Google Analytics is perhaps one of the first instruments you’d like to install on your newly created website. When you are just starting out building your online prescence it could be rather hard to understand what works and what doesn’t. This is why it’s important to know how people interact with your website. The good news is – Google Analytics (GA) can give you tons of information about how customers consume your website on the one hand, but on the other it will help you see the big picture.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free tracking tool provided by Google itself, which you can install on your website or mobile app. By using it, you’ll be able to track website traffic, user behavior, see which channels drive the most of your visitors and fully monitor both site performance and your overall marketing strategy.
However, in order to fully take advantage of this powerful tool you have to undertand how it works, its limitations and the way it collects data. Second, you have to make sure you can read this data correctly. And third, you need to set it up in such a way that it collects the data you need.
How to create a Google Analytics account?
As I mentioned earlier, Google Analytics is a free marketing tool. You can quickly create your account by following this link – https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/ If you are logged in your Google account the process is pretty straightforward and if you follow the steps provided by Google you’ll open your Analytics account in a minute. First, you have to give your account a name. I highly recommend you use your domain as your Google Analytics account name. This will help you quickly shift between your Analytics accounts should you have more than one. Next you have to tell GA whether you want to track a website, an app, or both. In the third step called “Property Setup” you should enter your domain, industry, and timezone.
How to install Google Analytics on your website?
There are a couple of ways to install Google Analytics to your website. The installation itself is just a code that you have to embed in the <head> section of your site. The 3 most popular methods are:
How to install Google Analytics via a WordPress plugin?
If you’ve built your website using WordPress you can easily install Google Analytics using a plugin. I’ve used Yoast and All-in-One SEO Pack. Regardless which one you choose, the only thing you have to do is enter your Google Analytics tracking ID into the plugin itself.
Where is my Google Analytics Tracking ID?
Step 1. Go to the Admin section of your Analytics account and under the Property section select Tracking Info.
Step 2. Click Tracking Code and once the new window loads, copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID.
Now go back to your website and paste your Google Analytics Tracking Code in one of the plugins we mentioned above.
How to install Google Analytics directly in your site code?
You can easily install the GA tracking snippet in your website code even if you don’t have coding skills. Here is how to do it:
Step 1. Copy the Global Site tag snippet (in GA go to Admin>Tracking Info>Tracking Code)
Step 2. In your Dashboard in WordPress go to Appearence>Theme Editor. On the right select Theme Header.
Step 3. Just after the opening <head> tag paste the GA snippet and save changes.
How to install Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager?
If you have Google Tag Manager (GTM) installed on your website, you can easily connect your Analytics and GTM accounts. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. In Google Tag Manger go to Tags and then New
Step 2. Give it a name (I always use something simple yet descriptive such as Google Analytics)Step 3. In the Tag Configuration section select Google Analytics: Universal Analytics
Step 4. Now you have to create a new variable so that this tag sends data to your Analytics account. From the Select Settings Variable dropdown menu select New Variable and set it like in the screenshot below.
Step 5. You are almost done. You just have to set a trigger for this tag. Under Triggering select All Pages and save your newly created tag.
Once you publish your GTM container Analytics will start tracking your website traffic and the behavior of its visitors. In the next article will dig deeper into Google Analytics and its features.