google tag manager

Don’t freak out about Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) will make managing Google Analytics goals (and events) and scripts (such as Facebook pixels and various other site add-ons) much easier whilst at the same time keep your website code clean which will speed up page loading times. What’s not to like about that?

Getting your head around GTM can be a little daunting at first but it’s actually not too hard to use once you understand what its purpose is. Anyone who can read and watch how to videos on YouTube can use GTM.

GTM is an easier and more organised way to manage various tags, scripts and code on a website.

First let’s assume you’re not using GTM.

One of the first things you’ll do when you create a new website is insert Google Analytics. That’s a bit of code that will be placed above the </head> tag. Then you’ll start to setup goals so that you can track conversions on your website, so this will involve inserting script into buttons (more code) so that events fire on some clicks. Then you’ll want to insert Facebook pixel script, which will go in the <head>… more code.

As the site develops you will add other add-ons to it to improve its performance and the user experience. Common add-ons include remarketing tags, exit intent, live chat, Google surveys, AdRoll, Google Shopping and more. All these will go into your website’s code somewhere and if you’re not using GTM then it will be manually inserted to your sites code somewhere.

As you’ve probably started noticing, it can get pretty messy very quickly, which makes managing all scripts and code a nightmare. Not to mention that each piece of code slows down the loading time of your page and editing script in your website’s editor is an easy way to break your site if you change something incorrectly.

I consider the number one problem with having an unorganised tag structure to be the inability to identify redundant scripts and code.

If code is just placed randomly throughout your site, redundant scripts (those that your site no longer requires) will go unnoticed and will often be left of the site, slowing it down unnecessarily. Users hate waiting for pages to load (it also affects conversion) so it’s in your best interests for your page to load as quickly as possible. There are also SEO benefits to be made when speeding up the load time of your website.

Now let’s assume you’re ready to use GTM.

You’re new site is ready to go, the first thing you will do is create a GTM account and then install some script (in GTM they call it the Google Tag Manager container) to your site after the opening <body> tag. That’s it. You most likely will not need to add another piece of code to your site again.

All those scripts and code that was added to your website in no particular order can be added to GTM. But instead of having a disorganised mess of code, GTM allows you to create ‘tag’ for each piece of script (such as your Google Analytics, Facebook pixel, Facebook conversion pixel, exit intent, live chat etc) and when you have added them you’re left with a nice list of the tags on your site. Very easy to view and manage.

When presented like this it’s easy for you see what tags are on the site and also edit those if required. If a tag ever becomes redundant then it’s easy for you to go into GTM, identify the relevant tag and delete it.

Remember, the alternative to using GTM to manage script and code involves going to your website’s editor and scrolling through various bits of code to find the script you’re looking for. A time consuming and risky activity as it’s easy to break your site if you make a mistake.

Should you be using GTM? Hell, yes!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to actually setup and configure GTM then take a look on YouTube as there are a bunch of great how-to tutorials.

Living Online is a highly competent Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics Agency. Contact us if you’d like to discuss how we can help improve your site’s performance and make your life easier with Google Tag Manager.