Website migration guide: a Google Analytics & Tag Manager checklist

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Emma Barnes

Hopping on the bandwagon started by Stephen Kenwright’s blog post on website migration for SEO. From that you know that if a site migration is done carelessly, there is the potential to lose traffic and trust. This article is about making sure you don’t lose or pollute your data along the way.

What are the risks of incorrectly migrating analytics?

BS Flows Upwards Optimise or Die
Image from Optimise or Die on Slideshare

The most fundamental risk is data not being correct. If this is the case, then reports are not accurate and decisions are made based on incorrect information – and are therefore probably the wrong decisions to make. You don’t want to cause a nuclear blast because you didn’t consider migrating your Google Analytics data, now do you?

Some of the more likely things that might happen are:

  • Sessions do not record for newly launched pages
  • The number of self referrals increases
  • Conversion rates drop to zero
  • Events track incorrectly
  • Remarketing tags do not get fired
  • Content Groupings do not pull in correct data
  • Traffic is incorrectly filtered

OK, it might not lead to a nuclear winter but it’s worth not running the risk.

Google Analytics site migration checklist

Below is your checklist. Feel free to copy/paste into an Excel Doc and add two columns: “responsibility” and “done?”.

  • Ensure Google Analytics/Tag Manager code is placed on all pages of the new website
    • Include sub/cross domain tracking as required
    • Include eCommerce tracking as required
  • Review Event Tracking
    • Which old events need migrating?
    • Which events need changing?
    • Which new events need adding?
    • Keep the naming convention as consistent as can be
    • Update event triggers on site as required
    • Update event triggers and tags on Google Tag Manager as required
  • Review and update goals
    • Goal URLs may need updating
    • Goals funnels may need updating
    • Goal events may need updating
  • Disable old goals
  • Review and update filters
    • URL inclusion/exclusion filters may need updating
    • Re-write filters may not apply, or need changing
  • Review and update content groupings
  • Review any triggers in Tag Manager
    • Triggers may relate to changed URLs, DOM elements or events
  • Check tags in Tag Manager are associated with the correct triggers
  • Review any variables in Tag Manager are updated as required
  • Review any code for custom variables

And now you’re ready to go!

And that’s pretty much it. If I’ve missed any, please message me and I’ll add it to the list.

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