I’ve recently run into a slew of “small” Google Analytic (GA) problems with my clients / prospective clients — enough that I realized I should write about them as these “small” problems often impact business in a huge way.
1. You’re not the account owner.
I see this problem quite a bit. A business owner will rely on an agency, Web designer or SEO / marketer to set up Google Analytics — which is fine. What happens, however, is that the account gets set up as a “Profile” under the agency’s or designer’s main account.
When GA is set up this way, you can run into a number of big problems:
- If you’re set up as a “User” versus an “Administrator,” you have limited capabilities.
- If you rely on your agency or designer to send you reports, you see only the data they want you to see.
- If you stop doing business with this company, you lose access to your data.
The Easy Fix: Have your agency or designer set you up as an Administrator using your Google login information. You can “demote” your agency or designer to “User” and then change your login / password information — making you the owner. For detailed instructions, see this Google help page.
When you’re the Administrator of your account, you should see the User tab when you click “Admin” once you’re in GA — this tab allows you to add Users to your account.
Bonus tip #1: Make your password strong and keep it somewhere safe where you can find it should you forget it.
Bonus tip #2: Instead of giving vendors Administrator access, add them to your account as Users. Even better, add people as Users using their Google Account login. This lets them see your data in their GA account — without having to login to yours.
Your GA data is GOLD. Protect it by ensuring you are the owner of your account. You should NOT be begging your agency or designer for access to your data. I can’t stress this enough.
2. Someone within your company set up the account.
Another problem I see regularly is when an employee in the company sets up Google Analytics — using his or her Gmail login. So while you may have GA login information and Administrator privileges, technically you don’t own the account. Some problems with this scenario are:
- You (and whoever accesses GA) can access your employee’s Gmail account (which could make for interesting reading, haha!).
- If your employee quits and changes the Gmail password, you’re locked out of GA.
The Easy Fix: Follow the “Easy Fix” instructions above.
3. UA numbers don’t match.
The UA number refers to your Google Analytics account ID number — which starts with UA, as seen in the screenshot. The UA number listed in your GA account has to match the UA number that’s in your HTML source code in order for Google to properly track visitor behavior on your site.
If they don’t match, you get zero data — a problem that always gives me that sinking feeling in my stomach. UGH. The fix, listed below, is easy. Unfortunately, you now have to wait a few months to collect meaningful data.
The Easy Fix: If you have a standard HTML site, get the correct tracking code from GA by clicking the “Tracking Code” tab within the Administrator interface (click “Admin” once you’re in GA). You’ll find the script or code on this page. Email it to your designer and have him or her add it to all pages on your site. If you use WordPress, install the GA plugin and add the UA number that way or have your WordPress person add it to the correct template.
4. The site doesn’t have a tracking code.
When business owners tell me they don’t have any Web analytics whatsoever, I’m a little shocked. As I always tell my clients and prospects, I don’t make any recommendations on what should be changed on a Website unless I have data. Nor should you!
The Easy Fix: Open a Google Analytics account — today — and then get the tracking code installed on your site pronto. It takes only a few minutes and costs nothing.
5. No link between AdWords and Analytics.
If you use AdWords, it’s really important you know which traffic is coming to your site from your ads and which is coming from SEO. The more data you have, the more you’re able to enhance your SEO efforts and spend your ad budget wisely.
And too, according to Google AdWords expert Pauline Jakober, of Group Twenty Seven, linking your accounts gives you more robust conversion and e-commerce data. “Within your Google AdWords account, you do get data such as click costs, impression share and quality score stats, but Google Analytics provides in-depth data on what value your PPC traffic is providing, such as conversion data and sales data if you have an ecommerce site” she says.
The Easy Fix: Follow these easy instructions for linking your accounts.
6. No Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools gives you a wealth of information on how Google sees your site, including site performance and site load time, malware detection, the site links Google adds to your search engine listing and a bunch of other useful stuff.
Often, however, small businesses have failed to set up Webmaster Tools. In addition to not seeing important information about your site, you also can’t link Webmaster Tools to your Analytics data — which makes it easy to see information in one dashboard.
The Easy Fix: First set up your Webmaster Central account, if you haven’t done so already. Once your account is verified, Google will prompt you to link your two accounts. For step-by-step instructions, read this Google help page.
The first step in ensuring your site generates leads is to have Google Analytics working properly — because without data, you’re basically in the dark without a flashlight.
Do you have a Google Analytics horror story? Feel free to share it!