Greetings Web Africans!

Who doesn’t want their website to perform better? If you’re new to these Google Analytics posts, please be sure to read my previous posts on an Introduction to Google Analytics and Installing Google Analytics. Once you’ve got those covered, we can move ahead and look at something more interesting.

Too many people are focused on how many people are coming to their website or how long these people are spending on their website, but are these matters really important? Not really. Huh? Well, think about it, it doesn’t really matter if you have a million people coming to your website but nobody is buying anything or making an enquiry. Imagine having a million people walk into your physical store in a shopping centre, but nobody buys anything. You could brag about having a huge amount of foot traffic, but that’s not going to pay the bills or grow your business! I see the light bulb above your head – fabulous. Let’s solve this problem, let’s talk about goals.

A goal is a tracked action performed by a visitor to your website. This action may be a purchase, it may be a sign up to a newsletter, a file download, an account creation or the completion of an enquiry form. The action is your choice, you need to sit down with a pen and paper and decide what action you want a person on your website to take. Once you’ve done that, you can track these actions and that will provide you with an incredibly useful metric to measure the actual success of your website.

To access goals in Google Analytics, you nee to log into your account and click on the “Admin” button, top-right on the bright orange bar. Following this, look on the right for “Goals” with a little flag next to it and give it a click. Finally click on the “CREATE A GOAL” button and you’ll be presented with this:

Google Analytics > Goals

As you can see, there are a lot of options and I recommend that you do some Googling and explore what the various options are. I’ve been asked to keep my blog posts a bit shorter so I don’t have the space to explain them all, but there are excellent resources online. Today we’ll look at the “Destination” goal, which is probably the most popular goal and the most useful one for people who aren’t too technical.

The Destination goal relates to a person arriving on a specific page on a website after following an action. For example, a website might have a contact page with an enquiry form located at www.website.com/contact/. Upon completing the form, the visitor should be taken to a success, confirmation or thank you page, which might exist at www.website.com/thank-you/ – this is just a page that tells the user that the form was successfully submitted, but for us, it’s useful because we can track this action and thus keep track of the number of enquiries. Further to this, we can then find out where these actual visitors are coming from on the Internet or what they’re doing – not every visitor, but specifically those who are actually interested in your services. What we’re doing here is cutting out those million window shoppers and focusing specifically on those actual shoppers – cutting out the fluff/clutter that would otherwise potentially skew your statistics.

To set up such a goal, here are your steps:

  1. Navigate your way to creating a new goal.
  2. Enter in a name for the goal, such as “Enquiry”.
  3. Click on the “Destination” radio button and click the blue “Next step” button.
  4. In the Destination field, keep “Equals to” as is, but in the text field enter in the success page. The format for our example would be “/thank-you/” without the quotes.
  5. Click on the blue Create Goal button once you are done.

That’s it! Each time someone completes your enquiry form you’ll track this action.

Using this information as business intelligence is another whole topic on its own and we can visit that in the future. But, for now, if you want to view the goals you simple log into Google Analytics, click on “Conversions” on the left and then click on “Overview” under Goals. You’ll have to explore and click around a little to become familiar with it – once you are, you’ll see the huge benefit!

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