Google Tag Manager has a learning curve. We’ve all gone through it. The developer guide as well as the new and improved help center are very useful, but they do not answer all the questions a thorough implementation project might face. There are many ways to find answers to your questions, and I thought I’d go through some of my favorite options here.
Tip 22: Get GTM Assistance
To help you in getting help with GTM, there are two things we’ll need to go over: where to look for help, and how to ask for assistance.
Where to find help
Here are some of the best resources for learning about GTM, and for getting assistance.
Google+ Google Tag Manager community is the best place to ask your questions. It has dozens of members who are active daily, and they almost compete to be the first to answer your question. Google+ is definitely the best place to get help. You might even run into some of the GTM developers in the community as well!
The Official Google Tag Manager Forum is a good place to get help as well, though I find it more suitable for GTM beginners. Response activity isn’t as great as on Google+, but you might get a more thorough reply. The problem is that there’s very little editing or moderation. Since the forums aren’t always that active, wrong answers might persist for a far longer time, doing a lot of damage before anyone notices. Some GTM developers are actively responding to questions here as well.
Stack Overflow is always a good place to ask any questions, as the community has strict rules that maintain quality of both questions and responses.
Google Analytics Certified Partners can help you in many ways, but in this case we’re not talking about free tips and assistance anymore, but actually hiring a consultant to help you with your issues.
On top of these four places, Google search is your friend, my friend. Please, please, please use Google to see if someone has tackled your problem already. At the very least, you’ll find blogs such as this one or the awesome Bounteous blog, where you’ll find many articles and blog comments that should inspire you to find the help you need.
I know I sound like a broken record, but take a look at the Google+ community. It’s the most awesome place to get GTM help from, as well as start up some inspiring discussions around best practices or advanced implementations, for example.
How to ask for help
I hope I don’t sound smug or pretentious, but please read the following very, very carefully. I spend a lot of time answering questions, and if everyone asked their questions with the following steps in mind, I’d save countless hours of back-and-forth, trying to debug the issue with very little to work on.
1) Always provide repro steps
Always, always, always describe your problem so that the person who’s helping you can follow exactly how you encountered the issue. And if it’s not a problem you’re looking for help with, but rather some conceptual question or something, always provide a clear and well-written description of the issue. Try to step into the reader’s shoes. Would you understand what the issue is if you read your own question?
2) (Almost) always provide a test URL
A URL where you have a live version of the GTM container with the issue will save hours from those who help you. Honestly, it’s the single best way to debug your issue. But it does require that the container is live. If you can’t publish it due to the problem, naturally it can’t be debugged on the live site. Also, if it’s a website in development, and behind a VPN or something, it’s understandable you won’t be able to share access. One excuse which I just do not understand is “it’s my client’s website, and I can’t share the URL because of privacy issues”. If it’s a public website, that’s the worst excuse ever, and you’ll have a hard time trying to get people to help you if you can’t meet them halfway.
3) Screencast, screenshots, Preview/View/Edit access
These would be awesome to have when debugging. A screencast is great, but it might be difficult to figure out just what things you’ll need to include in the cast. Screenshots are a must, but nothing beats access to the container. Preview access lets you share Preview mode of the container with anyone, which is a great thing, but View or Edit access to the container is definitely the best and fastest way to get your issue sorted.
If you’ve got the dough, either contact a Google Analytics Certified Partner, or give a shout on Google+ for freelance help.
Other than that, you’re dependent on the goodwill of others, so do your best in facilitating their debugging work to your best ability. Keep in mind that people who volunteer do so on their own time, so the more information you can give the better. Nothing’s worse than having to repeatedly ask for more information.
Naturally, one of the most difficult things in asking for assistance is knowing what’s relevant information. But if you can share the URL, add some screenshots, and describe any errors / issues you’ve witnessed, you’re off to a great start.
Happy hunting! It gets easier, I promise.