Why every website must have Google Analytics installed
If you own a shop it doesn’t take too much to figure out if you are attracting people. You either have people coming into your shop or you don’t. If no one is coming in, you know that you have a problem that you need to work on. It is also easy to talk to your customers and get to know them.
If your business is online you might be wondering how it is possible to see if people are visiting your website and what they are doing. This is where Google Analytics comes in.
Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google. Once configured on your website, it will allow you to answer the following questions:
- How many people are visiting my website?
- What time of the day are people visiting my site?
- What country are my visitors from?
- What are my popular pages/products/blog posts?
- Are people using mobile devices to visit my site?
- What links are visitors clicking on my site?
- Where is my traffic coming from? (Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bing etc)
- What pages do most people exit my site from?
- and much more
Checking this information on a regular basis is key to getting a better understanding of your online users. It can help you identify problem areas, allow you to focus on the social media platform that is the most successful for you and make decisions that are based on data.
It is one of the first things that you should set up on your website. It will allow you to track everything that you need to know about your visitors!! Even if you don’t plan to use it straight away, make sure you get it set up now! That way it is still recording all the data for when you have time to learn how to use it.
How to sign up
Tip: You need to make sure that you are doing this and not letting your web designer or developer do it. I have worked with more than 1 company that lost access to their data because the person who set it up left.
Step 1: Go to the Google Analytics Signup page. If you have a Google or Gmail account, sign in. If you don’t have one, you will need to use the ‘Create account’ link to create one.
Step 2: Select the Sign up button to continue setting up Google Analytics
Step 3: Ensure ‘Website’ is selected.
Enter ‘Account name’. This is a descriptive name. Either the name of your company or website. I used ‘Clarity by Design’
Enter ‘Website Name’. Again this is a descriptive name and could be the name of your website. I used ‘Clarity by Design’
Enter the Website URL. Select http or https and then enter the full url. Eg. www.claritybydesign.com.au
Select your industry and the timezone that you want to use in your reports.
Step 4: Select your data sharing settings (I left them on) on and then select ‘Get Tracking ID”. Agree to the Terms and service by clicking the ‘I Agree’ button.
Step 5: You will now get your Google Analytics tracking ID. You may need to use this ID when installing Google Analytics on your website. You should download the Key Info Workbook and store it in there or store it somewhere else safe.
Congratulations – you now have Google Analytics set up. The next step is getting it installed on your website.
Installing Google Analytics on WordPress
If you are running WordPress it is really easy to install Google Analytics. There are a couple of different ways but I will just let you know the easiest and what I use for my site.
Step 1: From within the WordPress Admin area go to ‘Add New’ under plugins.
Search for ‘google analytics monster’ and install the plugin ‘Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights’ by selecting ‘Install Now’. Make sure you wait until it installs and then select ‘Activate’.
Step 2: You should now have a menu in your WordPress Admin area called Insights. Select Settings so that we can connect your analytics account to your WordPress site.
Step 3: Select the Authenticate with your Google account button. You will now be taken through a series of screens to verify your Google account.
Step 4: Click Next on the first screen.
Step 5: You will now be presented with another screen. Select ‘Click to Get Google Code’.
Step 6: Another window should popup requesting permission for MonsterInsights to access your Google Analytics data. You will need to login with your Google (gmail) account that you set up your analytics with earlier, if you are not still logged in. Make sure you allow access.
Step 7: A code should now be displayed. Copy the code, close the window and paste the code back into the setup screen. Click Next.
Step 8: You now need to select the profile that you created earlier in Google Analytics and select Next.
That’s it – you have now connected your Google Analytics account with your WordPress site.
Installing Google Analytics on other CMSs
Most other CMS (Content Management Systems) have an area that you can add your Google Analytics tracking code to. Just Google your CMS and how to add Google Analytics and you should be able to find some instructions and then jump back to this article to continue the final step.
Here are some guides for popular CMSs
Filtering your own visits out of your analytics
Let’s jump ahead now and assume you have had Google Analytics set up and running on your website for awhile. You check your traffic reports regularly and get really excited that someone is visiting all the pages on your site and spending quite a lot of time on there.
Oh but wait a minute – that is you!!
If you get thousands of visitors to your site you may not need to worry about the impact on your analytics of every time you visit your website. If you are not getting this level of traffic, your stats may be wrong if you are not excluding your own visits.
Think about this. You had 30 visitors on your website and they visited an average of 2 pages each. You were on your site and visited 20 pages. This is going to make a difference to your average page views.
To ensure that you are not influencing your statistics and reports install the ‘Google Analytics Opt-out’ browser add-on. I install it on all the different browsers that I have since I do my testing on different ones.
You just need to visit the Google Analytics Opt-out page from each of your browsers (Chrome, Safari, IE etc) and install the browser add-on.
Creating a backup view and test view
There is one more thing that you should set up now. Google Analytics does not have an ‘undo’ function so it is recommended that you do the following steps to ensure you never ‘accidentally’ wipe out your data. Don’t worry too much yet about what views are. Just follow the steps or later when you start to do some more advanced steps your views won’t have data in them to test with.
Step 1: Go to the Admin view within your Google Analytics account.
Step 2: The default view is called ‘All Web Site Data’ and this will most likely be visible in the View dropdown. Select the dropdown next to the name of the view.
Step 3: Select ‘Create new view’
Step 4: Enter a Reporting View Name. I suggest ‘Master View’ and select your reporting time zone.
Step 5: Click ‘Create View’.
Step 6: Repeat the above steps but this time call the view ‘Test View’
All done. These views will be empty at the moment but data will soon start getting added as people visit your site. It can also take up to 24 hours for Google to start collecting data for a newly created account.
Congratulations. You should now have
- A Google Analytics account created
- Google Analytics configured on your website
- Your own traffic being excluded from your reports
- A Master view and Test view created which will be used later in more advanced tutorials
“You can only improve what you measure”
Are you ready to step through Google Analytics, learn about the reports and what you need to set up and then check on a regular basis? You don’t need to be checking every day but schedule in time once a month to take a look at some key stats you should be tracking and caring about.
If you haven’t set the goals and objectives of your site yet, do this before jumping into Beginners guide to using Google Analytics & setting goals.