How to Set Up and Track Conversion Rates in Google Analytics

by Naomi Niles · 29 comments

conversion rate graph

If you’re using your website for business, you should track your website conversion rates.

Not only does it tell you what’s working and what isn’t, it also gives you specific goals to take action on.

For example, you may notice that traffic coming from a blog like DIYthemes converts higher than another blog. If that’s the case, you can focus on the source that converts.

How do you track conversion rates on your website?

Luckily, with Google Analytics, it’s easy. So keep reading and I’ll show you:

  • How to Set Up Google Analytics in Thesis
  • How Track Aweber or Mailchimp Subscriber Conversion Rates with Google Analytics Goals
  • How to Track Your Sales Using E-Junkie and Paypal Buttons.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

How to set up Google Analytics in Thesis

Before you start tracking conversion rates, you must make sure Google Analytics is set up and running on your site. Fortunately, this is easy to do with Thesis.

When you sign up for Google Analytics, they’ll give you a tracking code that looks something like this:

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-XXXXXXX-X");
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}</script>

When you get your code, not the code above, from your Google Analytics account, you can paste it into your Stats Software/Scripts box under Thesis > Site Options Menu.

Paste Analytics Code in Thesis Options

Now, once you have your tracking code installed, we can get to the fun part!

How to Track Newsletter and Product Conversion Rates with Google Analytics

When people subscribe to your newsletter or buy your products, you often send them to a thank you page. Most newsletter and product delivery services offer default “Thank You” pages, but I suggest you create your own on your site—one thank you page for each product / newsletter works best.

Step 1: Set up a “Thank You” Page

How do you create custom “Thank You” pages?

Create a normal WordPress page, and make sure you exclude it from your navigation. On this page, you can say “Thank You” to your customers for buying or subscribing to your newsletter. You can also offer bonus downloads or product up-sells here, which is a great strategy by the way.

After you’ve created your pages, I’ve found that it’s useful to copy the page’s URL and paste it into a text file so that it’s easily accessible for the following steps.

Step 2: Tie Your “Thank You” Page To Your Newsletter / Sales Provider

Before I start, I have a quick note…

If your newsletter is powered by Feedburner RSS to email, you should get a premium provider. It’s super valuable because it provides additional stat tracking, and additional features. (if cost is a problem, use MailChimp. They’re free up to 2,000 subscribers).

On to the tracking!

How to Set Up a “Thank You” Page in Mail Chimp

  1. Log into your mailchimp account and go to your lists page.
  2. Select the little link that says “forms” under the list you want to track your newsletter subscribers from.
  3. You should now see a drop-down selection box near the upper left with the title “forms and response emails”. From that drop-down box select “Confirmation “thank you” page”.
  4. In the input text box below that called “Instead of showing this “thank you” page, send subscribers to another URL”, paste in the url of the “thank you” page that you set up.
  5. If you’re using the form embed option to put the newsletter form on your site’s sidebar, you’ll need to do a few more steps:
    1. Click on the link that says “create embed code for small form”.
    2. Configure the form to match your site how you please, but make sure to click on the checkbox that says “disable all javascript”. This step is important because if you skip it, your subscribers will not get redirected to your “thank you” page and you won’t be able to track them. Instead, they’ll get a confirmation message directly underneath the form.

Input your url into Mailchimp settings

How to Set Up a “Thank You” Page in Aweber

  1. Log in, go to Webforms, and select the form you’d like to modify.
  2. Click on the large Settings tab at the top.
  3. You should see the second option that says “Thank you page”. Select the custom page option.
  4. Enter the URL of the “thank you” page that you set up.

Input your url into Aweber settings

How to Set Up a “Thank You” Page in E-junkie

Setting up E-Junkie is tricky since there are a few different variables. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up a general “thank you” page for simplicity’s sake.

  1. Log into your E-Junkie account and click on Seller Admin > Edit Account Preferences.
  2. Place your “thank you” page URL in the input box next to: Common Thank-You Page HTML.

Click here to visit the E-Junkie site to find more information about the different ways to configure this.

Input your url into E-Junkie settings

How to Set Up a “Thank You” Page In Paypal

  1. Log into Paypal and go to Profile > More Options.
  2. Click on “My Saved Buttons” assuming that your button is already saved.
  3. To the right of the button you want to modify, click on Action > Edit button.
  4. Now, you’ll want to click on the heading for the third step: Customize Advanced Features.
  5. Check on the box that says “Take customers to this URL when they finish checkout” and input your thank you page url.
  6. After you have saved your changes, get your new button html and re-paste it into your site.

Input your url into Paypal Button settings

Step 3: Set Up Goal Tracking in Google Analytics

Setting up goals in Google Analytics is a fairly straightforward process once you know how to do it. Have no fear!

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account and go to the website profile for your site.
  2. Click on the “edit” button to the right of your site link.
  3. You should now see an area if you scroll down a little called only “goals”. Click on the first link on the right to “add goal”.
  4. Once there, name your goal. I named mine “subscribers”. Under Goal Type, select “URL Destination”.
  5. After that, you should be given more options to input your “thank you” page information. Under “match type” select “exact match” and input your goal url as “/thank-you/” if your whole url was http://www.mysite.com/thank-you/
  6. If you want to track sales, you can additionally input the value of your average sale too (win!).

Set up your goals in Google Analytics

You’re All Set!

You should start seeing your results coming in around 24 hours after you set up your goal. Keep in mind that Google Analytics doesn’t track in real-time so you have to be patient.

Monitor your conversion rates!

You’ll find your general results underneath the Goals tab on the bottom left of your dashboard. If you don’t start seeing results appearing after 1-2 days, go back through the steps and to double-check that you input everything correctly.

