Webvanta Blog: Creating Effective Websites

Tracking the source of your website leads

Tracking the source of your website leads Image

If your website is like most, you have a form to capture leads. You might invite people to receive your newsletter, get a free e-book, or request a quote.

Since maximizing the number of quality leads you capture is a key goal for most sites, it’s important to understand where those leads are coming from. By doing so, you can assess the success of marketing campaigns and better understand the network of sites that refer to you.

Analytics Only a Partial Solution

Analytics are the first step; they will tell you where, in aggregate, your visitors are coming from. But most analytics (including Google Analytics) won’t tell you where specific leads came from.

Most forms don’t capture anything beyond the information that the visitor enters. With a little extra work, however, you can capture additional source-tracking information that helps you learn more about where your leads are coming from, and which lead sources deliver the best quality leads.

Using Hidden Fields

The key mechanism is a type of form field called "hidden", because it is not displayed on the web page. Hidden form fields are present in the HTML code just like any other form field, but they have a type of "hidden" instead of, for example, "text".

The simplest thing you can do with a hidden field is to identify the form:

<input type="hidden" name="form-name" value="site-wide sidebar form">

This tells you where on your site the visitor filled out the form, but it doesn’t tell you anything about how they got there.

Using JavaScript and Cookies to Track Source Codes and Referrers

With a little bit of JavaScript code, you can capture source information from the browser, and set the value of a corresponding hidden field.

There are two kinds of information you can capture:

  1. Referrer, which is the page that was viewed by the visitor immediately before entering your site
  2. Source code, which is explicitly added to the URL that a visitor clicked on to reach your site

For details about how to do this, see Using referrer URLs to better understand your visitors, and Capturing source codes to track marketing results. Or, if you have a Webvanta site, give us a call and we can set it up for you.

It takes a little effort to add source tracking to your forms, but the reward is a deeper understanding of where your leads are coming from.

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