This post is meant to inspire people that aren’t tracking goals on their site (or don’t pay attention to them). If you’re one of those people that says “well, i know that business is up, so I must be getting more traffic on my website” OR “business is down, so it must be because I’m getting less traffic on my website”, this post is for you. If you’re going to do only one thing in your analytics implementation, YOU SHOULD TRACK GOALS.
A goal is an action that you want a visitor to take on your site and is something you can track in Google Analytics or a similar analytics package. People that are already tracking goals know how powerful it can be, but not everyone is tracking ALL of their sites’ potential goals. Here are some common examples of goals:
Some goals are considered primary goals and those are usually the goals that are directly tied to revenue such as a lead form filled out with contact information or a phone call. Secondary goals are things like newsletter signups and whitepaper downloads that might eventually lead to a sale but are not as revenue driven as a form fill out or a phone call. It should also be mentioned that in the new version of Google Analytics (Version 5), Events can be setup as goals so you can track things like clicks on a video or a social media icon as a goal.
Without goals, you’re basically throwing “stuff” at a wall to see what sticks. You can see which keywords are driving traffic to your site, but you can’t tell which keywords or traffic sources are more valuable than others. You can’t tie money spent on a specific keyword to results. In other words, all of the data in your Analytics account is inadequate if it’s not tied to an action. For example, if your website gets 100 visitors in one day and you know 5 leads were generated (forms filled out) out of those 100 visitors. If you don’t have goals setup, you don’t know if those 5 leads came from a search engine, direct traffic or a referral from another site you are advertising on. You don’t know if the converting visitors came from organic results or Pay Per Click. Most importantly, you don’t know the actual keyword the lead used to find you. You can see all the keywords that delivered traffic that day but if they’re not tied to a goal, there is no actionable insight. Many people look at analytics just to see how much traffic their site got. Who cares how much traffic you got? The more important question is how much of your traffic converted and how did those conversions find you? Now, you’re getting some actionable insight!
Here is a link to step by step instructions on how to setup goals in Google Analytics. Some principles to keep in mind when setting up goals:
the checkout process on an e-commerce site. Defining the steps in the funnel can help you figure out where people are dropping off in the funnel and help identify how to fix issues.