Tracking Conversions with Website Analytics

Understanding your website’s traffic is one of the most important responsibilities of owning and operating a business or professional website online. This requirement isn’t just for the web developers and tech gurus, either: everyone in your business should be able to wrap their heads around how people use their website, from the newest interns to the most senior executives. You can have the best website in the market, but if you don’t understand how to use your website statistics to create new business opportunities, you might as well have no website at all.

The only thing more important than understanding your traffic is understanding how to use that traffic to measure conversions. Knowing what your visitors are doing is good, but knowing that your efforts to lead visitors to your marketing goals is even better. Tracking conversions from content and web promotions is incredibly easy with Google Analtyics and a little forethought to your web design.

The first step in tracking your conversions is identifying what goals you’ve set for your business, and mapping which webpages are involved in completing that goal. Are you tracking how many people purchase an item? Then think about the purchase process as your “conversion path,” beginning at the item page where they are given the option to make a purchase. Your visitor clicks check-out, they click through the payment and shipping pages, confirm their details, and then land on an order confirmation page when their purchase has been completed. Your ultimate goal will be to track how many users land on that order confirmation page, but your “conversion path” includes each step leading to that landing page.

Tracking these specific pages in your conversion path is simple: Google Analytics gives you a code “snippet” you add directly to each webpage’s code. Every time the page is loaded, it triggers that code, telling Google Analytics it is part of your conversion path. If you can copy and paste, and you know your way around the Google Analytics dashboard, you can see your conversions. (If you use Google AdWords, you can access the same features through the Conversion Tracking feature. Find out which conversion tracking service is best for you here.)

Under “Standard Reporting” select “Conversions” from the right-hand menu, then “Funnel Visualization.” Your “conversion funnel” shows how effectively your conversion path is “funneling” visitors through the conversion process to your desired outcome. The green “funnel” shows you visitors that follow through to the next step of the conversion process; the red “bounce” numbers show you how many visitors land on a conversion path page and then abandon the rest of the conversion process.

With general analytics and conversion funnel visualization, you can see how many visitors are coming to your webpage, how many are engaging your conversion process, and how many are actually completing it. Having this information will show you very quickly how effectively your website “sells” visitors on the purchase or action you want them to take, which pages are performing better than others, and which steps of the conversion process need to be updated, redesigned, or removed. With Advanced Segments, search traffic statistics, and even AdWords tracking (if you advertise with the service) you can even determine which search results and what kind of visitors are driving the most business to your webpage. With goal tracking and careful conversion tactics, you will be able to laser-focus your webpages to perform as cost-effectively as possible, while still delivering the quality results you want.

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Andrew Glasscock is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated with a BA in English, specialized in Creative Writing, with a minor in Marketing this past May. Along with copywriting, he loves being an improv comedian, playing frisbee, and dogs.

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