What is the Point of Your Site

Online frustrationThere are 3 key factors to developing your sites success but what happens if you no longer have access to at least one of these.

I guess like me you use Google Analytics to determine how your sites are performing in those 3 key factors.

However it has become clear that Google are withdrawing from their Analytics platform access to metrics that form the foundation of all that has been taught in becoming successful online.

But lets take a step back and consider the most important question regarding your site, perhaps one you have not really thought about because you are being a good student and following the advice of your mentor.

As part of the P2S course we were advised to setup a blog using the OptimizePress 2 theme which I did. We were then advised to implement Adsense on our sites but having been banned from this I chose the equivalent service from Yahoo and in the weeks to come I will either implement or find an alternative to the recommendations that John Thornnhill is sure to make.

Now to that most important question.

What is the point of your site?

And more importantly how is it actually measuring up to that.

With that in mind over the weekend I started to look at answering this question for this site and I came up with 3 answers.

  • Branding, establish trust and authority through addressing and providing solutions to niche issues.
  • Lead generation, encourage visitors to provide their email details in exchange for one of those solutions.
  • Income generation, by displaying commission based solutions that address the problems raised in the content.
The next step of course is measuring our performance in these areas which returns us to the start of this post.You may have noticed in the Keyword section of your Analytics account something that looks like this:

google analytics keywords report

During the weekend I discovered that this is intentional as Google has withdrawn for the most part access to keyword data and moved it into your Adwords account, which is of course where you pay to advertise on their network.

Thus you can no longer see conveniently what phrases people are using to find your site which is the first factor, understanding fully how people are finding your content. The second factor is how people are engaging with your site and its content and the third is that we need to appreciate how they are leaving our sites.

To achieve the 3 areas, its important to measure how you are performing and the best way is to measure your progress towards your goals.

And that is precisely what Google recommends, setting up goals, unfortunately these have one major problem.

They reply upon success being measured in a visitor gaining access to a pre-determined page, such as an optin thank you page however simply watching a video all the way through could be considered a key success for your site and this is where Event tracking comes into play.

I actually wanted to write a post stating I had found a plugin that would definitely achieve this event tracking however that was not to be.

The 2 plugins I tested were, Gravitate Event Tracking  and WP Google Analytics Events  both are good plugins however for reasons I will explain, I cannot pass verdict on either of them.

Event tracking is supposedly recorded in real time however I found that this was not quite the case which meant when it came to comparing these 2 plugins I could not tell whether it was Google playing up or the plugin.

test site event tracking test

On the site I installed a test download, a PDF and a banner ad. The idea being to measure both my income and branding goals, would people click on my ads and would they trust me enough to download a file. Both of these rely upon Event tracking as I will not have access to the ad landing pages and there is no landing page for a download.

Despite running several tests using both plugins, I did not feel confident enough that either was recording all of the test events but as I said I could not be sure whether that was due to them or the delay in the presentation of the analytics. Also Google’s explanation of how to achieve accurate event tracking is made to feel like you’re training to become a brain surgeon so that did not help matters either.

Thus with all of these factors in mind, I am now going to start testing Piwik  which is a self hosted analytics software package that will give me access to all of my data, enabling me to track my complete site performance.

The question of course is whether this will be easier to setup and operate than Google Analytics because after all the point of data collection is to ensure we are meeting our goals by creating a better experience for our visitors which is only possible if we are not in a constant battle with our analytics software.