Keeping all your website’s data and analytics during a website redesign is important. If you have website analytics on your existing website, you’re going to want to carry this over to the new site so you can monitor performance chances.
Keeping the Same Analytics vs. New Analytics
A lot of times, developers will add a new analytics tracking code to the site or people will think, “Hey, I’ve got a new site and I don’t want all that old information in there,” but that’s a bad approach. You want the old data and new data seamlessly in the same place. This way, you can see if the new design helps you reach your business goals, and how it changes or affects user behavior on your site.
In order to carry over your analytics to the new website, you need to have your analytics tracking code available so you can provide it to your developer.
Again, it’s important you use the same exact tracking code. It can be very time consuming and difficult to compare a new analytics account to an old analytics account when they’re not using the same tracking code.
If you’re using Google Analytics, you can easily locate your tracking code by following these steps:
- Sign in to your account
- Click on “Admin”
- Choose an account from the “Account” column
- Select a property from the “Property” column
- Click Tracking Info -> Tracking Code
You’ll see your tracking ID and property number at the top of the page. If you didn’t have Google analytics hooked up on your old website, installing a new analytics account should be included in your web development. All you have to do is insert a code snippet on the website in a specific place. Your web developer will know how to do this.
All you have to do is make sure the developer working on your site has access to the snippet. You can either send it in a notepad file or you can give them access to the analytics account so they can get it themselves.
Using Google Analytics Goals to Track User Behavior and Collect Data
If you’re using Google Analytics, you can setup different goals to monitor on your website. For example, you can setup a goal called “Contact Form” to trigger whenever someone fills out a form on your website. This lets you understand how changes to your website affect your most important goals.
There are four basic ways to trigger Goals:
- Destinations: when a user visits a specific page on your site.
- Duration: when a user spends a specific amount of time on your site.
- Pages: when a user visits a specific number of pages on your site.
- Events: when a user completes a specific event that has been tagged on your site.
When Goals Break
Website redesigns can mess up your analytics goals. Let’s say you have a goal set up for when a contact form is submitted that triggers when a visitor visits your “Thank You” page. In order to keep that goal functioning, you need to make sure each component making up that process is the same or has been updated to match the new website. If you change the URL for your “Thank You” page, you may have just broken your goal.
This can be really bad if you’re running Google Ads campaigns that use a conversion tracking bidding method. If the analytics program no longer registers conversions properly, the bidding will come to a halt or go haywire. Make sure you mind your goals.
Decide on Important Metrics You Should Track
Think about your business goals and create analytics goals that support them. For example, reducing your bounce rate or increasing how much time users spend on your site may accomplish the business goal of having users engage with the brand more. You can create goals to monitor changes in these website metrics using Google Analytics or most any analytics program.
Know your baseline metrics
Before you can improve something, you need to understand how it has been performing. Make sure you have a clear idea of your baseline and where your analytics goals are at on your existing site.
If your new website is supposed to improve certain metrics, it’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet of reporting to measure changes over time. Predict how you expect those metrics to change as a result of the redesign. Thinking about this before you design the site can help you create a more focused design that will help you reach your goals.
Setting New Analytics Goals
You want to create new analytics goals and get them added to your site while it’s being developed.
For example, if one of your new features is to sell items on your site, you want to create new analytics goals for those sales, such as something to measure the eCommerce conversion rates.
If video is a big part of your redesign, you may want to create new goals for the length of time users view your videos. You can do a lot with analytics - don’t get overwhelmed. Keep it focused on business objectives.
Common Analytics Issues
Here are several common web analytics issues you may run into while working on a website redesign.
Creation of a new analytics account and abandoning old data
The biggest issue you’ll see during the analytics phase is not keeping the same analytics account and creating a brand new analytics account for your redesigned site when instead, you should transfer your existing analytics tracking code to the new site. You want seamless data so you can monitor the results before and after.
Forgetting to add analytics to the new site
In some cases, the tracking code will be left off the redesigned site entirely, which will result in no data at all when the new site launches. Pretty understandable why this is bad - how will you know what improved if you can’t measure it?
Failure to monitor the analytics
If no one’s even looking at the bounce rate or the average amount of time users spend on the site, and suddenly those things go way up after new site launches, how are you going to know there’s a problem?