What's the point of tracking web-site metrics if you don't have some reason for tracking them? It's like jumping on the interstate in your super-efficient car with no particular destination in mind. You've got the vehicle to get somewhere, and the road to follow—and you're not doing this for the joy of travel. But without a destination, how will you know if you're headed in the right direction?
That's where goals come in. They're the "where you're going" of collecting user data. Why do you want to know how many users dropped off your e-commerce web site during the checkout process or how many people signed up for your newsletter? Because knowing will help you decide if you've reached your goal of providing an easy, effective way for users to accomplish whatever goal it is they (and you) have in mind.
Google Analytics actually has a capability that enables you to decide where you want to go and then gather data to show how fast you're going, how far you've gone, and whether you're getting there at all. You can add goals to web-site profiles so you can track your progress toward those goals.
Before we get any further into the specifics of Google Analytics' goal capabilities, let's run through some of the management-speak you'll encounter in this chapter. The keywords are objectives, goals, and specifics.
Objectives: An objective is your big picture, or what you want the big picture to look like when you're finished. An objective for a company that imports and ...