12 easy tools, add-ons, and resources to troubleshoot your web analytics implementation

- June 16, 2011

A clean, proper, and accurate web analytics implementation equals a happy marketer, analyst and website owner.

If you’ve ever worked with Google Analytics, Omniture SiteCatalyst, WebTrends, Coremetrics, ClickTracks or IBM’s web analytics solutions, you probably realized at some point that implementing web analytics is much more than copying and pasting one snippet of JavaScript on all of your website pages. There are eProps, sVars, events, variables, customizations, conditions, dynamic values, and all kinds of mayhem that goes along with a healthy and robust web analytics implementation.

Before you send your next Email to your web developer or IT team asking for something to be repaired with your analytics platform, you can likely identify potential problems very easily, so that you can point your hard working tech team in the right direction. And, if you are in the IT team, you can use the following list of tools to troubleshoot an analytics implementation before you do any work.

So, have a gander at the following list of tools, and go install them today. They will definitely help identify errors, issues, bugs, missing snippets, and many other things to allow you to have the cleanest, most successful web analytics implementation possible!

1. HTTP Fox
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Firefox
Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/httpfox/

HTTP Fox is a bare essential for any web developer. This browser add on “...monitors and analyzes all incoming and outgoing HTTP traffic between the browser and the web servers.

2. Firebug
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Firefox (Full Version); Any browser (Lite Version)
Link (Full): https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firebug/
Link (Lite): http://getfirebug.com/firebuglite

Firebug allows you to monitor, edit, and debug JavaScript (web analytics snippets), HTML, and CSS on any webpage.

Good for: Any web analytics platform (and other programs)
Supported Browsers: Firefox
Link: http://webanalyticssolutionprofiler.com/

The Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP) is a great web analytics specific Firefox add-on, providing data on any tool that sets cookies or sends server requests. It also measures conversion tracking snippets, behavioral targeting tools and voice-of-customer platforms.

4. Charles
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Internet Explorer and Firefox
Link: http://www.charlesproxy.com/download/

Charles is a web debugging proxy application for any operating system using Internet Explorer or Firefox.

5. Live HTTP Headers
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Firefox
Link: http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/installation.html

Live HTTP headers monitors and provides additional information on requests to and from web servers.

6. Fiddler
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Internet Explorer
Link: http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler2/

Fiddler logs and records all HTTP traffic between your Internet Explorer browser and the internet.

7. Google Analytics Tracking Code Debugger
Good for: Google Analytics
Supported Browsers: Chrome
Link: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/jnkmfdileelhofjcijamephohjechhna

This Chrome-only plug-in alerts you when a Google Analytics tracking code snippet is generating errors or is not functioning properly.

8. Omniture SiteCatalyst JavaScript Debugger
Good for: Omniture SiteCatalyst
Supported Browsers: Any browser
Link: http://www.webanalyticscentral.com/2009/12/09/how-to-set-up-the-omniture-debugger/

This resource from the Web Analytics Central blog shows you how to use the Omniture SiteCatalyst JavaScript debugger, as well as other tips and tricks for Site Catalyst users.

9. WebTrends Troubleshooting Guide
Good for: WebTrends
Supported Browsers: Any browser
Link: http://product.webtrends.com/WRC/7.1/Documents/Troubleshooting.pdf

This great troubleshooting guide from WebTrends will help you through any WebTrends-specific issue that you are experiencing.

10. Yahoo Web Analytics Troubleshooting
Good for: Yahoo Web Analytics (IndexTools)
Supported Browsers: Any browser
Link: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/ywa/troubleshooting/

Users of Yahoo Web Analytics (formerly IndexTools) will love this online troubleshooting guide, filled with great technical tips and tricks.

11. Built-in Developer Tools
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Chrome
Link: http://code.google.com/chrome/devtools/docs/overview.html

Google Chrome’s browser comes built-in with developer tools that analyze server requests and detects any page-level bugs, issues, or errors.

12. Built-in Activity Window
Good for: Any web analytics platform
Supported Browsers: Safari
Link: http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html

The Safari browser has a built-in activity measurement window, where you can see activity and potential errors in real-time.

Don’t forget – any browser will allow you to view a page’s code source, which in some cases, is the best overall tool to use!

What tools did we omit? Which guides do you use? What techniques do you employ? Please leave a comment and tell us about it!

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