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I help creative entrepreneurs and service providers create beautiful and effective strategic brands, websites, and email marketing programs.
owner + designer
I'm Tammy Hooker
Ask any solopreneur or small business owner if they have analytics on their website, and they’ll probably say yes. Ask them how often they check their data. They’ll probably answer never. And if you dig a little deeper, you’ll most likely discover why they don’t look at it.
They’re using Google Analytics—a program they might describe with words like confusing, mindboggling, and overwhelming.
So, here’s my question for you. If you have Google Analytics but aren’t looking at it or can’t understand it, what’s the point of having it at all?
Wouldn’t it be better to have something you can actually use and understand?
Google Analytics became a mega-hit in part because it’s free to install and use. Which is huge when you’re on a tight budget, like most creative entrepreneurs and small businesses are. But from where I sit, this is just the first of several reasons why I don’t recommend it.
Free can be great. But in the case of Google Analytics, free is not really free. You might not be forking over cash to use their software, but you’re still paying for it through the data you collect – your own data and the data of your customers. And in today’s privacy-focused world, that’s not ok, especially when you don’t need 90% of the data being collected.
Google Analytics tracks around 300 metrics. Yes, you read that right – 300 metrics. That’s like using a backhoe to dig in a kid’s sandbox. It’s overkill.
As a solopreneur or small business, you’ll never touch most of these metrics. Not unless you:
So for most, those 300 metrics simply don’t apply to you and your business.
Instead, you need software that collects and shows you a fraction of this data. Data relevant to your website’s performance and how it impacts the success of your business.
To access and interpret the 300 metrics Google Analytics collects, you have over 100 menu items to choose from to create reports to present all this data. So you’d better know which metrics you want to analyze, where to find them, and how to build a report to give the information you can act on. A task that, in itself, could be a full-time job. Enter the mind boggle and why most small business owners don’t bother looking at their analytics reports. Because you might as well be looking at hieroglyphs.
What you really need is a simple, easy-to-read report that uses only the most essential data to help you assess how your website and business are performing.
Sadly, too many creative entrepreneurs and small businesses skip this important page on their website, which puts you at risk of legal action.
Yes, Google offers steps to help you create this, but it’s cumbersome and filled with tons of technical language that most people don’t understand. So there’s a chance you’ll leave something out and technically void your terms of service.
The number of privacy regulations in effect around the globe is increasing. It started with the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). And it now includes the U.K’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and dozens of other data privacy laws from countries around the globe. And there’s even more on the horizon. As the owner of your business’ website, it’s your job to ensure that your small business website complies with these regulations.
Out-of-the-box, Google Analytics is not compliant. You yourself need to know where to go within the settings to make it compliant. And then there are still some aspects of the software that you have no control over and therefore can’t correct to be compliant.
That’s where Google’s legal issues start.
As it currently stands, Google Analytics has been ruled illegal in at least six countries and counting (Austria, France, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and other European data authorities) and found in violation of privacy cases in 40 U.S. states. In the U.S. cases alone, Google has paid over $390 million in fines.
Here’s the kicker. While Google is paying the fines for most of these violates right now. The truth is your website, and your business, might also become a target, exposing you to the possibility of legal action and potentially expensive fines.
What if your business isn’t located in the European Union?
Sorry, but GDPR still applies to you even if you’re a U.S.-based company. While you may not have website visitors or make sales directly to someone in an E.U. country, if someone from the U.S. accesses your website from an E.U. country, then GDPR applies to them while they are in that country. So if I visit your website while I’m in the United States, GDPR doesn’t apply, but CCPA might. If I go on vacation to France and visit your website while accessing the internet from France, then GDPR is in effect.
While GDPR may be a European Union regulation, it has worldwide implications. Same with all the other regulations. So when it comes to complying with these laws, you need analytics software that collects minimal, legally allowed data in line with current regulations. Data that focuses on only the essentials and presents it in an easy-to-understand report so you can understand how your website is doing.
Saying no to Google Analytics doesn’t mean saying no to collecting any data at all. It means being strategic about what data you DO collect. Basically, it means following the less is more adage and only collecting what you need.
Instead, invest in privacy-first analytics software. There are many Google Analytics alternatives available, and a quick web search can vouch for that.
From day one, both are fully compliant with numerous data protection regulations. They don’t collect or store any personal data. And what data they do collect is presented in simple, easy-to-understand reports.
Yes, they require a small monthly fee. But that’s the trade-off compared to Google Analytics. A small monthly fee = a privacy-focused and compliant analytics service that you can actually understand and use.
And in my book, that’s a major win for both you and your customers.
let's do this!
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