29 Aug

10 Google Analytics Settings to Look For in a WordPress Plug-in

WordPress Plugin IconThe default settings in Google Analytics do not provide data you can really take action with.  After all what actions can you realistically take with page view and traffic source statistics?  Google Analytics is software, and like most software to be valuable it must be configured. Thankfully for WordPress users there are a wide variety of plug-ins available to help you configure a few of Google Analytics’ settings.  Here are a few of my favorite settings”:

Site Search (a personal favorite)

If you have a search box on your website, you want this.  Google Analytics tracks how many times your visitors use your website’s search box; and even better it tracks how many times each search term is used in your website’s search box. There are many powerful ways you can use the search box data, including for:

  • New SEO search terms
  • Blog / Content ideas
  • Missing content your visitors would like to see

When setting up site search with your WordPress plug in you will need to provide the search query.  The search query is a letter, usually an “s” or a “q” on most WordPress sites.  To find your website’s search query go to your website’s search bar, type something in and hit return.  Go to the URL bar at the top of your search results and look for the letter immediately after the “?”.  Insert that letter into plug-in.

The Site Search Query is the letter immediately following the ? on in the URL.

The Site Search Query is the letter immediately following the ? on in the URL.

Exclude Some WordPress User Types (a favourite of mine)

As the Administrators of our websites we don’t need our traffic activity included with our regular visitors.  In fact our own traffic can skew our data.  Check this setting to exclude WordPress Administrators activities from being included in your data.

WordPress Categories and Tags (another favourite of mine)

In addition to keep our blog content organized, WordPress tags and categories are valuable SEO juice.  When GA tracks how your website visitors use your tags you can rank them and swap out the low performers for fresher tags that might perform better, perhaps with something you see from Site Search. This setting is tough to find in WP plugins.  I have only seen it in the Yoast Google Analytics plug-in.

PDF Downloads and Outbound Links

Many of us offer PDFs for download.  If you have PDFs on your website it is a good idea to understand how they contribute to your website goals. Check this box on the plug-in and then all PDF downloads on your website will be tracked.

Set Domain Name

10 Google Analytics Settings to Look For in a WordPress Plug-in

Click for a Summary of 10 Google Analytics Settings to Look For in a WordPress Plug-in

This prevents others from using your tracking code on their website and inflating your data.

Enhanced Link Attribution / In Page Analytics

This is a fancy name for telling you what percent of visitors to a page are clicking on specific links.  It is useful for analyzing underperforming pages or if you are considering redesigning a page.

ReMarketing

If you have advertising on your blog you will want this feature enabled.

Load GA Code onto Your Website

It’s easy to take this one for granted.  But it’s important because if the Google Analytics Tracking Code is not inserted on every page, you don’t have Google Analytics. When you sign up for Google Analytics you are provided with java script that should be loaded onto every page you want to track.  Without a plug-in you have to insert the java script manually into the header.php file just before the closing head tag.  If you are just starting out this is intimidating because there’s the risk (albeit small) of messing up your entire website. If you don’t know what that header.php and closing head tag is, you probably shouldn’t be inserting the GA code – let the plug-in do it for you. The WordPress plug-in will have a box for you to insert the GA Tracking ID (the number highlighted at the top of Figure 1.  Copy your GA Tracking ID and paste it in the plug-in.  Your Google Analytics tracking is ready to go.  Now it’s time to configure with the plug-in.

Do You Have Anything to Add?

So that’s my list.   Please add yours in the comments. WordPress Plug-in image: Image from ZERO TO WORDPRESS HERO Ben Lobaugh

18 Aug

Google Analytics – Training You Will Use

Training Certificate

Google Aanlytics Training certificate

e-Nor has announced it’s 2015 Google Analytics training schedule.  When it comes to picking Google Analytics training we have a lot of choices from online to instructor lead.  Here is my review of an Instructor lead training I took in October 2013.

I know this training is good because I have applied what I learned.  But most importantly I have the confidence to work well beyond Google Analytics default settings and make real decisions with the data.

What makes this training so good?

Lots of training offers to coach and help you after the course is over, but such promises are often empty because of last minute cancellations, unreturned emails, and the general run around trying to get help.

That’s not the case here with Instructor Eric Fettman, who manages the Blog Google Analytics Tip of the Day and e-Nor the Silicon Valley marketing consulting firm who manages the course.

Post Training Follow-up and Consultations are for Real

It’s been almost a full year since I took the training and I have had at nine one-on-on follow-up Skype sessions with the instructor Eric Fettman.  Development planning and coaching is one of the course features – but these guys mean it.  They follow through and really help you apply what you learned.

Training With a Bias to Action on Data

The core philosophy of this course was: marketing data is useless without action.  So in addition to showing demonstrating how to find data, there is a lot of discussion about how to use the information for active website management.  These discussions had the most impact on me:

Google Analytics Implementation

One of the best outcomes of this training for me is confidence with the GA installation and set-up of accounts, properties and views.  Even better, I now have the knowledge to speak intelligently to website developers about how to implement correct GA code and what information will be tracked.

Measuring Against Goals

This training emphasizes the proper use of goals in Google Analytics including how to set them and then develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance in achieving each goal.  For example, by monetizing all of your goals it is much easier to identify each webpage’s contribution to a goal.  Even non-monetary goals like generating a sales lead can be applied this principal.  Just put a $1.00 value on the goal and GA will report how each pages contributes its achievement.

How to Make Things Happen Because of the Data

Google Analytics produces a lot of data and reports that can be used to cause adjustments in web design.   I learned new techniques to quickly find information within Google Analytics and structure the information into a useful report.   Even more valuable were the discussions about what actions to take based on the data.

For example using:

  • Site search for keyword research.
  • Advanced segments, table filters and view filters to identify missed opportunities.
  • Secondary dimensions and weighted sorts for comparisons to solve problems.
  • …. A whole lot more.

Extra Resources to Augment Website Marketing

The course also covers how to integrate some Google tools that augment Google Analytics:  Web Master, Tag Assistant, Tag Manager, and one of my favourites, Google URL Builder.

Now They’ve Added A Workbook

Eric has created and refined an interactive format where participants work with the course leader to complete a workbook instead of staring at a bunch of PowerPoint slides. The workbook method is beneficial as it allows course participants the hands on experience in working through the analytics process with the guidance of the instructor.  I was fortunate to give feedback on a draft version of the workbook and, yes, it is excellent at showing you how to apply the principals you learn.  When I did the training last year in Washington DC, we had the PowerPoint version, but I envy those who get the workbook version.

Conclusion

If you are looking for Google Analytics training, seriously consider attending one of Eric Fettman’s analytics training courses.  You will find Eric to be an engaging, patient and knowledgeable instructor who understands how marketers need to use Google Analytics for website performance.

The training is planned across North America.  If you can get yourself a seat there it’s worth the money and time.