Office Space

Well, after 3 years of working from my home office, I’ve decided to lease office space. With the impending birth of my first born child, and our decision for my wife to be a stay-at-home Mom, continuing to work from home would likely make me far less productive than I have been. Additionally, I have a friend that also is looking for office space that will use an office in the suite I lease and pay some reimbursement to me to offset the cost. This friend is also a salesman who may be able to work for me on a commissioned basis to help expand Sensible Software and open new doors.

Overall, I’m very excited about this move, and I’ve been spending a decent amount of time in the past 2-3 weeks looking at office suites, managing related things(insurance, internet connection, computer/infrastructure changes, etc.). If all goes well, I should be entering into a lease shortly, which should start May 1st– with move-in commencing soon thereafter.

Download tracking revisited

After my recent post about Google Analytics not tracking downloads accurately, I had decided to go back to counting download using a weblog parsing method. After some consideration, and the suggestion of a colleague who tracks downloads using Google Analytics himself, I’ve decided not to use that method.

The reasoning behind it, is Goal tracking in Google Analytics lets me see what traffic sources(sites and keywords) are converting best. I lose this very important marketing feature if I use the web log tracking method. Being able to track my marketing methods for Overseer Network Monitor and Employee Scheduling Pro is far more important than seeking 100% accuracy for this number.

As an alternative, I’m using a download redirect option. Now on my software websites, a user will go to the ‘download’ page to view the links to download, and click the appropriate link to download the file. This takes them to a “your download will start now” page, at which point it uses a meta http-refresh to start the download. This should work with GA better to track the downloads. I have a funnel setup to require the end user to go to the download page before the downloading page, and set a noindex meta tag on the downloading page to try to prevent Google traffic being sent directly to this page.

Google Analytics Tracking of Downloads DOES NOT WORK RELIABLY

About a month ago I switched to using Google Analytics. I was previously using Urchin for web analytics, and had accepted that it simply didn’t work for tracking goals, etc.(I reported this to Urchin and they refused to acknowledge it). When I switched to Google Analytics, I setup goals for tracking downloads of my Network and System Monitoring Software. This seemed to work, and replaced my weblog analysis that counted the downloads for conversion tracking.

This past Friday, I launched my Employee Scheduling Software and setup goal/download tracking the same exact way. I downloaded it a few times, and it never showed up in Google Analytics as a conversion– or as content. I analyzed what could be wrong, and found that everything was setup perfectly.

So, being a software developer, I loaded my download page up in Chrome and turned on the Javascript console. I found that when clicking the download links, it would come up with an “undefined” error, yet still allow the download to take place. With some experimentation, I found that the tracking code always fails when linking to a binary/downloadable file, but works for linking to pages… Of course, that doesn’t work for me, as I need to track downloading of files… I couldn’t find any solutions online, and I tried multiple different ways to track the downloads with GA… It appears to be browser specific(with Chrome), which is why the problem was masked with Overseer downloads… But this ┬ájust makes it clear to me that I can’t trust Google’s numbers…

So, it looks like I’ll be switching back to tracking downloads from my logs… The plus side of this, is I can go back historically and won’t be limited by GA’s lack of data, lack of Javascript support on some browsers, etc… The problem is I won’t be able to see ‘goals’ inside GA’s interface… I suppose there’s worse things.