Upgrade to GA4 Now and Keep Monitoring Your Website Traffic

In today’s digital age, monitoring a business’s online presence is crucial for its success. This is where web analytics tools like Google Analytics come in handy. You get valuable insights into website user behaviour and interaction. However, as with any technology, Google Analytics is constantly evolving. Google announced major changes to its Analytics platform, specifically with the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This is set to replace Universal Analytics. As a result, many businesses must upgrade to GA4 to ensure they don’t lose out on valuable data tracking capabilities.

If your business relies on website traffic monitoring to make informed business decisions, take note of these changes. There are less than three months remaining at writing until Universal Analytics stops collecting data (1st July 2023). It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and upgrade to GA4 as soon as possible. Many businesses rely on for gathering important information on their site visitors.

Analytics data to be deleted

Historical Universal Analytics data (which you’ve been keeping for all of those years) will eventually be deleted by Google after 6 months, as they take heed of GDPR rules. So if you cherish this historical data for comparison sake, you will need to backup the data manually. This approach has also been applied to Google Analytics 4, meaning data will only be stored for up to 12 months now. Therefore if you rely on historical data in Google Analytics, you’ll need to consider the limitations from now on.

Google Analytics 4 is quite different from its predecessors. It offers more features, improved data privacy, and a completely revamped user interface. Many of the old features and reports that we have come to rely on in previous versions of Google Analytics may not be available in GA4 at all. Therefore we need to be prepared to invest time and effort into learning the new platform features and adjust our tracking and report strategies accordingly.

Events instead of goals

GA4 now uses events (something many Universal Analytics and Tag Manager professionals will be familiar with). This means ‘goals’ won’t be available and can’t be migrated across. You’ll instead need to set these up as ‘events’, likely through Tag Manager or website code updates. However, by default GA4 sets up several new default events including:

  • click
  • first_visit
  • page_view
  • scroll
  • session_start

Reports have a different look

Due to the change in tracking data, your Google Analytics 4 report pages look different. There are less options available, with some areas in different locations than Universal Analytics. You’ll find the following sections available to browse in GA4 reports which are fairly self-explanatory:

  • Life cycle
    • Acquisition
      • Overview
      • User Acquisition
      • Traffic Acquisition
    • Engagement
      • Overview
      • Events
      • Conversions
      • Pages and screens
      • Landing page
    • Monetisation
      • Overview
      • E-commerce purchases
      • In-app purchases
      • Publisher ads
      • Promotions
    • Retention
  • User
    • Demographics
      • Overview
      • Demographic details
    • Tech
      • Overview
      • Tech details

Convinced that you need to upgrade to GA4?

Changing your website code is necessary to upgrade and benefit from all GA4 features. If you’re not a coder, then it’s best that you reach out to one of our web developers here at Design for Digital. We can smoothly migrate your analytics account and upgrade to GA4, testing all tracking features. Our experts are on hand to assist with your analytics migration. We also have a powerful website statistical reporting solution (with realtime online and PDF options) which our clients find much easier to use than the analytics dashboard. Call us on 07793 22 68 69 for help with your Google Analytics upgrade.

Contact us for GA4 upgrades

Why choose a WordPress website?

WordPress has been a popular website building platform for almost two decades now. Here at Design for Digital, we’re passionate about WordPress design and development and now focus solely on the platform to deliver business websites, e-commerce solutions and develop custom features for our WordPress clients. Today, WordPress powers over 35% of all websites on the internet. It’s an open-source content management system (CMS) that’s highly flexible, customisable, and easy to use. If you’re thinking of building a website, WordPress should be your go-to choice. In this post, we’ll explore why.

WordPress.org is free, open-source software. There’s no subscription costs or software costs to use it, meaning you can download WordPress and begin building your site straight away. The content you create remains your own and it is not stuck inside a ‘paid’ ecosystem unlike some other solutions. You can also customise a WordPress site to your heart’s content.

WordPress is search engine friendly. It’s designed to use clean code that search engines can read easily. It also has built-in features, such as permalinks, easy tagging, and categories that help search engines understand the structure of your site and the content it contains.

