Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Coping with Complexity

This month, I'd like to use Newfangled's new Website Management System as an example to examine the three areas I mentioned above, particularly focusing on advanced website measurement enabled by integrating with the Google Analytics API. I'll also show a bit of what's new in our latest release, as well as a preview of the upcoming project management tools within the system. Each aspect—content management, measurement, and project management—is critical to coping with the complexity of managing a website.


Christopher Butler | September 2, 2009 10:44 AM
@Peter Bryant, Thanks, the last few have been pretty dense. I'm intending to do a lighter one at some point...

@Sean, Good eye! Yes, that was a big feature for us. As we were working with Nolan to put together these reports, determining some layout improvements was a big priority, as we were limiting the actual real estate for each report significantly in comparison to Google Analtyics.

For those readers that didn't notice this aspect of the reports (it was shown in the second image on the second page), here's a detail:

Sean | September 1, 2009 7:26 PM
I like how you are consolidating multiple referrers from the same domain by indenting the subpages. I wish Google did that!
Nolan | September 1, 2009 12:04 PM

Chris is spot-on with his description of what our internal tracking tools add to the product and how they operate. When I was developing the new dashboard and integrating the wealth of data that Google provides, it was a challenging endeavor to mix and match it with our own, internal store of data. As Chris stated, Google Analytics is technically capable of tracking individual users' behaviors, but their terms of service prohibit adding any personally identifiable information to a user's Google tracking session.

We've pulled as much data as we could from Google Analytics and supplemented (and surpassed, in some instances) it to provide a lot of insight to not only how the website is performing across all users, but also to narrow in on how specific users use the website.

Christopher Butler | September 1, 2009 11:54 AM

I can see how that point may have needed a bit more clarification. As I mentioned earlier in the newsletter, we are pulling in data from the Google Analytics API and merging it with data that we gather from custom tools within our CMS. Specifically, they are tracking tools that can follow sessions starting from any specified source. We've built individual session trackers for traffic coming in from aliases, newsletters and Google traffic, though they could be amended for pretty much any specific entry point. Once a session is tracked, it is assigned a numeric ID, which remains the session's identification until that user fills out a form on our site. Once that happens, the form data (name, email, etc.) is matched to the numeric ID. Now that I have a name and contact information for the session, I have some very valuable data about my new lead- what pages they viewed, how long they spent on them, etc. Google Analytics does not allow data tracking to specific user information, so it has some limitations in terms of lead management. Aside from looking at this data in terms of a specific person's behavior, it's also helpful to consider user trends- what pages are most viewed from different points of entry, how much time in a session from those entry points, etc.

Now, taking these two sources of data and creating a dashboard around them already exceeds what a third-party script might be able to do, simply by virtue of the custom tracking data. But, having the same company that creates your website also provide these new measurement tools and guidance on how to use and grow them is a unique opportunity. At any point, we could add in custom reports to any individual client's dashboard with ease. This is the main difference I was trying to point out.

Thanks for reading,

Peter Bryant | September 1, 2009 11:53 AM
I am consistently amazed at how much info you pack into these articles!
Christopher Butler | September 1, 2009 11:45 AM

I agree! Google Analytics is incredible, and getting it for free- unreal.

Richard | September 1, 2009 11:33 AM
You mentioned that third-party applications won't be able to provide the detail of reports that you're pulling in to your system, but if you're using the API, can't they do that too? Maybe I missed the point?
russ | September 1, 2009 11:29 AM
I am amazed at the unreal information you can obtain from google analytics. I place that javascript code on all my sites.

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