How to track the success of your website

Transparency and clarity is a key part of what we do at Unbranded Digital. That is why the reports we generate are live data and include the numbers that you care about most. In this article, I dig fairly deep into how it all works behind the scenes.

Written by

Lee Hart

October 2019

Data that make sense

Just having a website online is fantastic, and if it’s generating work for you, all the better. But how are you tracking the success of your website? More times than not, this is the missing link, and Google Analytics alone just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

We can all show reports from Analytics, but often explaining terms like bounce rate, session duration and showing data that is truly reflective can be difficult. Not to mention the time implication of creating and sending reports every month. So, how can you track your websites success and report back to the board and leadership with information and data that means something to them? What if you had a report which showed all the KPI’s the board cared about? In a format that made sense to them. With LIVE data that offers complete transparency. Well, that’s something which I’m going to talk about and explain in this article. The tools you need, and the questions you should be asking.

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1. Strategy & Discovery

The first thing you need to do is define what your KPI’s are. This varies for each business and industry, but they might look something like this;

  • Sales
  • Conversion Rate
  • Calls
  • Enquiries
  • Visits
  • Page Views
  • Most popular pages

Once you have defined what you care about in terms of reporting, you can then start creating your report and all the analytics and tracking that go along with it.



2. The Software

We use a piece of software called Google Data Studio to craft our reports, it’s 100% free and an absolutely amazing tool. To create a report, you’ll need a few other pieces of software.

  • Google Analytics – This is a must, and the core of your data will come from Google Analytics such as page views, conversions and much more.
  • Google Tag Manager – This is a great tool which allows you to track a “conversion” when certain events happen, for example, you can trigger a conversion if someone clicks on a call now button.
  • Google My Business (Optional, but recommended) – Google My Business, also known as GMB is your main marketing arm for local SEO. You can generate 1000’s of calls per year with your GMB, so reporting on this data is crucial. If you don’t have a GMB and are not a local service area business, you can still create a data studio report without it.
  • Google Data Studio – Data Studio allows you to create custom bespoke reports, that have live data. What’s also great about Data Studio is that it enables you to connect to multiple data sources such as Moz, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Search Console, etc
  • Gravity Forms (Optional) – We use Gravity Forms for the majority of our websites, it’s an amazing WordPress plugin which allows you to create forms that integrate with a wide range of software, and it can do some pretty amazing stuff. We link Gravity Forms and Analytics together to track conversions on form submissions, we can then feed this to Data Studio.
  • Google ads (Optional) – If you run Google Ads, you can integrate it into your report and display live data that works for you, or your clients.


3. The result & how it works behind the scenes.

Using these technologies we can create reports such as above. This is real data for one of our clients over a 3 month period. The business is seasonal, hence the hump and at the time of writing this, it’s currently halfway through October.

The total bookings and calls section really sets this report apart from others you may have seen. I’ll try to break this down as much as I can, as it does get a little “techy” and requires some formulas to create the totals.

Phone Calls – We track an “event” when someone clicks on a number on the website, this fires a tag in Google Tag Manager, which then passes the event to Google Analytics and creates a goal completion, also known as a conversion. This then gets passed to Data Studio with the standard Google Analytics connector.

Website Bookings – This comes from a form on a client’s website, we use Gravity Forms and a plugin called Gravity Forms Event Tracking, which passes the information (including goal value, categories, etc) to Google Analytics as a goal, which then sends it to Data Studio via the Google Analytics connector.

Once we have this data for both calls and bookings, we can total them up. Instead of using goal completions we can use the goal value and add them up for that period. We then use a simple calculation to get a total from the website.

(Total Bookings goal value) + (Total calls goal value) = total revenue from the website.

On this section, we also have the calls from Google My Business. For some clients, their GMB will generate more work & enquiries than their website will. We import data from Google My Business, using the Jepto Google My Business connector.

With this data we can’t use the goal value as it doesn’t exist, so we have to do a simple multiplication to get the sum of total revenue generated.

(Phone call actions*80)

And finally, for the full total, combine the two totals. This is where it can get a little complicated, as we have to blend the data together. Once that’s done you can use a series of calculations to get your total. The final calculation looks something like this.

(Phone call actions*80)+(Phone Calls (Goal 3 Value))+(Website Booking (Goal 4 Value))

4. A final word

Once you have created the report, there is no on-going maintenance for the report needed, it will continue to feed in live data. Meaning if you’re an agency you can spend more time doing the things that matter, and not spending 5 or 10 hours every week creating reports.

If you’re a client, it means you get the data and information you need quickly, meaning you become more adaptable to change and most importantly, you start to see the bigger picture of how all these different services work together.

We have not spoken about other integrations such as Search Console, Moz or HotJar in this article, those pieces of software give you even more information on the performance of your website.

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