Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Why your cool church web site needs (the new) Google Analytics

Back in November of 2005, Google release Analytics, a high popular and free service to help you measure the effectiveness of your church web site. Yesterday, at the Emetrics Summit in San Francisco, Brett Crosby and Jeff Veen announced a re-factored version of Google Analytics that is more accessible and easier to use; begging the question – why haven’t you plugged this service into your church or charity’s web presence?

So what’s different?

  • Email and export reports: Schedule or send ad-hoc personalized report emails and export reports in PDF format.
  • Custom Dashboard: No more digging through reports. Put all the information you need on a custom dashboard that you can email to others.
  • Trend and Over-time Graph: Compare time periods and select date ranges without losing sight of long term trends.
  • Contextual help tips: Context sensitive Help and Conversion University tips are available from every report.
  • Report Finder Tool: will help you see where data from the previous interface is located within the new version

So what does it look like?

Here’s a thumbnail of a screenshot of the dashboard:

Screenshot of the Google Analytics Dashboard

I’ve also got partial screenshots of the Average Pageviews and Traffic Sources Overview pages for your viewing pleasure.

So what’s in it for me?

How about a nice, clean customizable and centralized heads-up display that presents the data that is important to you in a way you can understand it, share it, and customize it so you can make informed decisions about what works on your church website and what doesn’t.

In other words, find out why your church website succeeds or fails in its goals to:

  • communicate your organizations’s personality and purpose
  • field better search engine optimization of your pastor’s sermons/studies
  • to get seekers and/or new neighbors in the door through compelling content
  • to get your lay ministries participating online by finding out what works and what doesn’t

So what do I do next?

If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, I’d suggest starting with their demo page, and then work your way over the Analytics product page.

For those of you who’ve been either using or aware of this service, I’d suggest perhaps adding the Google Analytics Blog to your aggregator.

Old salt or newbie, keep in mind a few these factors as you visit the new version (demo):

  • The new version works best with Flash 7 or higher – if you don’t have it, you can get it at Adobe.com.
  • Google Analytics now uses the same geo-data source as AdWords, therefore, map and geo-location report results may vary slightly between the previous interface and the new interface (For those of you with filters designed for geo-data, you may want to verify the results and edit if necessary).
  • Limiting the Available Reports for a profile by specifying which Report Dashboards and Report Categories are available has been removed from the product in favor of the new customizable Google Analytics dashboard.
  • The ability to limit the availability of data within a certain profile for certain users (through removing those users from the profile instead of via email scheduling).

So what!? Big deal?! Why Bother?!

I know you’re busy, but if the above information isn’t enough to light a fire under you to figure out how to plug in this service to let your church, charity and/or community’s web light shine, then perhaps this paraphrase based upon Matthew 5:14-16 will help put it in a context that is meaningful to you:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Put another way, no matter how ‘cool’ your church web site may be, if you don’t know what a bounce rate is – let alone your church web site’s bounce rate – then you need to get busy with adding Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your organization’s web presence.