This tutorial isn’t quite Thesis related, but it’s probably one of the most important things I’ve written about. If you remember from quite a few months ago, I wrote up a guide to installing ClickHeat on Thesis. ClickHeat is a click tracking tool that adds an overlay to your site so you can see where exactly your visitors are clicking. Not only does it track clicks on links, but it tracks ANY clicks on your site. Knowing the most clickable (and least clickable) spots on your sites, means you know exactly where you want to put things like opt-in forms, and buy buttons for the greatest response.
If you care about using your site to sell things, that’s a HUGELY helpful bit of information.
What the hell is conversion tracking?
In the spirit of continued exploration of analytics, we’ll focus on conversion tracking (also called goal tracking) today.
So first of all, what is conversion tracking? Simply put, it’s the act of determining when a visitor to your site performs and completes and action on your site. A conversion can be anything from buying a thesis skin to filling out a comment form. In today’s example, we’ll go over using Gravity Forms, and Google Analytics to determine when someone fills out a form.
If you don’t have Gravity Forms yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I’ve used just about every WordPress forum plugin, and this is by far the best. It can do a lot of cool things, which the others can’t. I’ll talk more about that in a future tutorial though.
Step 1: Create a new form
If you’re familiar with creating a new form, this should be a review for you. We’re going to start by creating a basic contact form which asks for name, email, and message.
Step 2: Create new pages
Once you have the form created, you’ll need to create two new pages. The first page we’ll create is the page where the form will live. In this case, I’ll create a page called “Contact the Team.” Create the page like usual, then insert your gravity form. Once that’s done, hit save.
Now, on to the second page. This is the page visitors who fill out the form will be redirected to when the form has been successfully submitted. This is called the “goal page.”
A few things about setting up this page. First of all, make the url something hard to guess. You don’t want people landing on this page by accident since it will give you inaccurate data. The next thing is to make sure you click the “no index” button under the SEO options page. You don’t want this showing up in the google search results, for the same reason. In essence, this is a secret page you’re creating, and it will only be shown to a small subset of visitors when the complete the action of filling out the form.
Step 3 : Finishing Gravity Forms Setup
So now you have the pages, and your form. Great! Let’s put them together.
Go back to your form, and click on the title section of the form, and go to advanced. From the radio buttons, select the “page” option. This tells that form to redirect the visitor to a page of your choosing, instead of just showing them a thank you message. From there, select the thank you page you created from the dropdown menu.
Step 4 : Testing your form
Before we move on to the Google Analytics part of the tutorial, let’s double check that the form works the way we want. To do this, simply fill out your form. If all has gone to plan, you should be redirected to your thank you page. Since we haven’t really started tracking the results, no need to worry about tainting your results.
Getting Google Involved
Google Analytics should already be installed on your site. If it isn’t, stop reading RIGHT NOW, and do that. There are a ton of plugins you can use to get this done, or simply copy and paste the tracking code into the Thesis Site Options area. The whole process should take about 5 minutes, and will be the best 5 minutes you spend today.
With that out of the way, we need to fire up the Google Analytics dashboard. You can find that by going to http://google.com/analytics and logging in. Once you’re in, select your site to get started.
Defining Your Goals
If you’re like most people, you’ve never really explored Google Analytics in any great depth. Hopefully that will change soon!
Step 1 : The Goals Tab
To get started, we need to click on the goal tab, on the left hand site. This is where all the work takes place.
Step 2 : Creating a New Goal
Once you enter the goals dahboard, you’ll see the screen below which lets you add new goals.
Enter your information as seen in the screenshot above, and then hit the save button. You’re goal is now setup!
That Was Easy
All in all, this process should take you about half an hour the first time you go through it. From there, you can continue to create new goal tracking setups for all of your forms.
By identifying actions, and tracking how well your visitors do at completing those actions, you’ll instantly get a better insight into how well your site is really performing for you. After all, the time and money you invest in your site should serve a purpose. If you don’t know how effective your site is in serving that purpose, you can be sure that you’re leaving money on the table.
In future tutorials, I’m going to talk more about both Gravity Forms and improving your site through data. Please leave your questions in the comments, and if you have a specific topic you’d like to learn more about, please let me know! And of course, this is just the tip of the ice berg. Did you know you can make money with gravity forms?