How to set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a completely free website tracking software (assuming you went with your own host and domain and not wordpress.com). It provides you with a lot of valuable information that you can use to help you figure out which marketing tactics are paying off, which ones to tweak, and which ones you can drop. Keep reading to find out how to set up Google Analytics in just a few easy steps.
It’s also good to know that you can integrate it with other Google software applications such as Google Search Console, Adsense and Adwords.
- Head over to google.com/analytics. You’ll need to create a Google account if you don’t already have one. It’s really easy to get started.
- Click “Sign in” in the top right corner, then click “Analytics” at the top of the drop down menu. Click “Create an account”, fill out your info and then hit “Next step”. They’ll walk you through a couple more simple steps.
- After you’ve filled out all the required info including your website name, URL, and time zone, click “get tracking ID” and accept the terms and conditions. You’ll be brought to your admin page with your tracking code.
- You installed the plugin insert headers and footers, right? Because now all you have to do is copy that snippet of code and paste it into the header section of the plugin. The plugin will be under “Settings” within your WordPress dashboard.
- You might need to wait up to 48 hours for Google to start tracking your site. But if you go back to google.com/analytics right away, you’ll be able to sign in and see your dashboard. It just wont have any data to show you yet.
Understanding your Google Analytics dashboard
If at any point you need access to your tracking code, you can always find it within your Google Analytics account. Go to “Admin” and click on “tracking info” under the “property” column.
When you sign into your Analytics account, you’ll be brought to the Audience overview page. There will be a graph that you can choose to display a number of statistics on. By default, it will show your number of sessions.
You’ll also see:
- Number of users
- Number of page views
- Pages / session
- Average session duration
- Bounce rate
- Percentage of new visitors
The pie chart shows the number of new visitors vs returning visitors.
If you keep scrolling down in your dashboard, there are more statists you can display based on:
- Type of browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.)
- Operating system (Mac, Windows, Android, etc.)
- Service provider (Telus, Bell, Shaw, etc.)
- Screen resolution (ex: 360 x 640)
You’ll be able to see where the majority of your website traffic is coming from.
This is just the main dashboard. Even if that’s all you plan on using Google Analytics for, it’s still worth setting up. It’s free and easy to get started, so why not?
Other interesting, easy to use features
If you want a more detailed analysis of your website traffic, you can find it within the menu on the left hand side.
Go to “Overview”, underneath “Real time” and it will show you how many active users are on your site right now, what country they are in and where the traffic source is coming from. If you click on any of the highlighted countries on the map, Google will zoom in and give you a better idea of where the user(s) are located.
Go to “Audience” – “behaviour” – “engagement”. It will show you the sessions and page views but also the session duration. The majority of traffic will probably fall in that 1-10 seconds category but the lower you can get this, the better. So track this and keep your audience engaged with quality content and work on increasing your website speed.
Check out “Users Flow” at the bottom of “Audience”. You’ll see where your traffic is coming from, what pages they are viewing and in what order and where they are exiting. If there are a lot of users dropping off on the same page(s), you want to come up with a plan to keep them interested.
“Acquisition” shows you what percentage of your traffic is coming from direct search, Social media, organic search, Adwords, or referral.
Another place to see where your visitors are leaving your site is “Behaviour” – “Site content” – “Exit pages”.
Underneath “Site speed”, you can view your average page load time and get suggestions on how you can improve (with instructions).
Creating goals for yourself
Another important feature to go over is “Goals”. You can find this tab under “Conversions”. First you will need to set some goals. Go to the “Admin” tab at the top. Click “Goals” underneath the “View” column and then “+ New Goal”. Choose a template and a name for your goal (something you’ll remember when you see it later on).
Then Choose a goal type:
- Destination – Google will keep track of every time someone lands on a specific page.
- Duration – Maybe you want to set it for 2 minutes. Google will track every time a visitor stays on your site for at least 2 minutes.
- Pages / screens per session – It might be 3. Google will track every time someone visits at least 3 pages / session.
- Event – Google can track events that take place on your site. (Every time someone signs up to your mailing list, or every time someone plays a video, or clicks a link).
Enter the remaining Goal details and hit save.
Once your goals have been in place for a few days, you can see how they are doing by logging into you Analytics account and going to “Conversions” – “Goals” – “Overview”.
Google Analytics can be quite overwhelming at first but if you just stick with the basics, you should be fine. You’ll probably never need most of the features anyways.
Next up is Google Search Console, so keep reading!