If you're ready to learn how to setup Google Analytics on your website, you probably already know why you need it. But here's a quick rundown of the reasons you should implement it now, (other than "Knowledge is power!" "Data is beautiful!" "Know your numbers!" bla, bla, all true, bla). You need Analytics:
- To know your website is getting traffic and how much
- To track conversion rates—both purchases and actions you want visitors to take
- To identify issues and any problem areas that might cause visitors to leave
- To find out where your visitors are coming from, and which channels and campaigns are working best to get them there
- To see how effective your SEO strategy is and if you've taken a hit from a recent algorithm update
And there's a lot more information Analytics collects, like demographics, device preferences and purchase funnel flow that will help you improve your site and get to know your customer better. We'll cover all that later, but today we're going to get you setup with the basics of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Account Structure
Here are a few terms about your account structure you should know, straight from Google. This is how Analytics organizes your information.
An account is your access point for Analytics, and the top-most level of organization.
A property is a website, mobile application, or device (e.g. a kiosk or point-of-sale device.) An account can contain one or more properties.
A view is your access point for reports; a defined view of data from a property. You give users access to a view so they can see the reports based on that view's data. A property can contain one or more views.
You'll see these three on the Admin dashboard in your Analytics account.
And don't sweat it if this is all a bit confusing at first. Once you start using Analytics regularly, it will all start making sense.
In order to use Analytics, you have to create an account and then drop a code snippet onto every page that you want to collect data on. And you do want to track every page. Even if you think data on a particular page won't be useful. If you don't track a page, it won't appear as a part of your customer's conversion path and it will throw off your traffic data if someone visits it.
But these days, most CMSs (content management systems like Wordpress, Squarespace, etc) offer ways to install Analytics so it's applied to every page in one step. I've included those instructions below.
Again, don't sweat it—this is all easier than it sounds. Ok, let's get started!
- Create a Google Analytics Account (if you have a Gmail account for your business, use that).
- Log in to your Google Analytics account.
- Click the Admin button in the Google Analytics toolbar (the orange gear in the menu on the left).
- Choose Website.
- Add an account name, like the name of your business.
- Fill in the information on your website name, URL, timezone and industry.
- Click Get Tracking ID.
Here's what you should see up to this point ...
When you click Get Tracking ID, you should see something like this ... (This ID and snippet are for a dummy account - don't share this information)
If you accidentally close the Tracking ID Pop-up, you can find it again ...
- Go back into Admin.
- Under Property, click on Tracking Info.
- Choose Tracking Code.
Now copy the code snippet found under the Website Tracking Heading.
How you install Analytics on your site depends on which CMS you use. Below are instructions for a few of the most popular. These instructions involve installing Analytics to the templates, and don't require you to install the code on every page:
There are several ways to install Analytics in Wordpress, the steps below involved adding the snippet to the header.php file. Here's a good video on how to find and edit your header.php file.
- Go to Appearance.
- Choose Editor.
- Open the header.php file.
- Paste the code snippet right before the ending </head> tag (as in image below) or after the opening <body> tag.
Squarespace has an Analytics integration, so you don't need to copy the snippet. Just copy the Tracking ID found in the same window. Then,
- Go to your Squarespace account.
- In the Home Menu, click Settings, and then click Advanced under the Website heading.
- Click External Services.
- In the Google Analytics Account Number box, enter your tracking ID for your site.
To install Analytics on WIX:
- Click Domains from the top right of the user panel.
- Choose the domain connected to the site you want to track.
- Click the Analytics tab.
- Paste the snippet into the Google Analytics Code field. There should be no extra spaces before the code.
- Click Submit.
Verify it's working
Once you've added Analytics to your site, you want to verify that it's working properly. You'll do this by sending "test traffic" to your site.
- Go back into Admin and Tracking Code under Properties.
- Click the "Send Test Traffic" button.
- A window of your site should appear.
- Click on Real-Time in the left hand menu above Admin.
- Click on Overview.
- Look for your test traffic.
If you don't see any traffic:
- Don't panic. Give Analytics some time to catch up (that's always good advice when it comes to Google Analytics).
If it still doesn't appear after a few minutes, go back and check your info:
Do you have the correct URL under Property Settings?
Do you have the correct Analytics tracking code implemented?
Is the Analytics tracking code placed before the closing </head> section or after the opening <body> tag if you added it manually?
If you still can't see your test traffic, look online for any solutions to the issue related to your CMS. Then, consider reaching out for professional help. Once Analytics is installed properly, it can take up to 24 hours to start to see traffic and other data.