If you own a website, you need Google Analytics. Why? Because it helps you analyze your traffic and user behavior. It helps you answer dozens of questions that can literally skyrocket your sales overnight. Google Analytics can help you get more traffic and improve your conversion rate.
Getting traffic to your website is important. But if the traffic doesn’t convert, it doesn’t matter whether you get a hundred thousand visitors a month or just a hundred. This is where Google Analytics comes to rescue. It helps you identify what is working and what is not.
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If you are serious about the growth of your business and blog, you need to start using Google Analytics today.
Before we dive into the ‘How’ of using Google Analytics on your website, I would like to answer the ‘Why’:
Why do You Need Google Analytics?
When someone lands on your website or landing page, they either convert or they don’t. When they convert, your revenue goes up. And when they don’t, you lose hard earned cash.
If you want to get the most out of the money you are spending on marketing, you need to start using Google Analytics.
It is a free Analytics Tool offered by Google that helps you analyze your traffic and answer dozens of important questions like the following:
- Where is the majority of your traffic coming from?
- Which landing page variation is performing the best?
- What type of content performs the best?
- Which post out of the last five or ten of yours performed the best?
- Which marketing channels are helping you grow the most?
- What should you write more about?
Answers to the above questions can not only make you thousands of dollars but can (and will) save you tons of hard earned money.
Answers to these questions will help you better understand your target audience, where they hang out and what content they like.
You can use the data you collect to create better content and offer your audience what they really want. It will also help you identify which marketing channels you should be investing your money in.
If you want to grow your business, you will need to know as much as you can about your customers. And Google Analytics helps you do just that.
So, if you are ready to get started with Google Analytics, let’s install it on your website.
The steps to installing Google Analytics on your website are really easy and are detailed in the sections below.
Add Your Site To Your Google Analytics Account
If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, don’t worry. There’s no additional sign up process. All you need is a Google Account.
If you have a Google Account (Who Doesn’t?), you can start using Google Analytics by logging into your Google Account at the Google Analytics website here.
Once you are logged in, Click the Sign Up button on the signup page:
Now, you will see a form with the title ‘New Account’:
Note: In Google Analytics, accounts are a way to group your websites together for easy access. You can create multiple accounts to group your websites (properties). This helps a lot when working with clients or a team. For now, you can use the same name for your account as the name of your website.
Filling this form will help you create a new account and add your website (property) to that new account.
Now, fill the following details in the form and click the Get Tracking Id button at the bottom of the page:
- Account Name: A name for the new account. Allows you to group your websites. You can enter the name of your company or your website.
- Website Name: The name of your website. This will be shown in all your Google Analytics reports.
- Website URL: The URL of your website.
Now, you will be redirected to the administration page of the site you added:
On this page, you will see the Tracking ID and the tracking code for your website. You will need this Tracking ID later when you install Google Analytics on your website.
Installing Google Analytics To Your Website
Now that you have a Google Analytics account and your website added to the account, we can get started installing Google Analytics on your website.
There are four options when it comes to installing Google Analytics on your website. The easiest way is to install a plugin to handle everything.
If you don’t want to install any additional plugins on your website, you will have to manually add the code to your WordPress theme which can be difficult for beginners.
Option 1: Use a Google Analytics Plugin
This is the easiest option of all. All you have to do is install a WordPress plugin to handle Google Analytics setup for you.
When you install a Google Analytics plugin, you will be taken to a guided Wizard to help you set up Google Analytics on your website.
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On the other hand, if you are looking for a free solution, you can try Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. It’s a free plugin that is really easy to set up.
With either of these two plugins, all you have to do is enter your Google Analytics Tracking ID after installing the plugin.
There are a lot of advantages of using a Google Analytics plugin for your WordPress website. They add an easy to use widget to your WordPress dashboard allowing you to view your analytics without leaving your website. They also make the process of installing the code on your website much easier.
Option 2: Use Insert Headers and Footers Plugin
This is a free plugin by WP Beginner that you can use to add code to the header and the footer of your website’s HTML.
