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Home » Digital Thinking Blog » Tracking Your Goals and Other Reasons Why You Need to Include a Data Analytics Tool in Your Website

Tracking Your Goals and Other Reasons Why You Need to Include a Data Analytics Tool in Your Website

    Last Updated on August 4, 2023

    If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Use It

    We have a lot of tools at our disposal. Look at your smartphone. How many apps are there on it? How many do you use? There was a time, not long ago, when we would finish the day without the slightest idea of how many steps we had taken during the previous eight hours. Crazy, right? Then there are our websites – packed with tools. Do we know why we have them? Do we use them all? Let’s think about that. A tool solves a problem. If you don’t have a problem, or worse don’t know what problem you have, then a tool is just a decoration.

    There are Currently Two Billion Websites. Give or Take.

    It’s also been suggested that half of the websites in existence have the same information as the other half. Many of the websites now online use an analytics tracking system to track visitors. Remember those hit counters that appeared on the websites in the 90s? Those were great. Analytics tools have gone much deeper undercover these days, and they know much more about each visitor than they visited your website. They know where you were, on what device, which browser, and what you ate for breakfast. Okay, not that last one. Yet. But they can probably guess.

    You can still get a web counter like the one below from today. Very cool.

    web counter

    Some web analytics tools are free to use, others are based on paid subscriptions. This website uses Google Analytics, and I offer support and courses in both Google and Matomo analytics tools.

    • + Google Analytics
    • + Adobe Analytics
    • + Mixpanel
    • + Matomo
    • + StatCounter
    • + Yandex Metrica
    • + Amplitude
    • + Baidu Analytics
    • to name but a few …

    What Can Website Analytics Tools Tell You?

    Website analytics tools can tell us a lot about each visitor. Browser type, device type, operating system, city, time of visit, what pages were visited, if they are a recurring visitor, what they clicked on … pretty much everything we may want to know. Don’t forget that your social media platforms and email marketing tools also contain analytics. Why not merge those together with your website analytics?

    • + Visits
    • + % New Visits
    • + Avg. Visit Duration
    • + Bounce Rate
    • + Pages/Visit
    • + Pageviews
    • + Unique Visitors
    • + Location
    • + Language
    • + Device
    • + Time of Day
    • and so much more …

    Analytics tools also offer the chance to Split Test (A/B Test) page performance, as well as measure on-page performance via Heat Maps and Session Recordings too. If you are interested in optimizing your website for search engines (SEO), you will probably be using some type of analytics tool.

    “There is the “Aha moment” when we stand back and ask questions about everything we do. How did that work? Are we doing the right thing? Analytics and tracking allow us to capture the impact of what we are doing on our website, social media, and advertising. It gives us the chance to measure our success or failure so that we can optimise our efforts.”

    The Only Online Marketing Book You Need for Your Small Business, Nonprofit, or School
    Warren Laine-Naida & Bridget Willard

    External Analytics Tools Used to Help Improve Your SEO

    Analytics tools need to be plugged into your website with either a code snippet or an actual plugin within your CMS (Content Management System). The code snippet is probably the better alternative – one less thing to update. Both Google and Matomo offer Tag Managers, so you can better manage longer code snippets once you connect your social media, PPC, and goal management features.

    You can also measure your website using tools that are not connected to your website. They can simply observe your website by submitting your domain name or sitemap.xml. Seeing what keywords Google recognises as being relevant to your website in organic search, is extremely helpful for your SEO work.

    • + Google Search Console
    • + Sixtrix
    • + Semrush
    • + Seoptimer
    • +
    • +
    • and many others …

    How Can I Switch from Google Universal Analytics to GA4?

    Google Analytics 4 is now the new Google Analytics standard. Universal Analytics will be discontinued as of July 1, 2023. What changes can you expect for your and your clients’ websites? Contact me today!

    Analytics tools can not tell you why someone is visiting your website. I don’t mean that they saw your Facebook post and landed there, or clicked on your google ad … I mean what are they really looking for on your website, and did they find it?

    What Analytics Tools Can Show to Help Improve Your SEO

    • + search terms used that brought people to your website
    • + what other sites brought traffic to your website
    • + what pages people visited in what order (user flow)
    • + entrance pages, and exit pages
    • + and much more …

    What Can Website Analytics Tools Not Tell You?

    Analytics tools give you data, which is mostly quantitative. Tools can tell you what browser a visitor was using, how long they visited, and what city they were visiting from, as well as whether they downloaded your ebook. Tools can’t tell you if they liked your website – or your ebook – nor if they found what they were looking for.

    We assume that the longer someone stays on your website (time on page) the more they have found to enjoy, but honestly, they may have begun scrolling your site and the doorbell rang and they were preoccupied with the pizza delivery for five minutes and thirty-seven seconds.

    Using Website Analytics Tools to Track Your Business Goals and Measure Your Success

    I am often asked what good website analytics numbers are. What are good bounce rates? What should people be measuring? I’m always surprised by these questions. Analytics tools are just that. They help us measure and track whether we are reaching our goals. Analytics tools don’t come with goals included. We need to come up with the thing to be measured. That’s our job, not the tool’s

    If you do not have goals or funnels of visitor activities you need to track and measure, then you don’t need a web analytics tool.

    WARNING: Website Analytic tools are subject to data protection laws. Make sure any cookies being used by the analytics tool has been opted in to by your user first. They also need to be given the chance to opt-out of being tracked. You can read more about that right here:

    4 Things About Your Website You Should Be Tracking

    If you are working right out of the box, and have no goals in place, these are the four things you should set up to measure and track in my opinion.

    1. Website Performance – vanilla web controlling plain and simple. Your analytics tool can show you weaknesses such as 100% bounce rates, a lot of 404 visits, bot visits to name a few basic website problems.
    2. Internal and External visits – SEO means peple never heard of you, but found you because they thought you had the answer to their question. Once they are on your website, what did they do? This will tell you over time what terms and pages are important to people. Focus on that.
    3. Dead wood – Dead trees might be better cut down and used for firewood. If you see pages on your website that have not be visited more than twice in six months you may want to consider removing them, merging content, or rewriting what’s there.
    4. Conversions – Downloads, contact forms, sales – how is you website earning you money, leads, or simply building on your social capital? Analytics help show you the ROI of your website.

    I hope this post was helpful! Now. Click on over to this other post, to find out what the 3 most important things are to have on your website.

    Thanks to for the image!