Using Google Analytics Campaigns to track clicks on links to your website in PDF files, slideshare presentations, emails, and more

Google Analytics will track traffic to your website in aggregate and break it down into broad categories like search engines and referrers. It would be great to break down that traffic even further so we know what is working and what is not in our marketing efforts. With the Campaigns feature of Google Analytics, you can do just that. Google Analytics Campaigns A campaign in Google Analytics is just a code you add to a link that allows Google to separately report on the clicks associated with each campaign. The traffic is still counted in your overall statistics, but you can now see the breakdown in finer detail. This is especially useful if you want to track different marketing initiatives. What links do people click on in a free PDF file you send out? While viewing a presentation on slideshare, which links do people click on? When you send a targeted email to a list, how many people clicked on which links? Campaigns can answer all of these questions. Parts of the campaign code The campaign code consists of three parts: Campaign Name: a code that uniquely identifies this marketing effort. For newsletters, I use issue 308, issue 309, etc. For a slideshare deck I might use a code like 3BigFinancialMistakesDeck. Make the code meaningful so it is easy to recognize when looking at your analytics reports. Source: a code that uniquely identifies the link that is being clicked. I suggest numbering links if there are multiple links to the same page in a single email or document. For example, if I had two links to more information on...

Know if your website is down within minutes

Do you know if your website is down right now? I’ll wait while you open a new browser tab and go check. OK, you’re back. I don’t have to go check, and neither should you. When your website is a primary marketing vehicle for your business, you should have a warning system that checks your website every few minutes and tells you if it is down. The one I use is from Pingdom. Go to https://www.pingdom.com/free/ to sign up for a free account that monitors one website. They offer paid accounts that have more features, but for most small business owners, the free account will work fine. After you have signed in, set up a new Check, the activity that will regularly check your website. You can set how often they check your site (5 minutes is fine for most sites, 1 minute would be recommended for sites with heavy traffic). Set up how you want to be notified: email, text message, or others. Set how long the site is down before you are notified. Don’t set this too low. There can be hiccups in service that can cause your site not to be accessible for a few seconds and you don’t want to get a notification unless there really is an issue. I set mine for 10 minutes, but you can choose a shorter time if you need to. This setting can be adjusted if you get too many notifications. Check the box to notify you when the site is back up so you know if the issue resolved itself. Now you know you will be notified if...

Why you need both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools

Google offers website owners two tools to help analyze their websites. You need both. Google Analytics This is the most popular analytics site. You set it up using your Google account and it gives you a lot of useful information, such as number of visitors, what pages they looked at, how long they stayed, and much more. The one area it no longer gives information on is search terms people used to find your site. In 2013, Google finished implementation of a new search method that is more secure, but results in Google Analytics reporting almost all search terms as “(not specified)”. This is not helpful, but it is necessary to have the added security of the new method. Google Webmaster Tools Google webmaster tools gives more technically oriented information. It reports any errors Google has found with your site, which you should fix in order to rank better. It is now the only Google tool that will report what search terms were used to find your site. It shows how many times your site appeared in the listings when that term was searched, where you ranked, and the proportion of searches that resulted in a click to your site. When you are setting up Google Analytics, use the option to also set up Google webmaster tools. Links: Google Analytics Google Webmaster...