1. Easy to use content management system

One of the key decision factors leading businesses to choose a WordPress website is the platform’s user-friendly content management system. Recognised as a leading platform for web design, SEO, development, and e-commerce, WordPress provides an intuitive and streamlined content editing experience. With WordPress, even non-technical users can easily add pages, posts, images, and videos without requiring programming or coding expertise, through visual page builders or the built-in block-based editor Gutenberg. This is achieved through a back-end editor, which simplifies website content management, making it accessible to individuals without prior web development experience.

2. Mobile friendly and responsive design

Mobile friendly and responsive design is a crucial aspect of any website in today’s digital age. With the majority of internet users accessing websites on their mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer optional. Fortunately, WordPress offers web design and development options that cater to mobile users, resulting in a seamless user experience across all devices. With a mobile responsive design, you can ensure that your website is accessible to all users, from the smallest mobile device to the largest desktop monitor. Additionally, a mobile-responsive WordPress website can improve your SEO rankings, as search engines now prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their search results. Having a mobile-friendly WordPress website is essential for eCommerce businesses, as it can help drive sales and attract more customers.

3. Highly secure and reliable

When it comes to web design, development, SEO, and eCommerce, security and reliability are two of the most critical factors to consider. Luckily, WordPress has both of these bases covered. WordPress is highly secure by design, and it is regularly updated to ensure its security protocols remain ahead of the curve. With frequent software patches and improvements, we can confidently say that WordPress is one of the most secure content management systems (CMS) out there. Additionally, the reliability of WordPress is unparalleled. With its vast and active developer community, any issues that arise are quickly resolved, and its intuitive interface ensures that even non-technical users can manage their website with ease. Choosing WordPress for your website development needs will give you an unrivalled level of security and reliability that will benefit your business in the long run.

A professional web development team can handle all your WordPress updates, ensuring your site remains secure and running smoothly. This includes updating your e-commerce platform, so that transactions remain secure and your customers can always enjoy a smooth checkout process. Beyond the technical aspects, regular updates can also help with SEO efforts by ensuring website content is fresh and relevant. Overall, choosing a WordPress website provides a powerful and flexible platform to build your online presence. However, it’s critical to have ongoing support from a web development team to ensure your site stays secure, functional, and optimised for success.

4. Extensibility with plugins and themes

One of the main reasons to choose a WordPress website is the unparalleled level of extensibility it provides through plugins and themes. WordPress is one of the most versatile web design platforms available, making it an excellent choice for businesses and individuals looking to create a website that meets their specific needs. With a diverse range of SEO, development, and ecommerce tools (such as WooCommerce) available as well, WordPress has made it possible for even the smallest businesses to take control of their online presence. The addition of plugins and themes allows businesses to modify and extend their existing websites. For many businesses, this flexibility can be instrumental in building and maintaining a successful online presence.

Will you choose a WordPress website?

In conclusion, WordPress offers an exceptional set of benefits that make it an attractive choice for businesses of all sizes. With its ease of use, customisability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, it’s no wonder that WordPress powers so much of the web’s content. Whether you’re a small business owner, content creator, or developer, WordPress has something to offer everyone. By choosing WordPress, you can create a professional website that is scalable, secure, and optimised for the search engines. So, why choose anything else?

Get in touch with us if you’re looking to create a new, WordPress website for your business, or redesign and refresh your current WordPress site. We’re Bath’s WordPress web design and development experts, who’ve worked with high profile clients from Corgi to Hachette. See for yourself what our clients think of our WordPress services below.

Florian Finot - Hachette“Very professional relation. We trust Design for Digital to run our projects in the best way and know we can count on them to deal with any situation and to always warn us of any issue.”

Florian Finot, Hachette

Updating WooCommerce – A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding WooCommerce updates

Here at Design for Digital we assist many clients with their website updates. Often with eCommerce stores like WooCommerce this can be a complex journey, especially if your website is mission critical. On the very small occasion a new feature or bug in the software can catch you unaware without prior testing, just like any other software platform. Therefore we’ll now walk you through our recommendations when updating WooCommerce so you’re never stuck in a tricky situation.


Why WooCommerce for eCommerce?

