So you have set up your new blog and installed your plugins. Now what? Now, you need to set up Google Analytics of course! This is a fantastic tool for giving you valuable insights into your readers and your site. Without analysing your stats you can’t learn and grow as a business owner. In order to be a successful business owner, you need to know your audience, what is working well for you and what you need to work a bit harder on. Google Analytics is the tool that with help you with this.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is, in essence, a great way to stalk your readership.
It is a website tracking service that allows you to see:
- Your website traffic such as page views (how many individual pages a reader goes to on your site) and sessions (the number of individual readers your site receives)
- Conversions (or goals). This is how many people complete an action on your site that you want to see, such as clicking on a certain link or filling out your contact form
- Reader behaviours such as how long they stick around for, what they are clicking on, how many pages they are visiting
- Where your readers are coming from. Not just social media sites, you can also see literally where they are coming from such as United States, England, France or even Khasakstan.
- How they interact with your site (sharing, clicking on links etc)
- Plus a whole lot more
It is a free tool, that when analysed properly, can be a powerful insight into your reader, what you need to work on and what is working really well for you.
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Why you need Google Analytics
Understanding your readership and site users is a necessary step in order to help your site grow. You need to know if people are actually visiting your site, where they come from and what content they enjoy. That way, you can keep on creating you know they will love and you know exactly which social media or traffic drivers you should focus on.
For example, you may think that your readers will love a certain aspect of your site and spend a load of time creating content. But, actually, they enjoy another little nook of your site better. If you didn’t have any way of knowing this you will continue to create content that your readers aren’t really engaging in.
The moral of the story: if you know where your readers are hanging out on your site you can then create more similar content so they stick around longer.
Analytics also enables you to measure if the content you are creating is moving you closer to achieving your goals.
Plus, it’s free so why wouldn’t you give it a go?
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How Google Analytics works
When you add Google Analytics to your site, it adds a piece of code so that it can gather data on how your site is performing. The tracking code gets set off when someone lands on your site and their session begins (dun dun duunnn). When properly installed, the tracking code should be on every page of your site, this way each visitor can be tracked throughout your site.
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Time to Install Google Analytics
Go to analytics.google.com and sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have one, you will need to make one. You will then get taken to your homepage.
Click on admin -> the account drop-down -> choose the account you want to add your website to.
In the middle property column, click on the drop-down -> create new property
Fill in your site deets
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Verifying your site with Google
Next, you will need to verify your site. It looks overwhelming but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks.
Go to manage property -> verify this property then choose one of the verification options.
You can either use the HTML File Upload, Domain Name Provider, HTML Tag, Google Analytics Tracking Code and a few other options. I have always used the HTML Tag because I personally find that the easiest. To do this simply copy exactly the Meta Tag that will be provided to you. Only the numbers like shown in the example on the page.
Go back to your WordPress site. Go to tools -> Available Tools-> paste the tag into Google Search Console.
Go back to Google Analytics and press verify.
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How to Add the Google Analytics code to your WordPress site
Now you need to add the Google Analytics code to your site. If you are with WordPress the easiest method is using the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin (which you can grab here). This is a powerful tool that is easy to use.
Upload the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin. Make sure you activate it or you can’t go any further.
Next, you need to connect your Google Analytics account to the plugin. You can do this by either Authenticating your account or manually entering your UA (user account) code.
Authenticating your account with Google:
To do this scrolling down your plugins on your sidebar in the dashboard. Choose Insights -> Settings.
Click Authenticate with your Google Account. It will then ask you to sign in. Once you have signed in you need to choose which property (website), choose your website and follow the prompts.
However, if you wish to manually enter your UA Code follow these steps:
If you want to enter your UA code you need to click on the Manually enter your UA code.
Go back to your Google Analytics account and click on admin in the main menu -> property settings in the centre column.
Copy the code under tracking ID, be sure to include the UA portion and paste the code into your plugin.
Next, you will need to add your website to search engines and add your XML sitemap.
Things to note + some tips
- It will take 12-24 hours to start seeing data appearing
- To see the default data, head back to Google Analytics and click on the ‘Reporting’ link
- Data is only displayed from the date you installed Google Analytics, so the earlier you install it, the better
- Try to get into a habit of analysing your data regularly (maybe not every couple of hours though) so you can stay on top of the trends on your site
- Have a play around with the MonsterInsights plugin. Explore all the tracking statistics and become familiar with them. The more you play around with them, the more insights you will gain.
Now you are ready to set up your own Google Analytics for your site. Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions, make sure you leave ’em in the comments.
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