One of the most proactive ways to use JoomlaWatch to enhance the performance of your website is to keep track of your goals. JoomlaWatch’s Goals feature is ready to assist you in measuring your success on a daily basis, helping you to view the performance of goals such as:
- When a user submits a form
- When a user submits a specific variable to your form
- When a specific page on your web site is visited
As you’ll see, however, this is just a mere sampling of all the capabilities that JoomlaWatch’s Goals section can offer you in measuring your traffic.
But in order to use this feature well, you’ll have to not only know how it functions, but how you can customize each specification and even use certain specifications in tandem with each other to create compound goals. You can also create various checkpoints and targets on your site so that you can easily see when users are meeting your goals.
If that sounds a little complicated, just keep reading: you’ll see how simple using Goals can really be.
Introduction to the Goals Page
To get started, let’s go ahead and open up the Goals page. It will look something like this:
Of course, if you don’t know what’s going on, the Goals table might not make much sense. So let’s break down each individual section here.
First, on the left, under “Name,” you can see which specific goals have already been created in this table. On the table we’re providing, you can see that one of the goals relates to a submission form, while the other goals deal with specific pages being visited.
On the right, you’ll see these three columns:
Under “hits,” you see just how many times each goal has been met. Under “Enabled,” you can click that icon to enable/disable the goal – this allows you to deactivate a goal while still keeping the parameters of the goal itself saved.
The two icons in each row to the right are the “Edit” and “Delete” options, which, of course, allow you to edit and delete your goals. This means that your goal doesn’t have to be perfect the first time you create it – you can continue to modify it or even get rid of it as you move on and your goals change.
And what about creating new goals? That’s what we’ll mostly explain here, because there are a lot of variables and parameters you can use to create specific goals that are customized to your exact requirements.
Creating New Goals: An Overview
When you click “New Goal” above the chart you see in JoomlaWatch’s Goals Section, you’re taken to a page with a number of input fields:
If you’re not used to the idea of “URI conditions” or “GET variables,” you might be a little intimidated. But we’ll break down what each section means step-by-step so you can understand exactly what each variable does to create your customized goal.
On the top, you first see the variable “Name.” This is very easy, as you can come up with it yourself and it won’t affect the goal’s actual statistics. Simply title your goal so that you know what the goal is referring to when you see it later on.
The Uniform Resource Identifier might sound complicated, but it’s actually just an offshoot from the popular acronym URL.
A simpler way of putting it is: everything that comes after your main domain name. As you can see in the screenshot, you are encouraged to enter in a phrase like /projects* as a URI parameter.
What would this do? Well, in the example of /projects*, this goal would then track how many people are visiting your /projects section. The asterisk stands for anything that might come after /projects so that every possibility is included and no visits are left out of your goal.
Below the URI condition, you see a checkbox for the “inverse.” In fact, you’ll see this option for many of the individual parameters in JoomlaWatch’s Goals. Here’s what it looks like:
Clicking the “URI inversed condition” box reverses the goal itself. Instead of the goal being set to people who visit /projects*, if you check the “inversed condition” box, then your goal would apply to all but /projects visits. This is a good way use your goals to exclude certain parts of your site.
Important note: each of the inversed conditions work this way, essentially making your goal the opposite of what it would be if you left it unchecked.
A good way to think of it is this: if you leaved the inversed condition box unchecked, then you are including that condition in your goal. If you’re checking the box, then you’re excluding that condition from the goal.
If you want to narrow down your URI condition to a specific type of page, then you can use the Title Condition to do that for you. By entering in both a URI condition and a Title Condition, your goal will be specific to only the pages that match both conditions. An example of a good type of input here would be “*freelance programmers*” with, again, the asterisks indicating that the titles might include other words.
If you use the inverse for title but not for URI, then you are excluding a certain title from your goals.
Enter in the specific username of someone you want to track here and you can create a goal that does exactly that. The inverse means you’ll be excluding a user from the goal tracker.
You can manually enter in IP address information that you want to track here, with a high degree of customization available to you.
As you can see, you can use both asterisk and question mark symbols here, so let’s make a quick note of what each of these symbols do.
As mentioned, asterisks will include anything, just like when you search for a file type on your computer and don’t want to narrow your choices down.
The question mark symbol also removes limitations but also means that only one digit can replace it. For example, if you enter in “27?” then the question mark can only be another number, not another two numbers.
