Google Tag Manager Guide



While Google Tag Manager is available now to anyone looking to sign up, some potential adopters are hesitant to implement the product until they find answers about how they can test whether the product is working appropriately for their site.

The product is very robust from a technical standpoint – in my testing and troubleshooting, it works exactly as it should. It’s an elegant and lightweight solution for tagging your site. With that said, like any new program coming out of a stealth alpha release, the interface for the program, ease of troubleshooting and the way you mark up your pages quality assurance is not clear today as it will be months from now.

Google Tag Manager requires an intermediate to advanced understand of coding in JavaScript, knowledge of how http headers are sent to servers and the installation of browser extensions to verify that everything is working as intended.

Fortunately, there are not only resources available from Google, but also several tools for your browser that allow you to debug and troubleshoot your installation.

5 methods that you can use to make your life easier as you implement Google Tag Manger.

  1. Write Good Code and Validate Your JavaScript
  2. Use Google Tag Manager’s Preview Link to debug in Firefox with Firebug
  3. Use the Google Chrome Browser’s Developer Tools
  4. Understand the Benefits and Drawbacks of Other Debugging Tools
  5. Implement a tag on your site with Google Analytics, and then view your real time reporting in GA to make sure your tags are firing properly

There’s one more option that I recommend to get the answers that you need, and that is the Real Time analytics feature in Google Analytics. When it comes to getting a grip on all of the JavaScript on your site, you can do one of the following:

  1. Ignore the Problem
  2. Build New
  3. Use a Pre-Built Tag Manager
  4. Hire a Professional

The biggest advantage for Google Tag Manager may be its price point being a free product, as well as its seamless integration with other Google products requiring tags.

What Google Tag Manager likely will not be able to help with at this point is for a Do It Yourself implementation. For those types of installations it is likely best to use a paid solution that offers technical support, training programs and ongoing maintenance contracts. There are many great vendors in this space that should receive due credit for their quality solutions, so if you have any tag management solutions that you recommend, please feel free to bring it up in the comments section.


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