Tag Archives: Google

Google tools to help website owners. Amazing free tools that provide massive insight for your web presence.

Google Analytics Logo

Google Analytics – time is running out…

Google Analytics Logo

Have you updated your Google Analytics set up yet?  For anyone using the legacy Universal Analytics (UA) code you have until the end of the month (June 30th 2023) to switch to the new Google Analytics v4 (GAv4) method. 

Not sure if this affects you? Read on to see if you need to take action to change your Google Analytics set up, where to do it and how.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) is a free service set up by Google to allow site owners to identify trends and patterns in how people use their website.  GA handles both the data acquisition and analysis and visualization making it a powerful tool for any website owner keen to know how their visitors find and interact with their site.

You may have installed it on the site when you first built it, or your web designer may have done this for you.

How do I know if I’m using Universal Analytics?

If the GA code used on your site uses either analytics.js, ga.js or urchin.js then your site is using UA and you will need to switch to GAv4.  Similarly, if the tracking code in your script looks like UA-XXXXXXXX, then you still have UA active.

However, if your Google Analytics code uses gtag.js and the tracking code begins G-XXXXXXX then you are already on GAv4 and needn’t take any further action.

You can check this by looking at the source code for a page in your website. You should find the tracking code in the <head> of the document, relatively close to the top.

What’s the difference between UA and GAv4?

UA dates to the early 2000’s when Google acquired Urchin Analytics.  By 2013 this had been rebranded as Universal Analytics and quickly became the most widely used tracking mechanism available.  Traffic visible on a website and on an App were treated differently and appeared in discrete Views in the GA Dashboard.  In 2013 this wasn’t so much of an issue but by 2022 Google recognised that it was non-sensical to have traffic for the same organisation in two different locations.  As a result, GAv4 was developed and the decision to sunset UA made.  GAv4 also simplifies the number of reports available (UA having tens if not hundreds of different reports, some of limited value) and streamlines how activity is recorded.  Please note, this is a very simplified view of a much more complex situation.  For more in depth information see Google’s own Introduction to Google Analytics 4.

What do I need to do?

In your Google Analytics Dashboard, set up a new GAv4 property.  It is likely that Google will have done some of this for you already, but you will still need to confirm some of the settings.

Universal Analytics is going away is a useful article from Google on understanding the differences between UA and GAv4, as well as the steps needed to create / set up your new code.

You will then need to include the tracking code in your website.  This will be identical to the method you are already using for UA just the script or tag will look a little different.

What happens if I don’t set up and use a GAv4 code?

After 1st July 2023, the old UA code will cease to track visits and activity on your website.  That immensely useful stream of data on your visitors and their activity will disappear.  Your ability to track conversions, see popular pages and gauge the length of time each visitor stayed on the site will go.

The data tracked by the UA code should (according to Google) still be available for 6 months after July 1st, 2023.  Data can be exported during this time to preserve it since historical information is vital for comparing ongoing site performance.  After the 6 months have elapsed it is likely that your historical data will no longer be accessible.

Need help?

We can guide you through the process, watch over your shoulder (virtually) whilst you set up the new tag or, with your permission, set up and install a new GAv4 tag for you.

Page Speed Matters

website speed matters

There is more to web design than arranging content on the page.   Unfortunately, there are many web designers (and I use that phrase loosely), that rely upon tools such as WordPress or other web-builder platforms for every site they create.  Ask them to create a site from scratch in html, CSS and JavaScript and they wouldn’t have the faintest idea where to start.

Why does this matter?

Web-builder platforms are the “Swiss army knives” of web design. They come with a multitude of features and functions; of which many are rarely, if ever, used. However, because they are in place, the browser must download the resources associated with this feature even if it doesn’t get used in a site. Additional JavaScript files, extra CSS files etc all increase the number of requests the browser has to make to the server, slows down render time and ultimately delays the point at which the user can see and interact with a website.

Even in these days of super-fast broadband (for those lucky enough to have it), 4g mobile networks, wifi hotspots in almost every cafe and coffee shop, site speed is still a vital metric for any web designer.

If your site is identical in content to another site (unlikely I know) but the other site loads more quickly, it is almost a given they will appear above you in Google search results. No one wants to wait and that includes the search engines themselves!

AliExpress reduced load times by 36%…, helping to increase orders by 10.5% and conversion rates by 27%

Sites that load quickly tend to get more traffic, retain people on the site and, as in the case of Aliexpress above, do more business.  For every additional second your site takes to load you could be losing significant numbers of potential visitors to your site.

95 out of 100 on Google page speed testFollowing some adjustments to the QD Design site, we now score 95 on the Google Developers Page Speed Checker. Whilst no doubt we could improve upon this further, it puts us in the top few % for page loading speed.

Slower sites can be attributed to poor or outdated coding, bloated or un-required files being called by the browser, unoptimised images as well as whole host of factors associated with the server. Taking advantage of server side (GZIP) compression, browser caching or setting a character set for a page can all be done via the .htaccess file that sits in the root of the web server.

This is the sort of knowledge and expertise that only a true web developer will have. If you want / crave a fast loading site, then you need to speak with someone that really knows what they are doing behind the page and not just manipulating text and pictures in a drag and drop page builder.

QD Design consistently make fast loading html based sites that help businesses reach their audience as quickly as possible.  If your site is lacking that “va va voom”, then get in touch, we can analyse what is holding it back, and help you get off the brake pedal and onto the throttle!

Is your website mobile ready?

Are you Mobile Ready?

Mobile devices are changing the way we exist. Many people would be bereft without their mobile as a source of information, entertainment and as a means of communication.

So much so that mobile access to the Internet has overtaken and now far exceeds larger devices such as laptop and desktop computers.  In a recent study commissioned by Google, 69% of smartphone users said they turned to mobile search in a moment of need.

2 years ago, Google announced they would be prioritising sites in the search results that were mobile friendly over those that were not. This continues today.  If your web site is not mobile friendly, then you are potentially needlessly giving away postions in the search results.

So how do you know if your site is mobile friendly?

Simple.  Google have produce a tool that will tell you instantly if your site is mobile compatible.

search console tool, mobile friendly
Google Search Console, mobile friendly checker

Put your website URL into the search box, click Run Test and see for yourself if Google recognises your site as mobile friendly.  If it is, then you will see a page something like the one below.  If it is not then you will get a series of warning and advice on what you need to do to make your site mobile friendly.

QD Design site successfully passing the search console mobile friendly test
This is how your site should look…

“But”, I hear you yell, “Most, if not all, of my visitors are using desktop / laptop computers, so it doesn’t matter to me, does it”.   Wrong.   Google will still penalise your site if it isn’t mobile friendly even though no mobile users currently visit it.

Can you really afford to needlessly give away search engine position because your site isn’t compatible with mobile devices?

QD Design only design fully responsive mobile friendly web sites that ensure you are not penalised by Google or the other search engines. If your web site is in need of a “tune up”, let’s talk.