How To Use Google Analytics
When it comes to tracking visitors to your website, Google Analytics is the defacto standard. It is a free service that Google launched in 2005, and when paired with Google’s Webmaster Tools dashboard, you can glean a lot of data about your website traffic. Not only can you see how many people come to your website, but also how long they visit, which pages get the most clicks, and which search queries draw in the most traffic.
In this article, we will look at some of the options for understanding your website traffic and how to leverage that data.
Installing Google Analytics
- Create your account
First, visit the Google Analytics website and click Sign In in the upper right. Choose Google Analytics from the menu. If this is your first time, click the Sign Up button.
From here, fill in the fields. Enter the property name (can be anything), your website’s URL, and your time zone.
Once complete, click the blue button at the bottom to get your tracking ID. On the next screen, you will find your new tracking ID in the form of UA-xxxxxxxx-x. Make note of this ID.
- Install Analytics on your website
Now that you have your tracking ID you need to install the Google Analytics script into WordPress. Once logged into WordPress, click Plugins > Add New from the left admin panel. Perform a search for Google Analyticator and install it. Once installed, “Google Analytics” will now be a link in the admin menu. Click on the link to set it up.
Proceed through the initial setup without authenticating. On the next screen, select Enabled from the dropdown and enter your tracking ID in the appropriate field. Go ahead and click Save and you’re done!
The Google Analytics Dashboard
Once you have your property set up, go back to the Analytics website and click on the Reporting tab at the top. You will notice several options in the left column for viewing different reports and data sets. We will review each section below.
It is possible to create your own custom dashboard within Google Analytics. This let’s you create your own custom view to display only the reports that you wish to see. You may start off with a basic dashboard provided by Google, or start from scratch and create a blank canvas upon with you can build.
In the Intelligence Events section, you can create events and notifications. For example, let’s say you created a new landing page on your WordPress website and want to know when people land on that page specifically. With Intelligence Reports, you can create alerts for clicks, views, bounce rates, and more. When a specific value reaches a trigger point, you can set up an email alert to notify you. There are tons of choices, so feel free to experiment and create as many events as you like. Simply click the Create Custom Alert link in the main right panel and fill in the form to configure your alert.
Ever wondered who is on your website right now? With the Real Time report, you can gain valuable insight into the live traffic on your website such as location, events, content, and traffic sources.
The overview page shows you how many visitors on on your website at the moment, as well as a history of the last 30 minutes. You may also view the top pages and referral sources for current visitors.
The Audience reports are extremely useful in understanding who is visiting your website. It goes well beyond clicks and bounce rates, but right down to demographics like age and gender and their general location. You may also view things like how many new visitors you have compared to returning visitors.
Another useful metric is the ability to determine what types you technology people are using when visiting your website. You can view whether they are using a desktop computer, mobile phone, and which type of browser. All of this data can you you ensure that your website is meeting the needs of those who are on your website.
Acquisition reports give you critical insight into where your website traffic comes from. Whether people visit your website directly, from organic search, paid clicks, or referral sources, you can get a good idea how people are finding your website.
The queries section is also a great way to determine what keywords your website is ranking for. It shows you how many impressions your listing has and how many people actually click through. The landing pages section will show you which pages on your website get the most traffic.
The behavior reports give you valuable insight into what people are doing once they do land on your website. It allows you to view which pages people frequent the most, which pages they visit next, and which pages people exit. With this information, you can determine content popularity and determine which content is failing to engage visitors.
These conversion reports are more geared towards ecommerce. You can track time to purchase, product performance, and sales funnels. You may also create goals such as newsletter subscriptions and download tracking. There are plenty of options, so again, take time to explore and try things out.
Google Analytics is a free tool that every webmaster should be using. From traffic data and audience demographics to site behavior and conversion tracking, there is a wealth of data that can be used to ensure your website is meeting your goals.