We have often commented that accurate benchmarking is the key starting point in the process of optimizing a website. We need to be in a position to measure any changes that are made to know what, if any, impact they have had. It’s also important to normalise and reach consensus regarding our data sources and the metrics that we plan on analysing, as it’s easy to reach the wrong conclusions if different members of the same team query different data sources in slightly different ways, or when analyzing metrics and indicators on Google Analytics, we compare apples with oranges. It’s also true that most of the time, the default Google Analytics reports are not as granular as we would like them to be, in order to facilitate more profound analysis.

For that reason, some time ago we started generating automated reports using Google Spreadsheet’s Report Automation Magic. These reports contained Sale KPIs distributed by device type (dimensions), acquisition channel (metrics) and segmented by country (segments). In the last year or so we’ve upgraded our reports and now they are generated by the official Google Analytics Addon, which has been available since May of 2014. With this addon it’s possible to generate reports easily and we also avoid some headaches thanks to the error reporting. You can also combine the addon with the Google App Script triggers which are very useful for launching periodic tasks or to send a notification via email when data is transformed and ready to be displayed. It’s simple, easy and effective.

I’ll outline below some of the most valuable reports that we recommend.

Sales report

This report contains ecommerce KPIs segmented geographically and by device type.

Dimensions:

Sessions by device type (desktop, tablet, smartphone and totals) comparing date ranges.

Metrics:

Acquisition channel (organic search, reference, direct, paid search and social traffic).

Segments:

Country or region.

SEO KPI report

This report contains basic indicators for SEO analysis of a website. Includes a date range comparison between consecutive weeks and the same week of the past year.

Dimensions:

Sessions by week comparing date ranges.

Metrics:

Main SEO KPIs (sessions, unique visitors, page views, unique page views, pages per visit, bounce rate, new visitors) grouped by acquisition channel (organic search, reference, direct and paid search traffic).

Segments:

Visitors origin country.

Website performance report

This report contains a page load speed report grouped by page type and visitor’s country. It also compares date ranges.

Dimensions:

Page load speed by device type (desktop, tablet, smartphone and totals).

Metrics:

Network, server and browser load time average distributed by:

  1. Domain Lookup Time
  2. Server Connection Time
  3. Redirection Time
  4. Server Response Time
  5. Page Download Time
  6. Document Interactive Time
  7. Document Content Loaded Time
  8. Page Load Time

* Image source: www.w3.org * More information about site performance timing on w3.org

Segments:

Visitor country and page type:

  1. Homepage
  2. Category page
  3. Product page
  4. Cart page

Checkout funnel report

Checkout funnel report grouped by device type. As opposed to Google analytics, this report measures conversion rate by unique visitor and unique page view.

Dimensions:

Sessions and unique pageviews by week and comparing date ranges.

Metrics:

Pageviews count filtered by page type and device (desktop, tablet, smartphones and totals).

Segments:

Events or virtual pageviews for each funnel step on the checkout process.

In conclusion, this is normally the first step of our proposals and makes a great starting point on any website optimisation project. It’s flexible, simple and easy to maintain. Please don’t hesitate to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

Filed under: web, methodology

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