November 17, 2015
Sitecore Engagement Analytics Reports is divided into three areas: Sales, Site Health, and Recent Activity. This post we will focus on the Site Health area of Engagement Analytics. The goal of this post is to understand how to use these reports practically and how marketers can depend on these reports to identify specific pitfalls within their audience’s experience. If you are currently in the developing process of your Sitecore solution, the development team should keep these reports in mind to ensure that marketers can start leveraging these reports to their maximum to identify potential problem areas directly after the launch of the site.
If you are currently using Sitecore 8, you may have noticed that the Engagement Analytics are not accessible through the launchpad. Sitecore 8 has many new marketing features and reports, but I find that there is value within the Engagement Analytics, especially when evaluating Site Health. To enable these reports in Sitecore version 8, refer to this post on my personal Sitecore blog.
Site Health is designed to give you an understanding of what errors are occurring on the website. Out of the box, Sitecore will only track the errors it can identify that are common to general web practices. However, since most implementations of Sitecore are based on a custom user experience, there is a high probability that other errors should be tracked that will contribute to the overall site health.
Sitecore will automatically track system web response errors such as “Page Not Found” (404) and Accessed Forbidden (503) requests.
If the Web Forms for Marketers module is installed and is being used in your solution, then you will most likely see when validation errors occur or a save action results in an error message in these reports. This will give a good insight on what roadblocks users are experiencing with your web forms.
Your development team should anticipate or inquire what type of errors the marketing team would like to track and monitor based on your custom user experience. This should be a collaborate session between the technical team and the marketing team to identify what types of errors will have a negative impact on the overall user experience of your site visitors.
For example, a marketing person may want to know if there are a large number of “Login Fail” attempts or if users are seeing “Product Unavailable” messages. This insight could be very helpful and may change the way you present content to your audience.
However, if the development team is not strategically analyzing potential site errors that a marketing administrator would like to know, these reports may not provide the expected valuable insight as to how website errors are impacting the overall user experience. Let’s face the fact that most people are NOT going to let you know what problems they experience with your website. It is our job to make sure that the web experience is a good one and to identify issues through strategic monitoring.
Some examples that I referred to above may require your development team to record a page event to track when specific errors occur. For example if you have a custom login solution, Sitecore will not be able to track “Login Failed” attempts out of the box. A developer will have to intentionally trigger the event so that it will appear in these reports. This post explains some practices for working with page errors relative to these reports.
Common Mistakes Report
This report is designed to communicate errors or problems that commonly occur on your website. To me, this is the most important Site Health report because it will let you know if you are having major issues with your website especially after a site launch.
For example, this report is usually filled with “Page Not Found” after a site launch depending on your redirect strategy. Also, these report may appear blank if a custom 404 solution was used instead of Sitecore’s out of box "Not found" page. In the event that a custom solution is used, the development team should ensure that the “Page Not Found” event is being tracked within Sitecore so that those errors will display in this report. If you are not seeing those errors in this report, then it is possible that you are not aware of some of the roadblocks to content that is being requested.
Also, this report could be used to see errors that are occurring across multiple pages. Having the ability to see these errors could lead you to find an underlining issue within your installation.
This report will list any failures that have occurred within the time range of the report. This report will tell you what error occurred and what page it the error occurred on. This report will give you a snap of the errors that have occurred recently.
Not Found Url
This report is designed to let you know which pages on your website are causing the “Page Not Found” event to be triggered. It will give great insight on what content is being requested that your website is currently not delivering. This is a great way to redirect content to something more relevant to the page being requested or make suggestions as to what the user may want to see.
One potential issue with this report is that out-of-the-box, it is looking for the following page name “NotFound.aspx”. If you have a custom 404 page this report will not display the errors from your custom 404 URL unless you modify the Sitecore query that pulls this report. (Note: This applies to Sitecore 7.2 and earlier) This blog post explains how to identify the factors and reasons the “No Found Url” report might return little to no results.
Pages That Report Errors
This report will display which pages on your website has generated a lot of errors and will let you know what specific pages are creating specific errors.
To help get a better outlook on your website health within Sitecore, take about 30 minutes and do a quick review of your website to determine what errors or potential roadblocks you want to track and monitor them. This will enable you to make strategic decisions concerning your user experience and avoid pitfalls that could be sabotaging your marketing efforts.
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