In today’s day and age, your law firm website should be a core part of your marketing strategy. Just about any form of online marketing, from PPC advertising, to SEO, to social media, to email newsletters will likely involve directing traffic to your website. But how will you ever know which of these marketing sources are working and which ones are not? That’s why monitoring your web traffic is extremely important. In this post, we’ll explain how you can monitor law firm website traffic to know exactly where your web visitors come from by using UTM links and Google Analytics.
Step 1: Install Google Analytics on Your Website
Google Analytics is a no brainer for any website. It’s free to use and extremely powerful.
If you already have a Google account, you don’t even have to register. Just get started by visiting the Google Analytics homepage and login with your existing Google account.
If you don’t have a Google account yet, you can set one up for free to gain access to Google Analytics.
Installing the Tracking Snippet
Once inside Google Analytics, you’ll need to copy a tracking snippet and paste it into your website’s code. This part gets a little technical, but we wrote up another blog post which explains how to do it in more detail.
If you can’t figure it out yourself, your website provider should be able to do it for you or at least provide more detailed instructions.
Using Google Analytics
Once you get your tracking snippet installed, Google Analytics will instantly start capturing data.
Right out of the box, you’ll be able to see a lot of useful information:
- how many website visits you are getting each day
- which pages people are viewing the most
- how long they stay on your website
- generally where the visitors are coming from (e.g. from a search engine, referral from another website, or by typing in your URL directly)
This data is extremely valuable, but you can do a whole lot more by using UTM links in your marketing materials, which is what we’ll cover next.
Step 2: Set Up UTM Links for All Your Marketing Channels
Want to figure out how many people visited your website after reading your quarterly newsletter? Want to know if people are actually clicking the links you send in your drip marketing? Is anybody reading those blog posts that you share on Twitter every week?
These are the types of questions you can answer by using UTM links. And don’t worry, they are incredibly easy to create and utilize, even for non-technical people.
What is a UTM link?
UTM links are really just normal website links, but with some special bits of code at the end which Google Analytics can use for tracking purposes.
For example, a UTM link might look like this (the UTM parameters are in bold):
As you can see, this URL has a bunch of additional text added to the end. The extra text, which contains the UTM parameters, is simply what Google Analytics uses to track the source of any web visitor which clicked this link.
However, the actual web page that this link points to would still be “www.yourlawfirm.com/article” and the web page would look exactly the same as it would if you had just clicked the regular link instead. In other words, your web visitors won’t notice a difference.
Types of UTM parameters
There are 5 total UTM parameters you can use, but the three most common UTM parameters are…
- utm_source: Google recommends using the name of the referring website or the location of the link for the “source” parameter
- Examples: facebook, twitter, newsletter, etc.
- In the example UTM link above, the source indicates that this traffic is from Facebook because we input “utm_source=facebook” as one of the parameters
- utm_medium: the “medium” can be thought of as a broader channel designation or a way to group multiple related sources together
- Examples: social_media, email, ppc_ads, etc.
- In the example UTM link above, the medium could be used to help us see how much traffic we get from all of our social channels combined (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) – we would just use “utm_medium=social” (i.e. social media) for every UTM link shared on any of these social websites
- utm_campaign: the “campaign” parameter is primarily for paid marketing channels so that you can analyze all your traffic from a specific online advertising campaign (you don’t have to use it if this doesn’t apply to you)
- Examples: may2018, july_sale, etc.
- In the UTM link above, we are telling Google that this link is for our May 2018 Facebook advertising campaign because there is a parameter of “utm_campaign=may2018” – we’ll be able to easily track how much web traffic this ad campaign generated
How to create your own UTM links
The easiest way to make your own UTM links is with the Google URL builder tool, which will automatically generate links in the correct format.
It’s important to note that the text after the “=” in the UTM parameter doesn’t really mean anything to Google. It’s just your own naming convention to help you keep track of your marketing channels.
You can define your own parameters and call them whatever you want, as long as you use the correct URL structure with the “&” and “=” signs in the right places. The Google URL builder will take care of this for you.
Once you set up a UTM link and somebody clicks it, Google Analytics will automatically start tracking data for you. It’s that easy. You’ll be able to see exactly how many web visitors come from that same link in the future!
A hypothetical example…
To make it completely clear, let’s use a hypothetical example.
You are going to send out your May 2018 email newsletter. In that newsletter, you will include a link to your latest blog post. You want to keep track of how many people visit your blog from the newsletter by using a UTM link.
You go to the Google URL builder and input your blog post URL, just like it is shown below:
This will be sent out in an email newsletter, so you input a source parameter of “newsletter” like so:
For the medium, you’ll want to input “email” because this link is being sent out via email (you would want all other links you send out via email to use this same medium as well):
This isn’t a paid marketing campaign, but you can still use the campaign name attribute to keep track of specifically which email newsletter sent this link out. Input “may2018” as shown below:
That’s how easy it is! Google will then output your finalized URL, which you can copy/paste and insert into your newsletter:
Side note: you can shorten the URL too if you want, which is not necessary but recommended to make the link look prettier. Just click the “Convert URL to Short Link” button and use that version instead.
Step 3: Track Your Links in Google Analytics
Now that you’ve created some UTM links, you can track exactly how much website traffic each link generates over time by using your Google Analytics dashboard.
Google will have all the data tracked automatically, so you can just navigate to your Google Analytics account and you will find your UTM campaigns under the “Acquisition” tab where it says “All Campaigns”:
That’s how easy it is to get detailed analytics data about how people are getting to your law firm website!
Lawyers tend to shy away from the nitty gritty details of marketing sometimes. But Google provides some incredibly easy to use tools to make data-driven marketing possible for even the least tech-savvy people.
Since a law firm website is such an important piece of the overall marketing puzzle, it’s really important to understand where your web traffic is coming from, and how effective your marketing efforts are at generating web traffic.
By setting up UTM links and using them in all your different marketing materials, from social media posts, to newsletters, to PPC advertisements, you’ll get a much clearer understanding of what is actually driving business to your firm and what’s not.
And that’s why even the least tech savvy lawyers out there should plan to monitor law firm website traffic.