Use this condition (and its inverse) to monitor specific IP types.
Also, an important thing to mention here is that to mention here is that we can combine all of these conditions together, such as creating a goal of someone who came from Google and visited a specific page. So if you want to track a user with a specific IP address and whether or not they visit your /downloads section, you can do that by using both conditions.
This condition is fairly self-explanatory – you can monitor from which countries your visitors are coming. What’s important to mention here is that you’ll need the two-letter country code of your country.
How do you find this? Simply visit Wikipedia here for an updated list, find the country you’re looking for, and use that two-letter code.
Again, you can use the inverse of this condition to exclude a certain country.
Advanced Variables and Conditions
This is where many users get tripped up, but as you’ll learn, the “advanced” variables and conditions can be easy to use if you know what you’re looking for. Here’s what you need to know about this section of the goals page.
Essentially, this section of the Goals page deals with the specific actions your user takes, like filling in a form or entering in a search query (which is another type of form).
Let’s explore each part of the advanced section individually.
The GET variable is an HTTP variable that you’ll have to actively find on your site in order to use it in one of your goals.
This might be very obvious to the common user, but these variables are the ones you’ll see after a question mark in your HTTP URL – but before an equation symbol.
For example, let’s take the URL of the New Goals site itself:
As you can see, after “index.php” there is a question mark. The various GET variables would include “option,” “task,” and “action,” which come before the equation symbols.
Obviously, you don’t necessarily want to use each of these GET variables in establishing your goal here.
Keep in mind that the GET variable will often come with another parameter in order to ensure that a specific action has been taken. In other words, you’ll also want to enter in your POST variables, which we’ll detail in the coming sections.
If the GET variable comes before the equation sign, then the GET condition is what comes after the equal sign.
In the example screenshot used above, the phrase “action=insert” would mean that action is your GET variable and insert is the GET condition. Using both of these will help you narrow down the focus of your goal, so make sure that you enter in your full information here when entering a new goal.
Essentially, the GET condition is the content of the GET variable. Using this as a goal will help you understand how many times a PHP page was referenced.
GET Inverse Condition
As in the cases above, the inverse condition will then exclude the parameters you just set rather than include them.
The concept of POST variables is essentially the same of that was in the case of GET. But in this case, rather than establishing a specific HTTP on the address bar, the information is included with values submitted through forms.
This can make things a little tricker, as the input values of forms aren’t easy to find.
Let’s use a search submission as an example. In the screenshot below, we highlighted the “Search” bar on the actual site itself. Observe:
Selecting “view source,” we were able to view the input type and input name of the form. The input name is the one we’re interested in, and luckily, the name for this one is simple: “search.”
From there, we can input our data:
That’s our POST var.
If you’re wondering what comes next, it’s the POST condition.
If we used our search form in the previous example and left the POST condition empty, then it would track a goal every time that the search bar was used. If this is what you want, you can stop there and leave POST condition blank.
However, if you want to specify the searches you want to track, you’ll then enter in a POST condition – this condition should be the search keyword you want to track.
For example, if you want to track who’s searching for “php,” you’d enter that:
The POST inverse condition is similar – you can exclude a specific type of post through this goal. If you used the inverse in the example above, then you’d be excluding the “php” keyword from your goals – you’d be tracking all of the searches for the goal except for “php.”
Action: What Happens Next In Your Goal
After you’ve established exactly what you want to happen with your goal (and remember, keep things blank if you simply don’t want them to be used), you can then change what happens to your visitor when they meet a goal. Here’s what this section looks like:
Leave this blank and nothing will happen except your goal will be tracked. But as you see, you have two other options as well.
Blocking a specific user or type of user can happen if you set this field to “1.” For example, you might set the other parameters of your goal to include everyone who arrives to your site from a famous spam site. You can then not only track how many people do this by setting a goal, but you can turn this block on and ensure they don’t come to your site.
Redirect to URL
Additionally, you can have someone be redirected to a type of website. If you’ve set a condition of a specific IP address earlier on, you can redirect all of those visitors to another site (like www.google.com) to give them the hint that you don’t want them visiting your site.
As you can see, the options are virtually unlimited when it comes to using JoomlaWatch’s Goals feature. Don’t be afraid to experiment, tweak, and edit your goals to further learn how it works and how it can best work for you.