Estimated read time: 5 minutes
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You might care about this article if you are:
- A Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, or similar role tasked with measuring results
- A web data analyst
- A content creator
- A content marketing strategist
- A digital marketer
- A digital strategist
Web metrics and analytics matter because we are spending a lot of time and money in our digital marketing these days. Of course we want to see if it’s working or if it’s not working. One way to do that is to have some kind of web analytics installed on your website.
And yes there are many things we can measure but I won’t address the topic of what to measure today. Today’s topic is what to do with web analytics programs and how many do you need on your site?
Here’s how the topic came top of mind:
First thing in the morning I check all my analytics. That includes books sales, emails send through the website, if everything is set to publish at the right times and also overnight traffic on the website.
And since the audience here is international (about 55% outside the United States) there usually is some kind of traffic in the time period that is overnight ???for me here in the Midwest of the USA.
So when I wake up and there are five visits to the site I know they’re likely has been a problem. Most likely with the metrics. I use the WordPress mobile app to do a quick check in the morning. That pulls in from the Jetpack stats plug-in.
It’s really nice plug-in for a quick check on what people are reading and where they’re coming from and where they’re going next. But it doesn’t allow the advanced event tracking like Google Analytics.
Google analytics of course was where I was heading next. To see if the numbers were matching up or if there was a problem with the set up.
Google Analytics was showing a few hundred visits overnight so I knew it was Jetpack where the problem was.
The fix was super easy. I just had to go to my WordPress dashboard and reinstall the Jetpack plug-in, which had encountered some kind of error and deactivated itself as a precaution. I literally turned it back on in 45 seconds.
The one thing that happens when metrics are turned off even for just a short time period like this is that the metrics for that time are just lost. That’s the case for the WordPress plug-in as well as Google Analytics.If something changes somewhere and tracking is lost for some kind a period of time. Obviously, the shorter the better, but it does happen.
And it’s not always the analytics service that caused the problem. Sometimes something changes on the website that messes around with the tracking. So how can it be avoided? Two steps:
- Check your Analytics regularly. At least to daily. Yes, I know there are some experts out there screaming that we should not be looking at them daily because then we get greedy … blah blah blah. But content consumption is constantly evolving and there are things we can learn daily and it’s a big part of businesses in our days so we should definitely look at them at least daily. Google Analytics allows you to set up a daily email so that’s one way to somewhat automate the process. You still have to look at it though.
- Have back up systems in place. I’m not necessarily endorsing WordPress Jetpack and Google Analytics as a package deal, but that’s what I’m using on here. They back each other up and run independently. If one fails or deactivates for one reason or another the other one likely will still be working. I’ve never actually seen Google Analytics fail per se but I’ve seen it stop working when URL structures were changed or the tracking code was accidentally removed or something along those lines.
There’s certainly plenty of other systems to track of your website performance and I won’t dive into all of them here at this time. But a key is to have backups in place just like you should be running automatic content back ups on your website. Having back ups in place for the ways you measure results should also be a must.
Of course, sometimes we don’t realize that it’s needed until something negative happened. For example, I’d love to say that I had the two systems in place for this exact purpose. But I didn’t. I actually had them both set up just because the WordPress stats are easy to look at and there is easy access from my phone. But the backrub reason is another good reason in losing about a quarter of a day to stats did remind me that this probably should be a best practice.
Google Analytics also has a nice app that you can install on your phone. I also use the Quicklytics app, which has a nice user interface and also shows me how traffic compared to prior time periods. The one thing to keep in mind with Quicklytics is that it pulls from Google Analytics. So it’s not a back up per se, just another way to look at Google Analytics.
So there you have it. Hope this was helpful and I hope you never run into problems. Drop me a note here to let me know what system you use to measure your results.