Tune-up your website performance using Google analytics goals
If you’re interested in knowing how users are interacting with your site, and if they’re following your desired path, then the goals feature in Google Analyics (GA) is indispensable. This is an essential tool if your site is more than just products and a shopping basket, with e-commerce site owners standing to benefit, too.
Set a URL destination as your goal
If you’re selling services such as copywriting or web design, chances are that the ultimate goal of your site is to persuade prospects to contact you. By setting the contact page URL as one of your goals, you can quickly see at a glance what percentage of visitors visit the page each time you log in to GA. For a more accurate analysis, you could set the confirmation page as the goal, so you’re sure prospects have actually sent a message, not just visited the page.
Three easy ways to match your URL
There are three different ways to track a URL goal in GA. For a site with static URLs, an exact match will be preferable. For example, if your confirmation page is
yoursite.com/thank-you-for-your-message.html, then tracking that precise URL will give you the data you need. But what if your site tracks other variables in the URL?
A head match allows you to track the desired page when using a dynamic URL structure. For example, your users path may effect the URL, so that you see something like this
yoursite.com/webdesign/portfolio/contact.html. A head match looks for the contact.html at the end regardless of what appears in the rest of the URL.
If your URL structure adds variables at the end of your URL, a regular expression match may be what you need. A regular expression searches the URL for a specific string (e.g. contact.html) and doesn’t care what else appears in the page address. If your URLs look something like this
yoursite.com/contact.html?user=144&token=32h53h8ad7, then this is the option for you.
Set time on your site as a goal
If you run a news site, or a blog, maybe a forum—any site that depends on advertising for its income is a good example here—then you want users to spend as long as possible on your site. This increases ad impressions, and ultimately click-throughs and revenue. Say you want visitors to spend 5 minutes on your site as a goal, you can set this up in a couple of clicks. Then the next time you log in, you can see at a glance what percentage of visitors meet this goal.
Specify on-site events as goals
This is the newest, and possibly the most exciting part of the goals technology. Using a simple piece of code, you can now track certain events on your site through GA. For example, if your sales page relies on a video to do the selling for you, you can track how many users click on the play button. If your conversion rate from facebook is high, you could track clicks to your facebook profile.
Once again, Google comes up trumps when it comes to using data to improve your online business. Goal tracking is simple and powerful, and you won’t know how you managed without it once you set it up.