How to Track Important Links and Forms on Your Blog

Almost every blog contains different sections on the web page filled with important links and forms. These elements can be within the primary content section, comments section, sidebar, header or footer. Generally, an average blogger never bother to individually track clicks on important links or RSS & newsletter signups. But, the advantage of tracking these important on page elements is extremely beneficial for not only optimizing your blog in general, but also for increasing your conversion rate. Today, we're going to learn simple and effective techniques to track all the important links on our blog. It's very easy to implement and you only need to tag each of the links and need to create a corresponding goal for each one of them in your Google analytics account.

Identify Links & Forms

The first obvious step is to shortlist all the prominent links and submission forms that you wish to track. These links can be general RSS subscription links, custom squeeze pages, affiliate links and so on. Submission forms are also present in various forms for exp, contact forms, newsletter signup forms, RSS subscription forms, service related lead capturing forms and so on.

Once the short listing process is complete, you should group common links and forms. For example, email subscription forms can be present at different locations on different pages on your blog leading to the same landing page. You must group all of these links in a separate group. Segregation of common links helps in easy creation of goals and tracking code.

Generate Tracking Code

You never need to modify your existing Google analytics tracking code currently installed on your blog. Y0ou only need to add one line of tracking code at the appropriate place and the generic structure of this code is shown right below.

onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label', Value, Event Type]);"

Let's discuss some practical examples of generating and deploying this tracking code. Let's take Feedburner email subscription signup link as the first example. This link is common and is present on almost every blog. Let's assume you have a simple Feedburner email signup link that you intend to track. Remember, you can only track up to clicking of Feedburner email signup popup. A visitor may not complete the signup process and may close the Feedburner window later on. But still, this tracking mechanism lets us know which pages or signup links are giving us maximum conversions. So let's go ahead and first create the tracking code for the same.
  • Category - I've discussed about grouping of common links in the first section above. Category parameter should be used to specify the group in which this link can be included. For our email signup example, we can name it 'Feed Subscription'. Both email and RSS subscription links on your blog can be included in this group.
  • Action - Here you can provide the information about the data or action a visitor is going to provide after following the link. In our example, we can safely use 'Email' for this parameter since the link asks for the potential subscriber's working email address.
  • Label - This parameter can be used for two purposes. First, for giving a recognizable name to the tracking code and second also for mentioning the exact placement of the link on your blog. In our example, we can use 'Top Sidebar' for this parameter if the email signup link is located right on top of your blog's sidebar.
  • Value - This is an optional parameter that allows you to provide a numeric value for the event. You can provide any integer value for this parameter. Let's say you've used '1' for this parameter.
  • Event Type - The last option is also optional and can be safely ignored in most cases. If this parameter is set to true the bounce resulting from the click is not counted within the website's overall bounce rate.
So the final tracking code may look like this after supplying all the parameters we've discussed above. You may modify these parameters according to your needs.

onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Feed Subscription', 'Email', 'Top Sidebar']);"

I've omitted the last two optional parameters in the example shown above. Remember, the first 3 parameters should be included in apostrophes, while the last two parameters shouldn't as one of them is a numerical value and the last one is a Boolean value.

Deploy Tracking Code

Once the tracking code has been generated, it's time to embed it at the right place within your blog's code. In our example, we're tracking Feedburner email signup link, so here's how you'll be inserting this tracking code within the signup link.

<a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=YOURFEEDNAME&loc=en_US" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Feed Subscription', 'Email', 'Top Sidebar']);">Subscribe via Email!</a>

As you can see, adding tracking code within the link is very simple. Make sure there's a white space between the href and onClick attributes. The same procedure is applicable for contact forms as well, where you add the tracking code to the input field of type 'Button' to monitor all the submissions.

Create a Corresponding Goal

Creating and deploying the tracking code alone doesn't do the job. You have to create a corresponding goal in your Google analytics account to fetch the data and reports from the server. To create a goal, first the select your blog's profile, then head over to 'Admin → Profile Tab → Goals Tab'. You can create up to 20 different event tracking goals in 4 different sets. This is good enough for tracking all the important links on your blog.

Google creation in Google analytics

The image shown above elaborates how you can create an event tracking goal for the example we've discussed above. You may give a different name to your goal, but make sure it is easily recognizable so that you can interpret the reports easily.

You can see I've left the last parameter empty, which is an optional parameter. If you decide to provide a numerical value for this parameter, make sure you change the tracking code accordingly. The default goal value option can also be left as it is in most of the cases. In case you want to provide an approximate or accurate value associated with a particular event, you can select the second radio button and can provide that value.

Over to You

Do you track links and submission forms on your blog? If yes, what other techniques have you used to monitor important sections of your blog? If you some more useful and easy techniques to monitor links within a blog, do share with us in the comments below. You may also share the information about how you've used the tracking data to optimize your conversion rate.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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