Considering that ~30% of the internet’s websites run on WordPress, the official eCommerce plugin for WordPress (WooCommerce) is a natural choice for millions of site owners. Store owners like the familiarity of the WordPress system and WooCommerce’s open source nature ensures that they remain in control of their data, not another 3rd party like Shopify or Magento’s hosted plans. The customisation and presentation of a WooCommerce website can be tailored to your liking. There’s also a growing community to help provide solutions and designs to enhance your site – just like Design for Digital.


Backup, backup and then backup WooCommerce

Like any update on a website (or even on your computer), it’s sensible to create a backup of the entire WooCommerce and WordPress website for peace of mind should anything go wrong. However don’t just rely on one backup solution. Often we find some automated backups can fail due to various circumstances. Therefore ensure that you have several backup solutions available such as these 3 recommendations:

  1. Server backups
  2. 3rd party automated backups
  3. Manual, periodic backups

This way, you can be sure that should one backup fail to be reinstated then another backup can be used. Nevertheless, you should always test these backups work on a separate test server and acquaint yourself with the process. If that all sounds too daunting for you, then get in touch with us to discuss a website maintenance plan with us to take care of this or you.


Run WooCommerce updates on a staging site

When we’re asked to carry out WooCommerce software updates for a client, we always do this on what is called a ‘staging site’. Essentially this is a copy of the live site but placed on to a separate domain and database. This allows us to test the updates without affecting the live website – just imagine how horrified you’d be if a bug corrupted your live order system! Then should any update cause issues we can investigate the problem thoroughly and code a solution to correct the issue. Depending on the problem this could take some time to resolve, which isn’t ideal if you’ve encountered the issue on the live site. Hopefully you’ll now agree using a staging site is the way forward.


Creating the WooCommerce staging site

You can usually create a staging site on most hosting platforms if you have a suitable hosting plan. This could be placed on a subdomain (e.g. subdomain.woocommercestore.com), with a new database and hidden from the web behind .htaccess password protection so no-one can find this copy of your live site whilst you carry out the updates. Then import a backup of your database and files from the live website into the new subdomain, amending the wp-config . php file to point at your new database – so you don’t affect the live one. Consider a separate SSL certificate too if you’d like to keep this staging website secure. Next you’ll need to change all URL references from the live site to the staging site URL within the database. PHPMyAdmin is usually installed on most servers and can enable you to change the URLs in the database. Now whilst it sounds complex, doing this right ensures that there are less headaches in the future. You can also start using a separate copy of the site for new development features or a new design whilst the current live site stays online.


Test and test WooCommerce again

Now that you have your staging server ready for testing the updates, it’s time to start updating. Make a reference to all of the plugins which need updating and their version numbers as these could change during the time you test on the staging site and then update the live site. Once updated, visit your website as normal and look for any obvious errors or issues. Check the back-end works correctly too. Another good plan is to check your server for errors in the log which can help you diagnose any potential issues with the website. Going another step further and you can enable WP_DEBUG in your wp-config file which will print out any errors on the website within the browser but be warned this will show all types of warnings, not just serious ones.

WooCommerce Update
Checking the WooCommerce status report can help identify issues


Updating the live WooCommerce site after testing

So at this stage, the WooCommerce updates should have been successfully tested on the staging site and you’re happy with the results. Before you get the live website updated, it’s always nice to use a ‘maintenance’ page whilst updates are occurring. This helps to prevent visitors placing eCommerce orders during the updates so they aren’t presented with any error or warning messages. Next backup again your files and database, ensuring that you’re happy they all work. Then begin updating the live site during maintenance mode. Carry out one final check of the website to see if there are no issues present which you could have missed. Then once you’re satisfied everything went smoothly, exit out of your maintenance mode and get the live site back online again for your visitors. Phew!


Get WooCommerce experts involved if it’s too much to handle

Should this all sound too complicated for you or one of your team to carry out, then it’s highly recommended that you get a professional website maintenance plan in place with a website agency – like Design for Digital – to assist with these monthly update tasks. Here at Design for Digital we offer affordable monthly website maintenance packages. These assist our clients with these updates, as well as WooCommerce design and development support when they need it. Get in touch for a quote today so we can help you concentrate on driving sales, not steering through WooCommerce updates.