February 10, 2010

What’s a Web Site Worth? Setting Goals in Google Analytics


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

You’ve built your Web site and signed up for Google Analytics. The reports are full of juicy numbers, but you aren’t sure how to translate those numbers into making your Web site more profitable. Google Analytics’ goal setting can help. Even if you don’t have a traditional ecommerce site and use your site just for lead generation, Google Analytics goal tracking can give you valuable information about customer conversions.

Establishing Your Goals

Small business owners can use goal setting to track various types of conversions, including lead generation, mailing list sign-ups, form completion, or the downloading of white papers or other site information. Once you determine the type of goal you want to set, you need to assign a value.

If that’s easier said than done, read this excellent blog post from BB Creative called What Goal Type Are You? to figure out what type of goals you want to set.

Assigning Goal Values

To determine the value of a non-ecommerce goal, you’ll need to know what percentage of leads/sign-ups/downloads have traditionally turned into sales and what the average value of that sale is.

Example #1

Lead goal value = the average value of a sale ($400) x percent of leads that turn into sales (10%)
10 percent of $400 = goal value of $40 per lead

Example #2

Mailing list goal value = the average revenue generated from a single email blast ($4,000) / total number of email addresses in database (2,000)
$4,000/2,000 = goal value of $2 per signup

Setting Goals

Now that you’ve assigned values to your goals, it’s time to set them up in Google Analytics.

  • Sign in to your account and select the profile for the account you want to set goals in and click “edit."
  • Select one of the goal sets and click “add goal."
  • Give the goal a name.
  • Make sure the “on” radio button is selected to activate tracking for this goal.
  • Select the goal type (URL Destination, Time on Site, Pages/Visits).

URL Destination

  • Select the “Match Type” (Head Match, Exact Match, Regular Expression Match).
  • Enter the goal URL. For example, this could be the confirmation/thank you page for a newsletter sign-up. It’s best if you don’t enter the entire URL. Leave off the domain name. For example, if your goal page is http://www.mysite.com/thankyou.thml, simply enter /thankyou.html.
  • Check off case sensitive if applicable.
  • Enter your goal value and save your goal.

Time on Site

  • Select a condition (greater than or less than) and enter the duration. This is helpful for tracking how engaged visitors are in the content you’re providing.
  • Enter your goal value and save your goal.


  • Select a condition (greater than or less than) and enter the number of pages/visits. This type of goal gives you insight into the depth of customer visits before achieving your goal.
  • Enter your goal value and save your goal.

Setting goals will give you valuable conversion metrics that can help streamline your Web site and, most importantly, make it more profitable.

Once your goals are set, you can look at the $index column in your control panel to see which pages are contributing to your sales.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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