15 Recommendations to Improve Website Analytics – Part 2

In last week’s post, we kicked off our 5-part series of 15 Recommendations to Improve Your Web Analytics. Click here to revisit the first post. It outlines our first three recommendations to improve tracking and accurate measurement for your website, or continue reading below for our next three recommendations in the series. Once you’ve set up a strategy, confirmed your key performance indicators, selected an analytics platform and established baseline goals for your website metrics, you are ready to dive in. Well, you’re almost ready to dive in. Our number four recommendation below is an additional investment you may want to make before adding tags to your website.

Additional Investments Before You Begin Tagging

4. Consider a Tag Management Solution:
Site tagging has become both more critical and more difficult as web properties have become more complex. Companies often have multiple sites or sub-sites that fulfill distinct corporate functions, and executives need to understand site performance in aggregate and by web property. Product teams and other stakeholders are constantly updating site content, increasing the need for responsive measurement. To add to the muddle, 3rd party vendors need to place pixels on the site to track clicks from ads. The volume and pace of change often leads to roadblocks when the web development team is asked to implement new tags or change existing tags. As a result, measurement can be compromised due to timing or implementation problems. Tag Management Solutions can enable tech savvy marketers with some basic java script understanding to manage site tagging themselves, freeing them from constraints imposed by the web development calendar.

5. Filter Internal Traffic:
Do you know how much of your site traffic comes from employees and partners? It could be more than you think. If you are not filtering out this traffic, your site metrics are skewed upward. It’s simple enough to remove these visits, but you might be surprised how often companies count internal traffic. Even worse, your team could be drawing insights based on internal navigation instead of valuable customer navigation. There are a couple of things to remember as you take this step. It’s a best practice to create a separate view that eliminates internal traffic, while maintaining a view that captures all site traffic. Also, be sure to account for your wireless network when creating the filters. Exclusions based on IP address do not always eliminate this traffic source.

6. Eliminate Bot Traffic:
Many implementations do not exclude traffic from bots that are constantly crawling the web to index pages. Failure to eliminate bots will overstate site traffic. For smaller sites, this may not be insignificant. We have seen sites where a notorious crawler is one of the top three referral sources. The admin settings in most analytics tools allow users to eliminate the bot traffic by simply checking a box. There are a couple of key things to remember when implementing this. First, it’s a best practice to do this as view; there should always be an unfiltered reporting view that includes all web traffic. Second, it’s not foolproof. You will need to create custom filters to eliminate some bots.

Next week we will continue to discuss simple ways to enhance your website tagging, covering the topics of customized web tagging options and plug-ins.