Tracking Blog (or Website) Leads with Google Analytics in 1-2-3

People generally tend to blog because a) they're passionate about something, b) it's their job to blog about something, or c) both. In either case, it's important to understand whether your blog posts are hitting the mark with your community. Tracking your blog with website analytics software such as Google Analytics is a great way to gauge your blog's performance. Today, we'll walk through the steps necessary to track blog and website lead requests through your website's contact form. Before we get into the step-by-step, a few things:
  • I track my blog leads/emails with Google Analytics but it doesn't mean you have to. There are many other great web analytics choices - for example, I am starting to web-analytics-cheat on Google Analytics with super cool and super cheap Clicky Web Analyticsb which also supports goal funnels and starts at around $5/month.
  • Although Big Picture Web is Powered by Squarespace - our blog/website publishing platform of choice - you should be able to use this guide to track your blog/website leads if you're on a different platform, too.
  • To best demonstrate the process, I'm going to invite you to take a peak under the hood of Big Picture Web today. And while in doing so you'll see that my humble blog and content strategy hasn't quite peaked yet, I felt full disclosure was necessary to best illustrate the potential value in tracking what happens on your blog.

Step 1#: Defining Your Blog/Website Lead "Goal Funnel"

The first step in tracking blog leads/contacts is to define the Google Analytics "goal funnel." A goal funnel is the unique progression of URL addresses a visitor views as they perform a desired action on the website, such as going to the Contact Us form, filling it out, then hitting the "Submit" button. Go through the process on your own site and take note of the exact URLs you see along the way.

tracking blog leads(Click to enlarge)

tracking website leads(click to enlarge)

Step #2: Creating Your Goal Funnel in Google Analytics

Once you have your URLs, you can add a new goal funnel by editing your Google Analytics Profile Settings, then adding a new Goal:

google analytics blog goals

Name and activate your goal. Be sure to select a "URL Destination" goal type. 

google analytics lead goals

Paste the URL that corresponds to your contact/lead form's confirmation page as the "Goal URL" and be sure to select a match type of "Exact."

tracking website contacts

Advanced Tip: If you have an average lead value, you can enter it as the goal value to help you better understand the ROI of all your web efforts. I don't have a sense of what that is for Big Picture Web yet, so I just put in $5 to get a relative gauge of what's working on the blog/site. (Sidenote: An important part of web analytics is having a relatively decent idea for the size of the grain of salt required to be taken with a particular data source, based on it's level of imprecision.)

Enter any additional URLs that occur throughout the goal funnel, such as the Contact Us page itself.

google analytics contact goals(click to enlarge)

Step #3: Viewing Your Goal Reports in Google Analytics

Once you've done all the necessary work to track your blog in Google Analytics, it's time to look at the reports. A great place to start is the funnel visualization report, which will tell you where potential leads are coming from and where they're bailing throughout the process. Google Analytics experts can even customize their reports to show which fields on the Contact Us form itself are causing people to abandon the process.

contact us goal funnel(click to enlarge)

Moving past the goal funnel itself, you can then use the rest of Google Analytics tricks to analyze your website leads even further. See which blog posts are driving contacts. Which traffic sources are good for new business? Where should you focus your limited blogging time and resources to maximize your contribution to your community?

tracking blog leads with google analytics(click to enlarge)

So there you have it. How do you use tracking tools like Google Analytics or Clicky Analytics to measure the leads your blog or website generates? What insights have they provided? Have you shifted the direction of your blog based on leads you've received on certain posts? Do you comment more frequently on certain websites because they drive the most people to contact you? Leave a comment below to share your insights with the Big Picture Web community.