The following is a basic Google Analytics configuration checklist for when you start using the platform (or when there have been changes on your site and you want to make sure everything is setup and working properly).
1. Google Analytics Tracking Code
What version of the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) is currently being used if any and where is it placed? Is data currently being populated in the account? Is the GATC on all pages of your website (including 404 pages, footer pages such as disclaimer, terms of service, or other similar pages, etc).
2. Sub-Domain and/or Cross-Domain Tracking
Do you have multiple sub-domains? Do you have access to change the source code for the pages on all sub-domains and are all webmasters on board with the change? If not, realize that Google Analytics can only track the sub-domains that include the GATC. Do you have multiple domains that you want to track? Realize that the links between them will need to be set-up correctly. If in the future you wish to add any additional sub-domains or domains, make sure that they are properly set up as well.
3. Goal Configuration
You can have a maximum of twenty goals, sorted into four sets of five goals each. While setting up goals, you can also setup funnels. Goal funnels can help you visualize the path that a visitor took to completing the goal. They can also help you see from what part of the funnel process visitors are exiting and if they are leaving the site entirely or navigating to a different page.
4. E-Commerce Configuration
If you have an e-commerce site, you will want to make sure your e-commerce code is tracking correctly. It should be noted that the e-commerce GATC replaces the standard GATC.
5. Google AdWords Linking
If you currently use Google AdWords, linking your account with a Google Analytics account can allow you to better understand your data.
6. Google Webmaster Tools Syncing
If you are currently use Google Webmaster Tools, syncing your account with Google Analytics can reveal a wealth of knowledge about your website in the easily manipulated Google Analytics interface.
7. Event Tracking
Coding your site to track specific events (such as a PDF download) can help you better understand how visitors interact with your site. Additionally, events can be set up as goals. This allows you to set up a funnel for an event.
8. Social Tracking
Google Analytics offers social tracking reports so you can better understand how social media impacts your website.
9. Site Search Configuration
If you have onsite search setup, Google Analytics can help capture what your visitors are searching for. Consider looking to this report for navigation change or new pages about topics that are often searched for on your site.
10. A Word About Filters
Google Analytics allows you to add filters to your data — however, it should be noted that once a filter has been added, the data that has been filtered over a time period can not be unfiltered. For example, if you create a Google Analytics account in January and then add a filter February 1st — but realize on March 1st that the filter was written incorrectly and would exclude some data you wanted to include you will not ne able to get the February data back. Unfortunately, even if you delete the filter going forward, any reports that cover the February time period will only be able to show the filtered data.