Make sure you keep an eye on your rates and look out for trends. You just might discover you never want to be blind about your conversion rates again!

About the Author: Naomi Niles is the founder of ShiftFWD, a full service conversion optimization consultancy specializing in full website audits, continual testing, and landing page optimization.

If you enjoyed this article, enter your email below to get free updates!

{ 29 comments }

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Pretty straightforward Naomi. Good post.

Derek Halpern

When I implemented conversion tracking on DIYthemes and SocialTriggers, I saw what sources of traffic converted best, and I was able to focus on them. Great insights.

Danny @ Firepole Marketing

Hi Naomi, thanks for the great post. We do much of this at Firepole Marketing, but we’ll definitely be tweaking and optimizing based on your instructions. :)

Naomi Niles

Thanks, Danny! For just an extra few minutes work, it really does give you some great insights.

Dave Doolin

I was looking at my own article on this from July 2009. Still looks pretty good; I may republish it.

Since I just bought Kaushik’s book on web analytics as well, this is very timely stuff.

The Thank You page in E Junkie is a new one for me. Will definitely check that out. I noticed relatively few people know about the 3 pages AWeber allows.

Now back to rereading this article with my Analytic account open…

Naomi Niles

Oh, excellent. Did you get Web Analytics 2.0? I keep it right next to me at all times.

Dave Doolin

I did! I’m gonna get the 1 hour per day book too.

Tell you, after going through just the first couple of chapters, I have a hard time giving anyone credibility who *doesn’t* have Avinash at hand.

Eoin O'Carroll

Nice post Naomi and I like the simple explanation on how to set up and track your goals; everyone should do this!

One point though is that when users edit their profile and click ‘check status’ to get their GA code they’ll be shown the asynchronous version rather than the example above. It’s not queued like the standard code shown here but rather is parsed at the same time as the website itself loads. This means that you can place it in the additional scripts section so that it loads in the head and can ensure greater accuracy of tracking. For example, those visitors that leave before the whole content of your site loads will now be tracked and you’ll get a truer reflection of what your Bounce Rate really is.

Naomi Niles

Hi Eoin. That’s great to know! Thanks for the extra tip.

Ioan Nicut

@Naomi

you are a conversion star! Thank you for your great content. I will go right now to implement your stuff.

@DIYThemes Guys, I am happy to use Thesis. Thesis Rocks! :)

Derek Halpern

Glad you’re liking the software and the blog!

Heather Allard

Hey Naomi,
This was a really helpful post, thanks!

Do you happen to know how I can set up goals in Google Analytics to track conversion traffic from other sites? Say, if a reader comes to my site from SimpleMom.net (where I’m a contributor) and then subscribes to my blog – how would I set up that goal in Google Analytics?

Thanks again!
Heather

Naomi Niles

Hi Heather!

What you’ll need to do is set up a custom report since there’s no way to track referring sites from the goals panel or set up goals specifically by referral.

Plus, this way you can track all of your referrals at once instead of just one at a time.

You can run custom reports on all kinds of things, but to track the referring traffic on all of your conversions, you’d do the following.

1. click on the custom reporting menu and then > manage custom reports
2. create a new custom report
3. once there, you’ll wan to change your title to whatever you like
4. from the left metrics boxes, find the blue box called “total goal completions” (under goals) and drag that into the first metrics box on the right
5. Now drag the green box called “source/medium” from the traffic sources to the first green box on the right.
6. Hit the preview report to make sure it looks like it’s supposed to.
7. Save and you are now on your way to becoming an analytics ninja. :)

Heather Allard

Thanks, Naomi! I appreciate the info! :)

Heather

Heather Allard

HOLY CRAP, that is a COOL report! It gave me exactly the information I was looking for!! :)

Girl, you ROCK! Thank you!
Heather

Mark McGuinness

Thank you Naomi – and Heather for asking the question. This is exactly what I needed!

Naomi Niles

Glad it was useful, Mark! Hope you dig up some good insights. :)

Heather Allard

My pleasure. LOL.

Heather

john cozen

I could kiss you Naomi.

Guy Lawrence

Great post Naomi. I think for anyone who sells a product or service online, tracking conversions is essential.

Naomi Niles

I agree! :)

Bill Rust

Great beginner article on setting up Goals in GA! Thanks Naomi!

Mandi Wise

Thanks for this great how-to Naomi! Everywhere you turn people are telling you to track conversion, but very few offer such a straight-forward explanation of how to do it. Many thanks!

Dasril Iteza

great post & thanks! i’ll try as soon as possible!

Debbie

Thank you so much for this post! I did a search on Google to try to figure out how to incorporate the mailchimp tracking in my campaigns and found your post.

I don’t know why mailchimp doesn’t explain things better but you certainly cleared it up. From what I’ve read on your post, it made me understand how to include the tracking in the campaigns. Thank you again!

Jake Briggs

Yeah, I have some custom anayltics script that doesn’t work with that thesis “option”. I’ve had some trouble trying to get it to work properly. Is there anyway for me to add the script without using Thesis’ built in option?

I just want to try a different approach to see if I can get it to work.

Camilo Rodriguez

naomi i did not understand this point:

If you want to track sales, you can additionally input the value of your average sale too (win!).

How can i do that?

It is important for my website to know that.

Thanks

Camilo Rodriguez

Mark

I am using a Wordpress site and have got a button hard coded for donations in the side bar. The donations button goes to an external site. I have managed to track that as an event but cannot get the event to work as a goal. Any idea how to make this happen? Cheers.

Andrew Glasscock

Thank you for this excellent Analytics post. Very accessible, you’ve made a difficult-sounding concept easy to grasp and implement. New GA layout means some of the specific directions are out of date, but the basic steps are all still there.