Best Practices when setting up Google Analytics

Chris Sams, May 8, 2012

Part of what we do for new clients when getting them set up for internet marketing greatness, is ensure that they have Google Analytics set up on their site.  Having analyitcs on your site is absolutely critical for optimization of everything you do online.  So rather than preach about actually getting it on your site, I am going to assume you are already that smart and now want to know how to really make it hum.  Here is a list of best practices you can implement when you first setup Google Analytics, or anytime afterwards:

  • Filters – These are extremely important especially if you have a limited amount of traffic on the site, or if you have a lot of staff that is often visiting and using the site.  You set up filters under the admin section for each of your profiles.  I regularly add a filter for the IP address at our office, the client’s office, my home, and any other IP address the client may think is important.  With these filters on you will block out that internal traffic that my skew your data.
  • Goals – Every website should have a goal.  Whether it is time on site, contact form submission, ecommerce purchase or otherwise.  If you don’t have a goal, you probably don’t need a website.  Its important that you set up a goal and start tracking immediately.  When you set a goal up, it will not retroactively go back in time to tell you if that have been accomplished.  From day one, determine what your goals are and start tracking!
  • Custom Segments – You have the ability with almost every post to filter and segment your traffic.  I like to set up segments that filter for only customers who have accomplished a goal or conversion.  So many times we try and determine how to minimize the bad traffic, when we could be focusing on where we are having success.  I also like to create segments that filter geographically.  If a client only services their customers in Dallas, Texas why would I want to see any of the international traffic that is bound to come to the site?  Does it make sense to filter out international and maybe even most national traffic?  I probably makes perfect sense.
  • Dashboards – Do you want to keep a pulse on your website, or even better keep an eye on all channels.  I highly recommend you set up a customer dashboard for each of your channels.  If there is a series of reports you go to when looking at your referral traffic, why not create a Referral Dashboard?  When I have worked for companies where day in and day out your are focusing on the same analytics account, it makes sense to create multiple dashboards so that you can consume the data regularly and quickly.
I hope this has been helpful to get you in the right state of mind using Google Analytics.  If you have any questions we hope that you will reach out to us by phone or email.
Thank you!


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