What Is Lurking Below Your Website Surface?

What Is Lurking Below Your Website Surface?

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Date Published:
Friday, October 4, 2019

“Should the Color be Red or Green?” “Is this content resonating with my customers?” Oftentimes, these are the types of questions we ask ourselves when optimizing websites. We rightfully focus on the “surface” of our website, including visual aspects, content, navigation, etc. However, we forget to look at the “underwater” aspect of the site - parts that may not be seen by customers but can still be detrimental to your business. The “underwater” can be numerous things, but we will specifically be touching on “Tracking Codes”.

What Do You Mean by Tracking Codes? Tracking codes can be placed on your site for many things but the main reason is to track aspects of your website or advertising. Some common codes may include:

  • Google Analytics - See how people are getting to your website and what they are doing once on the site.
  • Google Conversion Tracking - Track conversions and performance from Google Ads campaigns.
  • Facebook Pixels - Track performance from Facebook.

Another type of code that we would like to point out is “Container Tags”. These tags (such as Google Tag Manager) are placed on your entire site once, allowing the addition of multiple “tracking codes” inside each container. Reading the above information, you may say “Wait, we do want all of these codes so we can track our online presence!”. You are correct. Unfortunately, as vendors change, codes are often added but not removed. This can be particularly problematic with Container Tags, as each vendor may have their own container and we have seen instances with 7 different containers on a website at one time.

Why This Can Be a Problem

Two main reasons why too many codes is a problem:

  • Site Speed/Compatibility: Many codes are “asynchronous”, meaning they load at the same time and do not block other codes. However, as you add more codes to be loaded your site speed can be negatively impacted.  Certain codes may also cause compatibility issues with your site. As more codes are present, the chance of compatibility issues goes up and the harder it becomes to diagnose them.
  • Data Leakage: When you end a relationship with an employee (even if amicably), do you still give them access to your financial information or marketing strategies? No! Your website can give insight into many aspects of your business, don’t let vendors (or former employees) continue to access this information when a relationship has ended.

What Can I Do? There are a few steps you can take to start managing your tracking codes:

  • Determine what codes are currently on your site: You can use the tools listed below to view some of the different types of codes that are currently on your site:
  • ~Ghostery - https://www.ghostery.com/
  • ~Google Tag Assistant - https://get.google.com/tagassistant/
  • Track down who “owns” each code: Once you determine what is on your site, make a list of the codes and reach out to vendors or internal teams to verify the codes on the site are still needed. Remove any code on the site that cannot be accounted for or are not needed.
  • Repeat this bi-yearly or yearly: As digital is always evolving, make these “code checks” a regular occurrence to more easily stay in control of the codes on your website.

While this is not a particularly difficult process, the first time you go through your website codes can be time-consuming. If you have any questions or would like The Moran Group to audit your website (both for visual or codes) feel free to contact us today!

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