Do you know how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from? Do you know how much time they are spending on your site and what content they are looking at?
It’s easy to get answers to these questions, and as a business-owner you are missing out on very valuable information if you aren’t looking at this regularly. Google Analytics is a free (and most widely-used) tool that you can use to track visitor and usage information for your website or mobile application.
You might already have Google Analytics set up if you got your website developed by a website agency or a freelance developer. If it is already set up, ask them to add you (give them your Google email id) as an administrator on the Google Analytics account of your website and you will get an email from Google with instructions on how to look at your data. If it is not set up, ask them to set it up for you.
Or set up Google Analytics yourself if you have the access to your website code or if you are using a CMS tool like WordPress. Here is what you need to do.
1. Register for a Google Analytics account
- Go to www.google.com/analytics and click on “Create an Account.”
- Sign in with any of your Google accounts (mail, Google+, etc.). If you don’t have a Google account then click on “Sign up” and create a new account.
2. Set up your website in Google Analytics
- Once you sign in, you will get this screen where you need to click on “Sign up”.
- Select “Website” or “App” based on what you want to track.
- Select “Classic Analytics” option and fill up the rest of the details about your website (or app).
- Click on “Get Tracking ID” when you are done.
3. Get tracking code
- On this screen, you will get your tracking id and tracking code.
- If you are using WordPress for your site, you should just install a Google Analytics plug in and enter this Tracking ID and you are done.
- If your site is custom built or uses some other CMS that does not have a plugin, copy the tracking code you just got on the Google Analytics page.
4. Add Google Analytics tracking code to your website
You need to add this tracking code to the <head> tag of every page you want to track. If you are not familiar with website structure or HTML then it will be better to ask someone who can help. If you got your website developed from someone else, send them this tracking code so they can update your website.
You can find more specific instructions on the Google Help page.
5. Test that it’s tracking correctly
Once the tracking code is added to your website, it might take a few hours before Google starts receiving your data.
- Log in to Google Analytics after a few hours or the next day, and click on Reporting.
- You will see a drop-down with a date range in the top-right corner of your screen. Select today’s date and click Apply.
- If your report shows some data (may not be much as it is only for less than a day) then your Google Analytics is set up correctly.
Now get back to your business, but visit Google Analytics after a few days to look at what’s going on on your website. Your data will be collected from the day you set up the tracking code, so it will be a few days before you can see meaningful information.
In this post we have only covered setting up basic tracking, but you can do a lot of advanced stuff with Google Analytics by setting up goals, conversions and events. There are other tracking tools also available (like KISSmetrics, Mixpanel, etc) that can give you user level information also. But just Google Analytics has a lot of data, so it’s a good idea to start here.
Now that Google Analytics is set up, what should you be looking at? Read the posts below for some basic metrics you should follow:
- Part 1: Visits, Page Views, Time, Bounce Rate, Pages
- Part 2: Sources, Referrals, Search Terms, and Campaigns
- Part 3: Language, Location, Mobile
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