Being able to measure the performance of your web site is of critical importance if you’re doing any marketing at all. Although the accuracy and transparency of measuring the performance of advertising campaigns on the web has never quite lived up to its promise, it’s still infinitely better than anything marketers have had available in the past.
But before you can start reaping the rewards of the vast amounts of data available at your fingertips, you must have 100 percent solid tracking set up on your web site.
Even if you aren’t planning on getting into detailed stats any time soon, making sure everything is set up now will give you a wealth of historical information in the future. (Web developers: it’s a good idea to install Google Analytics on new client websites by default. They’ll thank you later.)
Many tracking packages are available, ranging from the free to the very expensive. Your web server almost certainly has something basic installed already.
However, for most small business web sites, Google Analytics is a good fit. It’s fast, reliable, powerful, and free. We’ll assume you’re using Google Analytics for the rest of this column, but most of the advice will be the same for whichever package you use.
If you haven’t done so already, start by signing up. Grab the tracking code and follow Google’s instructions on how to install it on every page of your website (or ask your web developer to do so).
That may sound obvious, but some websites only place the code on the home page or a handful of other pages. It has to be on every page!