18 Jan 4 Simple Steps to Get Started With Google Analytics
I’m here to help you setup Google Analytics! Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google to allow you to track what happens after visitors reach your website.
Once you install the Google Analytics tracking code on your site, you will have access to a ton of insights like how many users visit your site, what pages they visit, how long they linger, and more.
Why You Need Google Analytics
Get Started with Google Analytics
Step 1: Create a FREE Analytics Account
To get started with Google Analytics, you first need a Google login and to create a Google Analytics account. Google does a great job walking your through this process so I will link to their help article down below.
If you have already setup Google Analytics, jump to Step 4, to make sure it’s configured correctly.
Step 2: Install Google Analytics Tracking Code on Your Website
After you create your account you need to install the tracking code on your website. The tracking code can be found by clicking the Admin item in the left navigation.
Click on Tracking Info, which is found in the middle property column, and then click on Tracking Code from the list of items.
Your tracking ID will display to the right.
Most modern website content management systems will allow you to simply copy/paste the tracking ID directly into a field within their platform.
I have included a list of the most popular CMS instructions to help you add Google Analytics to your website.
- Wordpress Websites: Use this Plugin!
- Squarespace Website
- Weebly Website
- Wix Website
- GoDaddy Website
- Shopify Website
If you’re using a CMS that asks for the entire code snippet, simply copy/paste the Global Site Tag. If you’re working with a developer, send them the entire snippet as they will be able to extract the tracking ID if that’s all they need from the code.
Using Google Tag Manager (optional)
Or you can use Google Tag Manager and set up a tag for Google Analytics. If you want to use Google Tag Manager to add Google Analytics tracking code to your website, I’ve linked you to resources for that method down below. Google Tag Manager is the best way to manage multiple tags for all your tracking systems like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Pixel, etc. among other very cool things but I digress.
Step 3: Verify Google Analytics is Setup Correctly
After you have added the Google Analytics tracking code to your website, or if your web developer has confirmed he or she has added the code to your site, double check your source code or use the Tag Assistant by Google plugin in Chrome to verify the code is on your site. You will want the code in the <head> of your website.
Google recommends the code live in the head of the site, not the <body> of the site. It will still track website visitor if the code is in the body, but you will not be able to verify your site in Google Search Console using Google Analytics if it’s not in the head. There are other methods to verify Search Console if you have no option, but to add Google Analytics to the <body> section.
After the account is set up and the code is on your site, go back into your Google Analytics account and make sure your account is configured correctly.
These are the areas:
Within the property settings, you will want to make sure your property name is correct, which is usually the name of your website and the default url is correct. Specifically, select whether your site is using http or https protocol and if your site uses the www or non-www subdomain. Next, Select an industry category that closely matches your business.
Scroll down and enable demographics and interest reports and, lastly, click Adjust Search Console to link Google Analytics to Search Console – This will be very helpful later when you want to analyze organic search keyword queries.
Under Property Linking, make sure you have your Google Ads or Adsense setup to link to Google Analytics. This will be very helpful to see website metrics next to your Ad spend metrics within Google Analytics.
Next, go to View Settings. Go ahead and give your view a name, or it’s perfectly ok to keep the default name. Check again to make sure your website URL is correctly labeled with the right http or https protocol and the www or non-www subdomain. Select the correct time zone country and most importantly, click the box to Exclude all hits from known bots and spider. This will allow Google to scrub your data to exclude known spam from your data.
Lastly, if you have site search enabled on your site, make sure you turn on Site Search Tracking and configure the query parameter so you can have a separate report of the searches that take place on your site.
Setting up goals allows you to analyze your site in a more strategic way using the Conversions reports to help you understand what actions people take on your website.
Goals can be booking a reservation, requesting an estimate, contacting you for more information, playing a video and a whole lot more.
If you have an Ecommerce store setup on your site then use Ecommerce Tracking, not goal tracking, in order to analyze revenue, transactions and more.
Goal tracking and Ecommerce tracking allow you to know what marketing sources (organic search, paid ads, social media, referral visitors or direct visitors) are converting on your site. Whether that’s converting into a lead or a sale, it’s very important to measure the effectiveness of your time and marketing budget.
Learn even More from Google on Setting up Goals.
In my opinion, filters are one of the most underutilized features of Google Analytics. Filters allow you to transform your data in a way that makes it easier and better for you to understand.
However, the biggest caveat to Filters is it will only affect your data starting on the date the filter is setup and going forward in time.
Your filter will not apply to historic data. Therefore, it’s very important that you have a plan of what data you want to filter and setup the filter on your new account. If you’re looking to filter historic data then I recommend using a custom segment rather than the filter functionality.
Another important note is the filter will alter your data permanently in the view it’s associated with. Therefore, I recommend if you’re using filters on your account to create two views initially, the first view with no filter and the second view with the filter enabled. This way you will always have a backup of raw, unfiltered website data at your disposal.
All of those disclaimers aside, what can you filter?
The most common use of filters is to either exclude or include traffic from specific IP addresses or hostnames. This is common for smaller organizations that access their site alot as well as larger organization that require their employees to access their site a lot and want to filter out their own website use from their website analytics.
There are alot of other interesting things you can do with filters above and beyond filtering out traffic to your site.
Learn even More from Google About Setting Up Filters.
If you have made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully setup Google Analytics on your website.
Please comment below if you have any additional questions.
My goal is to create more valuable information to help you demystify digital marketing, seo and online strategy.