How Website Design Can Affect Google Analytics

Consider the end goals of your business website and how your design may impact and affect your Google Analytics and measurements. Frontend panache can clash with the backend.


When thinking of designs for your new website, it is easy to get carried away with the myriad of slick and responsive options that you can potentially utilise. However while these may look impressive and be eye-catching for visitors to your website, on the backend they can provide a real headache when it comes to measuring conversion rates and interactive hits on Google Analytics.

Consider this: Pop-ups and Lightboxes are basically invisible to Google Analytics
As you know, Google Analytics rely on the URL’s of your webpages to track the browser journey and interaction on your website. When tracking clicks as part of this journey, Analytics can plot where a browser began on your site and what route they took during their time there by trailing together the URLs. However lightboxes and pop-ups do not have a dedicated URL and are instead visual features that appear on a webpage when a certain condition(s) is met. This can negatively affect your conversion tracking. For example, if a website browser signs up to your mailing list and instead of being redirected to a confirmation/thank you page they are instead greeted by a pop-up/lightbox; Google Analytics cannot ascertain if a conversion was made or not. Forego pop-ups and lightboxes here and instead have a thank you page with its own URL which Analytics can read as a successful end goal of a conversion. Extensive coding can be implemented to read these types of pop-ups and lightboxes, but it works out better logically and is less time consuming to have a dedicated thank you page or a confirmation page with a unique URL.

Consider this: Outbound links leave Google Analytics in the dark
If you use an external software for your newsletters and mailers, it can make sense to have this linked to your website so that when somebody signs up, they are redirected to the third-party mailing software that you use and are automatically added to your list. The flipside of this is that Google Analytics cannot track this activity once a browser is directed away from your website – conversion tracking effectively becomes disabled. To plot this as a tangible conversion, the end result ideally needs to be a part of your website. Consider what appeals to your individual business needs more – a more streamlined and less time-consuming mailing list or more reliable and traceable conversion rates.

Consider this: Google Analytics appreciates targeted results and page destinations
If your website has a search function within it, the URL of the search results can be a very potent analytical goldmine. As part of your Google Analytics setup, ensure that you specify your query parameters to then utilise the search terms report.  Consult with your website developer(s) to make sure that whatever terms are searched for appear in the URL of the results page to unlock this powerful feature within Google Analytics. A similar tip in terms of specific results comes in the form of page destinations. For example if you have three different shop locations, it is advisable to have a webpage for each one. In this way, your Analytics can measure the hits and traffic to each page (thus you can gauge their popularity) as opposed to a single page containing information about all three of your shop locations.

As seen above, it is always advisable to consult with your website developers and designers to ensure that you can reach a compromise between your visual website aesthetics and raw website analytics. Here at Ireland Website Design, we work alongside the client to come up with a solution to solve your analytical needs while whetting your appetite for a beautifully designed, responsive business website.

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