If It's Not Measured, It Won't Happen

 

 

Some people will say that Christine Lagarde is one of the most powerful Women in the world. Others will say who is Christine Lagarde? As the 1st female Managing Director of the IMF and former Finance Minister of France, she likely knows a thing or two about goal completion.

In a recent interview, as the interviewer attempted to extract a specific statement, Lagarde wryly answered (paraphrasing, sorry can't find original link):

"In Business, if it's not measured, it will not happen."

How true. There are only so many activities you can juggle and the ones you ignore are going to fall through the cracks. Does your diet plan succeed when you hide the scales? Are you likely to accomplish your financial objectives when you don't open your bills?

"In Business, if it's not measured, it will not happen."

Much like higher education, if you are going to succeed in business, understanding what is important to do and what can be safely ignored is a key to success. Automating, as much as possible, the things you have to do, will free up more of your time and help tip the balance in your favour.

If your website is to be one of the primary tools to reach out and interact with customers than you should be able to give it regular performance reviews to make sure it's not reaching out and punching them in the face. Your customers that is.

If you own a store and people came in all day, but most left without buying, you know you have a problem. If you own a store and nobody came in at all, you know you have a different problem. But the point is you know. You know cause you're in the store. You can run real numbers on the number of visitors vs purchasers with simple technology. You measure the results you are getting, compare the results to your goals and adjust your plans accordingly. It's simple to write it.

Since your website is your store, these same things need to be measured. How many came in? Where did they go? How Long did they stay? With a website you can actually answer other questions too; What city do they live in? Desktop or Mobile? Operating System and Browser Type? Well you can if you have analytical software installed on your website.

 

Web Analytics

Web Analytics refers to software that captures visitor traffic on your website. It's also the answer to the problem indicated in Lagarde's statement. Web Analytics or rather the reports generated on the data help you better understand how visitors are interacting with your website. With analytical software tracking your visitors, you will be able find out things like; which pages on your site are popular, how long they stayed on a page, if they looked at other pages or left the site. You will also be able to see if website changes help or hurt your efforts.

In the rest of the section will cover technical details of Google Analytics ending with a quick overview of the most popular packages currently on the market.

But before we jump in, let's take a quick look at a few of the metrics available with Web Analytics and how they can help you paint a picture of what's going on in your store when your are not there. If you like fishing, think of web analytics as a fish finder. If you like money, think of web analytics as a money finder.

 

Why Analytics? - A Tale Of Two Websites

The images below are Google Analytics screen shots taken from two different websites. Even just a quick look at these results should ring alarm bells about one of the sites.

There are many different metrics that can be extracted from your analytical data, the following just happen to be the default metrics from the Google Analytics dashboard. In many cases this is enough information to provide a quick sanity check on your website. If we look at the Avg. Session Duration we can clearly see that in the 2nd example, the website really was trying to punch customers in the face or whack them with a broom or something because the average duration was about 9 seconds!

NOTE: Your targets for website metrics will be relative to the content and objectives of your website. For instance, ask yourself if you would be happy with most of your customers spending 5 minutes and 43 seconds viewing your website? For the 1st example that was a really good number.

Analytics At A Glance

Bounce Rate is 31%

 Bragging Points:

  • Almost 6 minutes per session
  • Almost 7 pages per session
  • Low bounce rate
  • Large % of New Visitors
  • Large % of Returning Visitors

 

 

 

bounce-rate-93

 Crying Points:

  • 9 seconds !!!
  • Terrible bounce rate
  • Low Pages/Session
  • Few returning visitors

 

 

 

 

Hopefully this little example helped show the value of installing web analytical software on your website. For most websites, 9 seconds would be a pretty poor performance - the only thing worse would be an under-performing website with no tracking software installed.

In reality there are a variety of measurements that can be made on your website with web analytics software. Your ongoing goal should be a deeper understanding of your website traffic and how to use that information to increase your profit margin.

For now the most important action should be get some form or analytics software installed on your site so you can begin collecting data. To help you with this task we are going to show you how to create a site in Google Analytics and install it on your website.

 

Creating Google Analytics Properties

In order to install Google Analytics you need a Google account. If you have gmail, adwords or one of the other google services you already have a Google account. To get started go to google.com/ analytics/ and either login or create a new account.

Google's Webmaster Tools views the www version and non-www version of your website as two different websites (i.e Websites4 SmallBusiness.ca & www.Websites4 SmallBusiness.ca ) requiring a separate Google Analytics Property for each. While you are in Google Analytics, you might as well set up two properties.

 
 

Add Google Analytics Tracking ID or Tracking Code To Your Website

Some templates and some 3rd party extensions will allow you to add the Google Analytics Tracking IDs directly to the template or website. If this is not an option for you then another approach is to add the Tracking Codes using a Custom HTML Module. The following section details how to create a Custom HTML Module and add the Tracking Codes to the module.

The Google Tracking Code is a JavaScript. By default most editors prohibit adding JavaScript. Before the Tracking Codes can be added, your favourite editor needs to allow JavaScript.

 
Enabling JavaScript In Default Editor

We will first cover how to enable JavaScript in the default editor (TinyMCE) and the popular 3rd party editor JCE. If you are using another editor you will have to wing it!

If you already have JavaScript enabled you can skip this and go directly to Add Tracking Code Using A Custom HTML Module.

 
Add Tracking Code Using A Custom HTML Module

This procedure should work for any template installed on your Joomla! Website provided JavaScript is permitted in your editor.

 

Houston Are We Receiving?

