Small Things Which Matter Much

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Sometimes it’s the little things in life which make the biggest differences. And in analytics, as in life; there are any number of little browser add-ons and content system plugins around, and whilst they may be small they can pack a big punch. Plundering these vast and valuable pre-existing resources will save you time, make you more productive and help you avoid re-inventing the wheel. Here’s just a few of the little things that help our marketing efforts – we hope they can make a difference to you, too!

Google Tag Assistant

A lightweight extension for the Chrome browser, this little gem gives you a quick and easy way to see whether your tags for Google Analytics, Tag Manager, AdWords and some others from the Google fold are correctly installed and working on your site… or, for that matter, on any site. Are the tags installed? Are they firing off as they should? Have you made a little mistake with your tag’s installation that isn’t causing a problem now but might down the road? Google Tag Assistant will tell you all. You can even have the extension ‘record’ for subsequent analysis all the tags that fire across a series of pages - great for all sorts, such as debugging the analytics data flows over a multi-page ecommerce transaction.

Install Tag Assistant from the Chrome store

An example Google Tag Assistant report:

Example of Google Tag Assistant

WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast

A quarter of the top million sites on the web are built with WordPress, according to builtwith.com, and one of the great things about the WordPress platform is the huge ecosystem of plugins to help you do just about anything yourself. Keeping on top of SEO is one of those tasks that can always do with a bit of help, which is where Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin comes in, analysing your pages and recommending SEO actions, helping you to optimise your page titles and all the metadata behind your pages, building your site’s XML sitemap and much more.

Google Tag Manager

OK, so we’re cheating a little and we hear you saying “But Google Tag Manager is quite a big thing, not a little thing!”. But actually, installing Google Tag Manager (‘GTM’ to its friends) is just as easy as installing a basic Google Analytics tag on your website, and using GTM to fire your Google Analytics tag is a very quick click-button exercise. A small thing now can mean a big deal later, as you’ll find that as your tracking needs grow and change you’ll be glad that you have the versatility and agility that GTM or a similar tag management system provides. 

dataSlayer

So, you’ve started with GTM and begun making use of the Data Layer. Now all you need to do is debug your setup and, as useful as Google Tag Assistant is, it just isn’t quite doing it for you. Step in dataSlayer, one of this author’s most frequently used Chrome extensions. Adding a panel to your Chrome Developer Console window, the extension shows a log of what is happening in your Data Layer and with popularly associated tags such as Google Analytics, Floodlight and Adobe Analytics. The dataSlayer extension is available in the Chrome store.

Taking a peek behind the scenes at the Google Apps for Work homepage with dataSlayer:

Example of dataSlayer interface

What matters much to you?

We bet that you also have lots of little things up your sleeve that are punching above their weight, whether for your browser, your WordPress installation, or maybe something else. We’d love you to share them in the comments below.