Google Analytics is probably the best way to keep an eye on how your website is performing in the great outdoors of the world wide web. Make sure that you have the correct tracking ID on your website.
Many web development companies will create an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ready website and will promise to put your analytics tracking ID on to your new website.
Here you might want to stop and think. Did they include that in their quote for your website? Did they ever ask you for your tracking ID?
You check the quote and sure enough the analytics is included but you don’t recall being asked for your tracking ID. You would have remembered because unless you are familiar with Google Analytics you have no idea what that is or where to find it. Alternatively, your developer advised you to set up a Google Analytics account, after all it is free, and you did that but went no further.
Some time later you ask for help with your online marketing and I ask you to give me access to your Google Analytics (GA) account. You do that and I login to it and the first thing that I see is the result at the image above. Not one visitor in the last 7 days. I know that that is not true because I have visited the site myself, perhaps a few times whilst doing my research or because you asked me to. I also know that Google doesn’t lie about such things and so I know that something’s not right.
Delving a bit deeper into GA I discover that your account is not receiving any website data and probably never has done. Or it did until the day your new website went live. In one case, I discovered that the data was received for one day only and that the 70 visitors were bots from the USA.
So I go to check the code for your website and sure enough there is a GA tracking ID, UA-12345678-24. Your account is UA-87654321 and you have only property so your tracking ID should be UA-87654321-1. Why the strange tracking ID?
The next step for me is to Google the tracking ID on the website – yes you can do that and discover lots of interesting things about your web developer, including where s/he hosts your website.
On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with your web developer using their GA account for your analytics as long as they know that the collected data belongs to you and transferring it at the end of your contract with them is going to be a bit tricky. You should ask (demand?) for the missing reports for the last N months that they have been looking after your website.
Why would a website developer use their own account to track the use of your website?
Well, back in the mists of time. OK about 3 years ago, you could enhance your visibility on Google Search Results pages if you had more than one website in your portfolio. In fact, the more the merrier and it is not bad IF you are getting what you are (not?) paying for.
The data is yours and Google provide it to you for free and so you should have unfettered access to it. You may have outsourced the reporting to your developer but the data is still yours.
What can you do about it?
First, check the source code of your website home page. If there is tracking code in the header with a different tracker ID than the one you got from Google (or if you have never set up an analytics account) then you need to get it changed.
Second, get your website developer to change the tracking ID to the one that you provide them with. If they complain or refuse then change your website developer.
Third, if you still want your website developer to provide you with regular reports then give them read access to your analytics account.
Best practice is for your website developer or marketing people to have access to your analytics account so that they can provide you with the best reports for your business. You can always remove them if you don’t want to use them any more.
Bad practice, but not necessarily wrong, is for your website developer to use their own analytics account for your website analytics.
We follow best practice and insist on you having your own analytics account and if you want us to give you great insights into how to improve your business marketing then get in touch with us today.