I’m silently stewing here. Researching the job market for a future article (I write them you see; that’s what journalist types do when they are fuelled by ire or delight) I discovered on my first two strikes employers who demand not only CVs be included in the application procedure, but also that you complete extra long-winded forms that are so badly designed you wonder whether you’re lobbying for a new job or a spot at a concentration camp.
It couldn’t be simpler, kids – make it nice for your candidates and you’ll find the cream of the crop. Most educated people will gloss over your confusing junk and instead find someone who respects them enough to minimise the effort and maximise the accuracy they subsequently garner in matching a prospective employee to their inevitably poorly-written job description.
Oh yes, where was I? Analytics. Most people are offput from measuring their website activity because the tools don’t exactly lend themselves to simplicity. Overpowering and overburdening, even the easiest one of all to use (in my mind) Google Analytics can suppress a PhD student’s urges to see how close they are to realising their digital goals.
I’ll be the first to admit I pricked around with GA (that’s what people who don’t want to catch carpal tunnel syndrome call Google Analytics) during the early days and got frustrated by the voluminous amount of data on offer. Mind you, at the time I was also toying with Omniture’s WebTrends, which is to convenience as shopping was in Cold War Russia.
But my goodness, how GA has evolved to become a tool that any one of us can use. There are caveats, of course – you have to genuinely want to uncover fascinating stats that go beyond how many visitors you have had this past month, to truly squeeze the nectar from this strange fruit.
And that’s where the web comes in. I’ve noticed a greater amount of information freely available than ever before, and it’s all thanks to the internet. Simply indexed by Google – who also own that Analytics thing! What are the chances?
The reason Google wants to get its mitts on your web data (anonymously, of course, apparently, don’t ask the government, etc) is so it can refine its search experience and therefore sell more ads and make more moolah. It’s not a charity, you know. And then it’s going to make us all immortal (true story).
The interface of GA is oppressive. It’s all orange, and there are lots of things on the left hand side. If you don’t like column-based clickthroughs you’ll not enjoy this experience much at all.
You might even hide in the folds of your curtains. Don’t try this if you have blinds.
But now’s the time for my grand reveal.
Hit Customization – this is the easy bit since it’s at the top of the screen after you’ve clicked through to your profile (the one you set up when you added the GA script to your website so you could use this goddamn tool in the first place) and then the Import from Gallery button.
And you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of dashboards and custom reports to add to your GA profile that will literally automatically serve up to you precisely the data you need in the format you like to lick.
It’s insanely easy
The beauty of this clicky faff is that once you’ve set it, you can ignore it. You’ve heard of setting regular email updates, right?
All you do to receive data whenever you like is click the Email button at the top of most reports in Google Analytics and set when you want to get it.
It really couldn’t be easier to start measuring your schizzle, right? So go do it. After all, it makes me look good because I just told you how. GO DO IT!
While I’m here, did you know that Corrie’s Martin Platt makes a cheese called How’s Your Father? It’s a tasty Lancashire number. You should try it.
- Quick link to Google Analytics Solutions Gallery
That, my friends, not dissimilar to the crispy chicken fajitas sold by Uncle Ben’s, is an incredible wrap.
Enjoyed this lesson for content strategy success? Get in touch on Twitter @davethackeray and let me know your thoughts.
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