Google Analytics, 4 of 4: Summary

Over the past few weeks, I’ve explored how to incorporate Google Analytics into the the planning, execution, and continuous improvement of web projects. While I’m still concerned about the extent to which web traffic analysis and visitor tracking/identification invades user privacy, I feel better informed in my opinions after going through the process of adding analytics to a single site for myself, from technical implementation to analysis to dissemination of findings.

Something that does give me some comfort is better understanding all the ways in which users can “opt-out” of participating in Google Analytics.  While troubleshooting the addition of Google Analytics to my site, I was able to confirm that not only were the browser extensions I use effectively (to my own eyes) blocking the tracking and sending of data to Google Analytics, but that a content inspection policy in place for my home network was also filtering this activity.

While I may not use it for purely personal projects, I can see myself using Google Analytics in the future for my employers and clients due to its ease of use and potential insight it delivers. I’d like to work with it more on a site with heavier traffic, since web analytics seems more appropriate for data on a larger scale (and with less “iffy” sampling methods) than what’s in place for this project. In the future, I would also really like to work on projects where Google Analytics are employed as part of a larger investigation into a website’s usability. I think it would be interesting to compare findings from Google Analytics with what’s learned using other user testing methodologies.

Since a proper Content Experiment wasn’t carried out on my site and I received so few visitors, I wasn’t able to pull out any clear indications of what to do in order to improve the site’s goal conversion rate.  The goal I chose to track progress towards required users to submit a recipe to the website’s recipe repository.  I’ve been thinking about this goal and something I realize about it is that it does require some significant effort and thought from the visitor. I kept this in mind while analyzing the data and it helped to temper my expectations. In cases like this where users are asked to complete a significant task, I think even more effort should go into understanding user motivation, so an appropriate reward can be offered.

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