Use stats tracking on your website to measure and improve the effectiveness of your public relations strategy
By Enrique Serrano
For law firms, an online presence is essential: It is a marketing tool for building your firm’s brand, a way to attract new clients, improve your reputation and ultimately expand your practice. Once your website has been set up, you may be tempted to judge its performance simply by the way your business improves or in terms of the number of new clients who tell you that they found you through your website.
But that’s a narrow approach. Your website can generate valuable information if you install a statistics tracking program.
Why do you need stats tracking on your website?
Stats tracking is more than a traditional hit counter or a graph with the number of visits. It’s vitally important because it:
- Allows you to determine the most interesting content for your clients
- Helps you discover new business opportunities, keywords and markets
- Is a reliable way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
- Removes the guesswork from website-improvement tasks, making website optimization a scientific process
Your stats will give you new ideas about how to improve your site. They provide a reliable measure of what is working and which web pages are underperforming. In short, stats tracking allows you to experiment, measure and optimize.
Why should you choose Google Analytics?
I prefer Google Analytics as a stats tracking tool because:
- It’s completely free for traffic volumes of fewer than 5 million page views per month
- Google Analytics features an easy-to-use customizable interface that allows you to find the most important information, such as traffic volume, top performing pages, visitor locations, traffic sources and most effective keywords, at a glance. This is a straightforward way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
- It contains advanced stats tracking features such as dynamic graphs, site overlay reports displaying your most interesting links and Google Intelligence, which highlights important changes in your traffic. All of these tools are great ways to understand how is your site working and find opportunities to improve your public relations strategy.
- Google Analytics is easy to install. You just need to copy and paste a small piece of code inside your pages. You can even install it yourself, saving your time and your budget — which are better invested in understanding your reports and improving your website marketing.
How to install the tracking code of Google Analytics in HTML pages
Follow these steps to install the newest and fastest version of Google Analytics code on your website:
- You need a free Google Account to create a Google Analytics account. You can create a Google Account here.
- Access Google Analytics (or sign up for Google Analytics here if you’re a new user) through your Google Account.
- Select your new account and create a new website profile, clicking the Add Website Profile link in the lower left corner of your account overview. You will need a profile for each site that you own.
- Fill in the fields of your new website profile form. (Be sure to check ‘Add a profile for a new domain’.) Type in your domain name and pick your country and time zone, then click Finish.
- The next screen displays your Google Analytics tracking code. Your default options should work for this kind of installation. Copy the tracking code, which you will need to paste into all of your pages, and click Save and Finish.
- Download your web pages (HTML files), using FTP. A variety of free FTP clients, such as FileZilla, are available. (Windows comes with a built-in FTP client.) You can use the Add Network Place Wizard in Windows, or just type ftp://yourWebsiteAddress.com into your Windows file explorer bar and then provide the user name and password given by your web hosting company. Once you’re logged in, copy your HTML files to your hard drive.
- Edit your original files, pasting this stats tracking code just after the opening <body> tag. Any basic text editor (e.g., Windows Notepad) will work. (Be sure to keep the original file extension — .htm or .html. Finally, upload your files by way of FTP, overwriting the old ones.
How to install Google Analytics in WordPress
Not all websites are composed of HTML files. Many legal websites use content management systems. With a CMS you only need to paste your Analytics code in one place. If you are using WordPress, you can either install a Google Analytics plug-in or do it manually, following these steps:
- Access your site by way of FTP and go to yourWordpressFolder/wp-content/themes/yourChosenTheme/.
- Locate and download the file called header.php.
- Edit the file, pasting the Analytics tracking code just after the <body…> tag.
- Upload the new file, overwriting the old one.
How do you know if Google Analytics code is working correctly?
Once the setup process is complete, you only need to verify that Google Analytics is working as expected:
- In the overview page of your Analytics account, you should see the status of your tracking as an icon. Click the edit link in the right edge to check it again.
- In the upper right corner of the Analytics Profile Settings, click the Check Status link.
- In the Tracking Status section, confirm that your Google Analytics code is working correctly, displaying a Receiving Data message.
- If you still get an “Analytics code not installed” error message, confirm that the time of the last code check is the current time.
- You can also make sure that your Google Analytics code has been pasted properly. Navigate to your site and use the View Source Code option in your web browser (Page > View source code in Internet Explorer, or just press CTRL+U in Firefox or Google Chrome).
That’s it! Now you only need to wait till the system gathers some statistical data. Use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and to improve your public relations strategy through the process of experimenting, measuring and optimizing.
Enrique Serrano is a telecommunications engineer expert in online marketing and website development.
At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.