Site Audits – Why does Tech keep breaking my tags?

If you work on big websites like I do, you’ve probably already suffered from the painful condition called “techinosis”, who’s primary symptom is web analytics tags that simply vanish or break for no apparent reason.

This condition can often go undetected for weeks or months, and unfortunately it’s deadly for your data. During the post-mortem when you ask the Tech-heads what happened, they mumble something about “release branches” or “incorrectly pinned files”. No one in the room seems all that concerned, except for you. That is, until someone higher up doesn’t get a report because there is no data to report.

Since all I need to know about life I learned from Star Trek, my initial reaction is “If it can’t be fixed, just ask Scotty.”

Alas, with no Scotty, and with no ability to go back in time and correct history, I am left with a data-less report (Brent Spiner jokes aside), and an angry stakeholder.

So Tech fixes the problem and promises to never do that release branch file pinning thingy ever again, but how do you, fearless analytics captain, detect if those annoying tech-tribbles are on the verge of causing another data core breach?

Enter the web analytics auditing tools! Think of them like a Tricorder (ok enough with the Star Trek already). These things spider your site for web analytics tagging (and often other things like DART tags) and can tell you if tags are missing, document what variables are on each page, and set off the red alert (ok not quite done) when something goes awry.

There are a couple that I regularly use, WASP and ObservePoint. Both have their uses and advantages and I won’t promote one over the other here, but the major difference is that WASP runs as a browser plug in off a laptop, whereas OP is SaaS in the cloud. I tend to use WASP as a personal scanning tool for day to day stuff, and use OP as an automated Centurion to monitor huge websites (30,000+ pages) on a regular basis.

Do you use other tools?

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