It’s been said “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Think about it, this rings true to anyone that is trying to achieve something, but doesn’t have clear goals. 

In the context of your website, there are many things you can track and most of them are useless to helping you make more sales.

You can track; Google rankings, website visits or “clicks”, traffic sources, impressions (my favourite…), what device they used to get to your site (desktop, iPhone, Android, etc.), Keywords used, and all of these are completely irrelevant…

…If you don’t have goals set up to track what really matters to your business.

Leads, sales and profit.

Now, I’m not saying these don’t have a place or purpose. What I am saying is that these metrics are just the lining of the conduit, that help you get to the goals.

Many amateurs will tell you that you need to track your visitors and you do, EXCEPT, all traffic is not equal and that’s why tracking visitors is a waste of time. More on that in a moment. 

Before your eyes glaze over and you go into a coma thinking this is going to be a high tech post, remember, you want to be the General of the Army and not the soldier in the trenches.

You just need to know what has to happen and then get someone else to do it, if it’s outside your tech comfort zone.

First things first. You need to know what key metrics are important to your business before you can begin to track them.

We only want the ones that are important to your businesses success or you will get bogged down and overwhelmed with things that don’t matter. 

Here are few goals to give you a head start:

  • People filling in a contact form
  • People downloading something
  • People subscribing to email database
  • People signing up for a free trial
  • Phone calls (yes you can track this in Google analytics)
  • People adding an item to shopping cart
  • Online purchases  
  • Account creations

These are going to be the main ones that will help you make more money from your site.

How to set up goals in Google Analytics

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It goes without saying that if you are going to use Google analytics for goal tracking, you need to have Google analytics installed. Ooops I just did it…

Step 1 – Navigate to admin:

Login to Google analytics and click the “Admin” button in to the top right.

Analytics admin

Step 2 – Navigate to goals:

Navigate to goals under the “profile “.

Google Analytics Click Goals image by Think Big Online

Step 3 – Create a goal:

Click “create a goal”.

Create a goal

Step 4 – Goal set up:

Select a template (they are all pretty much the same) or custom if you are not sure.

goal set up

Step 5 – Goal description:

Name the goal and select “Destination”. For the most part destination goals are the most relevant ones to making you more money, with the exception of events, which we use for phone tracking and is whole other post.

Goal description

Step 6 – Goal details:

For this example of setting “destination” goals, after the visitor has taken the action we are tracking they need to land on a new page. E.G if they are on our contact page www.thinkbigonline.com/contact, when they have submitted the form they are sent to www.thinkbigonline.com/thank-you.

It’s this /thank-you that we put in the top field here.

Goal details

Make sure you add a value to the goal. You should be able to figure this out quiet easily. For example if you know that for every 10 people that come through your contact form you make 1 sale of $100 then your goal value should be $100/10 contacts = $10.

If you are not sure “exactly” what the value is just put an estimate, because a small kitten in South Africa will not be killed if you get it wrong.

For this example we are going to leave funnel option off. This is more advanced and can be more confusing than useful for most people, most of the time. If you are interested you can see using analytics funnels to track conversions.

Hit save and you are done!

Now this is where the fun starts.

Once your goals are in place you start to get reporting that is actually of value to helping you improve your business.

I said I would let you know why all visitors are not equal and but now that you have your goals set up I don’t really need to tell you, because you are going to see this in your Analytics dashboard now.

What you will see is that even though you may be getting 1,000 visitors from Facebook, 1,000 visitors from organic search and 1,000 visitors from Google Adwords your leads or sales will not be the even. 

For example you might see you have 20 from Facebook, 95 from organic search and 80 from Google Adwords.

This is where the power of having goals is vital to your businesses profit and success.

If you were spending the same amount of money to promote each of these traffic sources then you would know that Facebook was your least profitable and organic search was your most profitable.

But prior you would have been lead to believe that all traffic was working for you.

Go drink a bottle of clarity and set up some goals, and get drunk on numbers that  really matter.

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About Samuel Junghenn

Samuel Junghenn is the Managing Director of Think Big Online and has over 12 years experience in Online Marketing. He is passionate about building businesses using the power of automation and the Internet along with the thrill of motor racing.