Once you install the plugin, navigate to Settings -> Insert Headers and Footers.
Option 3: Edit The Functions.php File
Editing the functions.php file of your WordPress theme is probably the best way to install code on all the pages of your website. The reason is simple, a theme might be using more than one header templates. And if that is the case, you will have to paste the code in every header template and if you forget to paste the code to even one header template, it will result in a broken analytics setup.
Adding the following code to your functions.php file will automatically add your Google Analytics code to all the pages on your website.
Option 4: Edit The Header.php File
If you would like to manually add the Google Analytics code to all the Header Templates of your WordPress theme, all you have to do is paste the Google Analytics code right before the closing </head> tag of your header.php file.
One thing you need to know is that a theme might have multiple Header Templates. And if that is the case, you will have to find all the Header Template files and paste the Google Analytics code to them. If you forget even a single Header Template, it will result in a broken Analytics Installation.
Viewing Reports In Google Analytics
Now that you have installed Google Analytics on your website, you can start viewing reports in your account.
If you have just installed the tracking code on your website, you might have to wait for the data to start showing up.
When you visit Google Analytics after installing the code on your website, you will see the Dashboard for your website:
The dashboard allows you to view your important data at a glance. If you want, you can create your own custom dashboards with just a few clicks. Creating a custom dashboard allows you to easily keep track of the metrics that are important to your business.
As you can see in the above screenshot, there are four types of reports in the Sidebar. I will now guide you through each of these reports and what they are for:
The real-time report area helps you identify what is happening on your website right now. It shows you the number of visitors on your website Right Now:
As you can see in the above screenshot, it not only shows you how many people are on your website right now but also where they came from and what pages are they viewing.
There are 6 Sub-sections of this report:
- Overview: The main page of this report. Allows you to view an overview of the real-time data from your website.
- Locations: Find out the Geographic details about the people who are right now on your website.
- Traffic Sources: Helps you identify the top sources the traffic is coming from.
- Content: Helps you identify the top performing content on your website that is being viewed right now.
- Events: If you are tracking custom events on your website, you can see the events as they happen.
- Conversions: If you are tracking conversions using Google Analytics, you can see them live as they happen.
The audience reports give you more insight on your audience and users. These reports help you find out their Demographics, Interests, Language, Location, and Devices and Technologies they use.
The User Explorer report available under the Audience report helps you individually look at the behaviour of your users. You can see their bounce rate, sessions, average session duration and the revenue they have generated.
The Users flow report helps you identify where your users go from the homepage and the other pages of your website. This helps improve conversion rate and improving the flow of traffic on your website.
As the name suggests, this report helps you find out where your website visitors are coming from. This helps you identify your top performing marketing channels.
This report not only displays where your traffic is coming from but also tells you what campaign the traffic is a result of. You can use this data to identify your best performing AD Keywords and your best performing social network.
The behaviour report helps you dive deep into the behaviour of your website visitors. This report helps you identify your top performing content and what your visitors are doing once they land on your website.
This report helps you track the conversions on your website. If you have setup conversion tracking with Google Analytics on your website, you should be able to see all your conversion data in this report.
This report is helpful when you are trying to improve your conversion rate as it allows you to identify the best performing landing page variations and the best performing offers.
You can use this report to track your email subscriptions, your product sales, etc. You can also set and monitor your own conversion goals.
If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, you are missing out on a lot of growth opportunities.
Even if your online business is growing fast, I am sure there is still some room for improvement and Google Analytics is the best way to find out where you can improve.
While Google Analytics is not the only Analytics Tool out there, it is probably one of the easiest, offers dozens of features and is totally free. Most of the Analytics Tools available are really costly which is why Google Analytics is the best choice if you are just starting out. If you are just starting out, you don’t need any kind of a fancy Analytics Tool. Google Analytics has more features than you will probably need.
If you have never used Google Analytics before, the interface might seem a bit overwhelming and complex, but trust me, you will love the way Google Analytics works once you spend a bit time with it.