Is Google Tag Manager Hurting Your Website’s Performance?

If It’s Installed Wrong, It Is

Google Tag Manager (GTM) works great for closely tracking Google Ad campaigns, impressions, traffic, and user flows on your website. It can also cause performance problems. The only reason these problems occur is when GTM is installed incorrectly, which is unfortunately easy to do. This blog will review Google Tag Manager installation best practices. We’ll also cover indicators to be aware of that point to GTM causing performance issues, and what to avoid.

Install Google Tag Manager Correctly

It’s important to properly install Google Tag Manager for many reasons. You want accurate data and you want to ensure you’re not hurting your website’s performance. Whenever adding a tracking tag to your website you’re adding a feature that needs to communicate with another server. The performance of your website will not see any negative effects of the minimal effort that this takes. However, if your installation is wrong and is triggering incorrectly, this is when your performance begins to suffer. It’s almost like the expression “I guess we got our wires crossed” when explaining a miscommunication. So, let’s make sure your wires don’t get crossed.

Common Mistakes with Google Tag Manager

  • We often see the GTM tag placed incorrectly by adding it within the code of every single page uniquely. This will cause the data to be inaccurate, and often even report far more traffic than is real, due to overfiring. The correct way is to install the GTM tag universally within the global header of the theme.
  • The other thing our team often sees is incorrectly used parent IDs and event tags. This means the actions, such as clicks, are not linked correctly to provide appropriate tracking.
  • Not using the same wording/caps/spelling for the tag and the event label also causes triggers to fire incorrectly. For example, when you name a tag “Click-To-Call”, you also need to label the tracking type (such as an “event”) “Click-To-Call”. It cannot be “click to call” or “click-to-call” or “Click-to-call”. They have to match the wording, punctuation, spacing, and capitalization precisely.
  • While it may feel uncomfortable to do so, deleting the Google Analytics Tag from the global header is important. This ensures the GTM tag isn’t being misread. It also helps improve performance by removing unnecessary server communication and subsequent page load time.

Non-Performance Related Tips For Installing GTM

  • Set “goals” in your analytics account to match the tags/events of your Google Tag Manager setup. These labels also need to match precisely just like the tags and tracking types discussed above.
  • Test your work before considering it ready. Start by selecting the “preview” option in the Google Tag Manager workspace dashboard. Refresh the site you’re working on, and click through every tag/trigger/event set up to ensure it’s reporting correctly. Testing via the preview option is easy and accurate by using the indicator that shows exactly what has triggered or not.
  • Having a professional set your Google Ads and Tag Manager up is definitely worth it! If not, Google supplies an enormous amount of consumer resources. If you’ve got time to dig, there is most likely a Google article that will help you troubleshoot any aspect of the setup.

Understanding Website Performance

So, how do you figure out if your website performance is being negatively affected? There are many ways to evaluate this apart from simply noticing you’re not getting any conversions from your website. If you’re looking at your analytics and see that your traffic and active users have dipped considerably, it’s worth looking into. Should page clicks suddenly drop and your bounce rate is higher, these are also indicators to start investigating your website performance.

There are numerous ways you can look at your website’s performance, such as using the Google Chrome extension Lighthouse. This will provide detailed reports about website performance and overall SEO health score. Remember, you need to regularly check your website performance to have a solid base knowledge of your standings to compare against.

Setting up Google Search Console is also a good idea. This tool is more than another avenue to evaluate your URL’s standings and performance. The console will fire off an email to the administrator as soon as a performance issue is detected outlining what the perceived issue is. This often includes links to instructional articles on how to further evaluate and find a solution.

Make Google Tag Manager Work For You

GTM is a powerful tool when used correctly and offers tremendous value to mass marketers and novice website owners, alike. Whether you’re running a small, local Google Ad Campaign for $150 a month or a massive international one that has a budget of $10,000 a month, GTM offers a lot. For example, do you have a contact form that gets clicks, but no one ever sends an inquiry? You can set up GTM to evaluate what step of a form people abandon and examine why to make adjustments. The data showing how users move across your website can be utilized to do so many things, but most of all, to strengthen conversions. Just be sure to avoid the common missteps made when setting up Google Tag Manager. If you’re not sure how to do so, consider hiring a professional marketing team to handle it!

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