The next step is to make sure Google Analytics is receiving data. Drill down to the property in question and verify Status: Tracking Installed.

 [ GA | Home | Admin | Property {Select Property} | .js Tracking Info | Tracking Code | Status ]
StatusTrackingInstalled

 

Don't Track Me As A Visitor (IP Filter).

Finally we want to exclude any IP addresses that may interfere with the visitor tracking (your own IP, the IP addresses of any developers, etc).

STEP 1: Determine IP address(es) to be filtered. There are many ways to determine your IP address, going to speedtest.net/ is a quick way.

GetYourIPAddress

 
STEP 2: Add a new filter in Google Analytics.

[ GA | Home | Admin | ACCOUNT | All Filters | + NEW FILTERS ]
AddNewFilter

Add a Filter Name, select traffic from the IP Addresses from the middle drop down and enter your IP address then hit Save.

AddFiltertoView

 
STEP 3: Once the IP filter has been created, associate the filter with each Website (PROPERTY) that your are monitoring.

[ GA | Home | Admin | ACCOUNT | All Filters | Select Filter | Apply Filter to Views | Add | Save ]GoogleAnalyticsApplyFilterToViews

 
STEP 4: Select the Websites on the left and Click the Add >> button.

GoogleAnalyticsAppliedFiltersToViews

 
STEP 5: Click on the Save button to complete the IP filter setup

GoogleAnalticsSaveFilters

If you have many websites to manage, it may not be convenient to leave the View Name at its default of All Web Site Data. While the View Name field is not available when 1st creating a property it can be changed in the following menu.

[ GA | Home | Admin | VIEW | View Settings | View Name { Change View Name } | Save ]
GoogleAnalyticsViewName

These steps, if done correctly, will allow Google Analytics to start collecting data one your website. If you are really anxious go to the live view [ Home | All Website Data | Real Time | Overview] and get a friend from a different IP address to visit your site. As your friend lands on your website this message should increment:

ZeroActiveUsers

NOTE: Google Analytics breaks reports into 24 hours periods, so any traffic you generate today will not be available in Google Analytics until the following day.

 

Top-Five List Of Top-Ten Web Analytics Solutions:

Google is not the only player in the Web Analytics game as this matrix of Top 5, Top 10 lists illustrates. To create this table we searched for the phrase "top ten website analytics", then took the top 5 from the list and recorded their top 10 recommendations.

Due to the ever changing nature of the Internet & Internet businesses, these lists change regularly. In cases where the changes are due to acquisitions we have tried to preserve the original name and provided a link to the new owner. For instance in 2010 IBM acquired Coremetrics so we have included the original name and a link to the new product.

Pricing for the various analytical packages runs from $0 to mucho $$$s depending on the product licencing and how you use it. Some sites make it next to impossible to determine the pricing. Clicky gets honourable mention for creating this nice price comparison chart.

For the sites that go out of their way to hide their pricing, ask yourself, are they trying to pre-qualify you as a customer by being vague (if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it) or did they miss the mark entirely?

While it might not make sense for every type of business to post their pricing, what kind of message do you send when your closest competitors do? And what's with the lack of a search function or a site map? With the number of competitors in the table below does it make sense to offer your potential customers a frustrating, time wasting experience (a.k.a websites that reach out and punch customers in the face wink)?

Top Analytical Options For Your Website
Top - 5 / Top - 10Top 1010 Smartest10 BestTop 30 Alternatives To Google Analytics 11 Best
Position # 1 Coremetrics
IBM Web Analytics
Pricing by Quote
Google Analytics
Free
Google Analytics
Free
Clicky
Pricing
Google Analytics
Free
Position # 2 Omniture
Adobe Marketing Cloud
Pricing?
Spring Metrics
Pricing?
Clicky
Pricing
KISS Metrics
Pricing
Yahoo  Web  Analytics
Position # 3 Web trends
Pricing?
Woopra
Pricing
Mint
Pricing?
Chart  beat
Pricing
Crazy Egg
Pricing
Position # 4 Unica
IBM Web Analytics
Pricing by Quote
Clicky
Pricing
Church Analytics
Pricing?
Mint
Pricing?
Compete
Pricing?
Position # 5 HitsLink
Pricing
Mint
Pricing?
KISS Metrics
Pricing
Go Squared
Pricing
Google Website Optimizer
Content  Experiments
(Integrated into Google Analytics)
Free
Position # 6 VisiStat
Pricing
Chart beat
Pricing
Open Web Analytics
Free
Accepts Donations
Woopra
Pricing
Optimizely
(A/B Testing)
Pricing
Position # 7 One Stat
Pricing
KISS Metrics
Pricing
ClickTale
Base  level  free
mixpanel
Pricing
Kiss insights
Qualaroo
Pricing
Position # 8 Clicky
Pricing
User Testing
Not Analytics
Pricing?
CrazyEgg
Pricing
Fox Metrics
Pricing
4Q
(online survey)
Base level free
Position # 9 Go Stats
Free Back Link
CrazyEgg
Pricing
Piwiki
Free
Accepts Sponsors
Reinv igorate
Pricing
Click Tale
Base level free
Position # 10 Next STAT
Pricing
Mouse flow
Pricing
Cloud Flare
Base  Level  free -  Premium Available
Gauges
Pricing
Facebook Insights
(Only for Facebook)
Pricing?

 

 NEXT: Google' s Webmaster Tools Outline

 

 

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When it's possible, practical and cost effective, we use Open Source off the shelf software to get your site up and running fast. Our philosophy is simple:

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