May 6, 2015 | Sarah Danks
If you have a website, you should have some type of analytics platform installed. If you don’t, hop to it post haste! You might not THINK you want — or need — to see what your web visitors are up to, but trust me…
…the time you want to know and don’t have some type of analytics installed is the time you’ll realize you’re too late. So, install it now!
We recommend using Google Analytics (GA).
- It’s free.
- It’s easy to get started.
- It’ll track more KPI than you’ll probably care about.
What’s a KPI, anyway?
KPI = Key Performance Indicator.
If you care at all about what visitors are doing, first and foremost you need to set up your Goals section.
Every website has at least one goal — believe it or not — and in order to track whether or not goals are being met, you need to track said goals. Not everyone has their Goal section set up, but we believe everyone should track at least ONE goal on their website.
After all, what’s the point of having a website, if not to fulfill some type of need?
When your Goal section is set up and functioning, the view in Google Analytics will look something like this:
But before you get to that stage, you have to start somewhere.
After you’ve logged in and you’re on the Reporting page, zip down to the left-hand navigation and click on “Conversions,” then Goals. You’ll see a dropdown:
If you haven’t set any goals, when you click on “Overview” you’ll get a screen that looks like this:
So, to get started all you have to know is what you want your website visitors to DO when they’re there.
Let’s say you’re interested in lead generation on your website and want people to contact you through your online form. Here I’ll zip through a quick-and-easy tutorial on how to set up your very first Goal: tracking the “thank you” page!
(You DO need to have a confirmation page upon form fill-out in order to be able to track this goal with GA.)
Click on “Set up goals” to get to this screen:
Obviously you’ll need to click on +New Goal. Name the goal whatever it is you’d like to call it (we keep it pretty simple and descriptive):
Again, you have to have some type of confirmation page that visitors get once they’ve sent the form to you. This way you know the visitor actually completed the form and sent it.
Click “Create Goal” and voilà! You’ve got yourself a goal:
Keep in mind that Google Analytics can only start tracking this as a Goal once you’ve completed this process; there’s no way to look “back in time” to before you were tracking the goal to see it.
Of course, you can always go back into your Behavior section to look at how often this page has been viewed for any time period; it just won’t start populating in your Goals section until you click “Create Goal.”
That’s it. So, go forth and create Goals!