tell what’s your website’s conversion rate based on day and time, source, and location. That’s great, but maybe you should add the weather to it. What if a rainy day happens to have twice as many conversions? Here is how to do it.
I hope you enjoyed that Google Analytics Checklist and that it will help you collect useful data to make your website even better!
If I missed anything don’t hesitate to contact me at Anthony(at)noblepixels.ca to let me know.