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Tracking Directory Submissions with Google Analytics

Monday, December 31st, 2007

A paid submission to your directory is great. It means you get paid and your marketing efforts are working.

More going out than coming in?

What happens if you are spending thousands a month marketing your site, yet getting only a small percent of that back in paid submissions? Are some of your monthly costs going to waste? Does the traffic result in no submissions? Is it worth paying all that money for the low quality traffic you do get?

Find the source of these submissions

The best way to answer your questions is to know how your customers reach your directory. Knowing the source of the sale can help you control your monthly spending, know where to advertise other directories you may have, and know what areas you need to focus your attention to.

How can I track them?

Tracking your submissions is really easy. It doesn’t require any programming knowledge nor does it cost any money. It can be done using Google Analytics - a free traffic analysis program created by google. Go to the site and check it out. You will need a google account which you may already have if you use one of their other services like GMail. Google Analytics tracks your visitors. Where they came from, what pages they view, how long they stay on the site and hundreds of other useful information is collection.

I now have analytics running on my site

Its really easy to add the analytics code to your site. If using phpLD, edit the footer.tpl file and place the code given to you before the </body> tag. You have probably noticed how useful this software is. It shows where your traffic comes from, what pages they view, what keywords they used in search engines and much more. Onward we go!

I have seen that section called “goals”, but have no idea what its for

You are not alone. Many webmasters just ignore the goals feature. It is of no use to some. Goals however is what we will use to find the source of our paid submissions in our directory.

Enough of the rubbish, tell me how to do it

I really do talk too much. I’ll get right to the juicy bits now. How to create a goal and start tracking those useful submissions.This is currently set up for use with phpLinkDirectory.
Step 1 - Login to your Analytics account and stop at the page where your website profiles are listed.

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Step 2 - Next to the website profile of your directory, click edit. You will be taken to an overview of the website profile.

Step 3 - There is a section listing goals. One the first line (G1) click edit. See image below.

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Step 4 - You will be given a form to enter details of the goal. In our case, a goal is a paid submission.

Set the goal to active.

Give it a “head match”.

Set the “Goal URL” to “http://www.yoursite.com/payment.php?payed=” (without the the quote marks).

Give the goal a name. I called mine “submissions”.

Goal value should be the amount your regular submissions cost. I typed “20″. No currency symbol is needed.

All settings are shown in image below.

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Step 5 - Add funnels. Funnels show how the user navigated through the site to reach payment. Its fairly straight forward - they will all come throught the submit form.

For step 1 use URL “http://www.yoursite.com/submit.php” and name it “submit”.

Step 2 should be named “Payment” and the URL “http://www.yoursite.com/payment.php?id=” should be used.

Step 6 - Click save. Thats it!

Does it actually work?

I never thought it would actually work. Yesterday I announced my directory on digital point forums, so logged in this morning to see if my 2 submissions got tracked.

Choose todays date. The other days should be greyed out. Its not vital but it gives the ability to view one day at a time. See screenshot below for help on viewing one day only.

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Click the goals button

The above image shows I had 2 conversions which was correct. They were shown on the date I got the submissions (December 30th). See screenshot below for info.

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On the left navigation bar, click traffic sources. Still viewing December 30th. Choose one of your traffic sources or select all traffic sources. As seen in the screenshot below, the “Goal Conversion” tab must be clicked. It shows how your traffic sources resulted in conversions. In my case, 47 visits from Digital Point Forums resulted in 4.26% of them submitting a site. This was highlighted in the screenshot below.

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Conclusion

There we have it! A solution to your marketing puzzles. Now you can find where your customers came from you will know which method of your marketing is working best.

Feel free to contact me with any issues you have or any problems with installing analytics on your site and setting up goals.