Google Analytics is one of the most widely used and free website statistic applications available. It allows webmasters to effectively track website visitors reporting on a number of key metrics, including but not limited to:
- Total visitor numbers and page views
- Time spent on site
- Most viewed content
- Geographic location of visitors
- How visitors arrived at the site including keywords used and referral websites
There are many more metrics Google Analytics reports on, when you first login to Analytics it’s highly recommended that you browse through the various tabs to help familiarize you with the type of information you can retrieve. Once you are familiar with Analytics you can then proceed to look further into custom filters and reports to help get specific data you want to see.
Setting up Google Analytics is a very simple process, follow the below to steps to begin tracking visitors on your website:
Sign up for Google analytics
Navigate to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and click the ‘Create Account’ button in the top right. This will then take you to a Google login page where you can login with a Google account you already use for other services such as Gmail or Google+. If you do not have a Google account, you should navigate to http://accounts.google.com and create one before signing up to Analytics.
Create a new Analytics Account
Upon first logging into Google Analytics you will see a welcome page with a brief overview on how to set up Analytics, click the button on the right named ‘Sign Up’ to proceed to the account creation page – on this page you will setup the Analytics code to work on the website you want to track.
Setting up the Account for a Website
When on the account creation page it should be automatically defaulted to track a website and set up to use ‘Universal Analytics’, you should leave these as they are.
Once checking the above is set up correctly, you should proceed to set up your ‘web property.’ This is the section where you will fill in more information regarding the site you wish to track. Check out the screenshot below to see how it should be completed:
Once you have set up the basic information displayed above (obviously replacing mentions of Get Busy Media with your own website), you should click the ‘Get Tracking ID’ button which will take you to more settings and access to the code that will need to be placed on your website. The extra settings are optional and include things like ‘remarketing’ and linking Analytics with your other Google accounts such as Web Master Tools. There is no need to set any of this up at the moment, as these can easily be completed at a later date by navigating to ‘Admin’ found in the top right of any page within Analytics.
Installing the Google Analytics Code
Installing Analytics is easy; once you have the code supplied you simply need to paste it into the head section of your website. If you are using a CMS, such as WordPress, there are plugins available that will make this process even easier, for example the ‘Google Analytics for WordPress’ plugin – the benefit of using a plugin like this is that it further customizes the Analytics code which allows you to automatically track extra things that are not usually included, for example:
- Clicks on Outbound links
- How many users login
- Authors with the most viewed posts
- Most viewed tags
If you do not want to use a plugin, or are not using a CMS the code needs to be pasted between the opening and closing ‘head’ tags on every page you want to track – see below for an example:
Once the Google Analytics code has been installed on your site, data should begin to show within 24 hours. If for any reason data does not show within this time frame, try some of the following trouble shooting steps:
- Download ‘Edit This Cookie’ for Google Chrome or Firefox. Once installed use it to check that the GA cookie is being set, Google Analytics cookies are _utma, _utmb, _utmc and _utmz.
If they are not being set then there is most likely a problem with the code you pasted. Code can sometimes break when it is pasted into a word processor like Microsoft Word – if you stored the code in one of these programs before placing it on your site, try pasting it directly into your site instead.
- If cookies are being placed on your site, ensure the UA-Number within the analytics code on your site, matches the number within Analytics – the UA number looks like: UA-5130384-28
If you are still having problems with Analytics after ensuring the above two points are not the problem; feel free to ask for help in the comments!