Have you heard about all the powerful insights Google Analytics can churn out for your business? (Here are just 3 Google Analytics insights you can learn about your business.)
If you haven’t heard about Google Analytics, it’s an amazing, free tool you can use to track everything related to your website visitor data – from how many, to where they’re coming from, to what they’re doing on your website (and what’s making them leave!).
If you have heard of Google Analytics and its powerful insights, you know that installing it on your site is a must do item.
If you’re a WordPress user, I have a secret for you: installing Google Analytics on your WordPress site involves very little code. We can install Google Analytics easily. Sound good? Let’s get to it.
1. Sign Up for a Google Analytics Account
If you don’t already have one, head on over to Google Analytics and grab yourself an account. It’s totally free! Already have a Gmail, YouTube, Google Apps for Business or other Google-related email address for your business? You can use that to sign up.
Once you’ve created a new Google account or signed in with your existing Google account, Google Analytics will ask you to sign up.
On the next screen, make sure you keep the Web Site button pressed, as installing the tracking code for an App is a bit of a different animal.
Next up, we’re choosing a tracking method. Go ahead and keep the Classic Analytics selected. (Universal Analytics is currently in beta and isn’t quite fully functional just yet.)
Now here’s the part where we start to tell Google Analytics a little more about the website we’re trying to track:
What’s this about a property versus an account? Google does explain what they are in the screenshot above, but the diagram below gives more insight into the structure of property versus account:
The account you have is tied to the email address you signed up with. Under the account, we’re setting up your website as property. You can have multiple properties associated with one account. Under that, you use profiles to filter your data in different ways for one web property/website.
You can give multiple users access to your account or to your profiles (if say, you wanted to outsource the data tracking piece of your business or get some help configuring conversion tracking and other more advanced Google Analytics capabilities).
So back to the setup:
Website Name: this is simply that – your website name. A lot of people just type in the URL of the website here for naming purposes.
Website URL: enter the URL of the site you’re going to track.
Industry Category: this helps Google learn more about how different industries are using Google Analytics and potentially serve up more relevant information for you. Select the industry that best matches this website.
Reporting Time Zone: Pay attention to this one! You cannot change this later. This will determine where your ‘day’ starts and ends in Google Analytics for counting visitors & everything else.
Account Name: If you have just one business and only ever plan on having one business, this can be the same name as your main website name. Think business name = account name, whereas website names = property names. If your needs are simple enough, these are often the same.
Data Sharing: this is your option – do you want to share your traffic data with Google? These are selected by default.
Hit the blue Get Tracking ID button and Google will give you a pop-up to accept those terms and conditions. Pay attention to these – among the terms includes disclosing to visitors that you’re using tracking cookies on your website.
Now you’re finally ready to install the Google Analytics tracking code on your WordPress site.
2. Installing the Google Analytics Tracking Code on Your WordPress Website
Once you hit the blue Get Tracking ID button and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Service, you’ll see your Tracking ID displayed on this complicated page:
Note that your Tracking ID will be a different number than displayed in this screenshot, but since you’re a WordPress user – you don’t have to worry about anything other than that UA- number at the top!
Let me introduce you to my favorite WordPress plugin ever, the Joost Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.
There are a lot of Google Analytics plugins out there, but this one is my favorite because not only does it install Google Analytics in the recommended section of your site (in the header) but it also comes with easy to configure options for a more advanced setup (if and when you need it).
Let’s walk through how to install the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. Once signed in to your WordPress dashboard, head to Plugins > Add New.
Search for “Google Analytics for WordPress”. Hit the details link under the plugin description to verify that it’s the one developed by Joost de Valk (look for his name as the author in the blue box on the right).
Hit the red Install Now button above the blue box. Once installed, hit Activate.
Note that in the screenshot above it says Latest Version Installed where your Install Now button will be because I already have this setup on my site.
Now we just have to link up your Google Analytics account with this plugin to start tracking your website visitor data. Head to Settings > Google Analytics in your Dashboard. Enter that UA- tracking ID in the plugin’s settings:
Then hit the blue Save Google Analytics Settings button and you’re all set!
3. Block Your Internal Traffic from Showing Up in Google Analytics
Follow this optional section if you need to block internal traffic from showing up in Google Analytics..
Ever worry about work on your website, whether it’s content updates, new pages, or a redesign could be messing with your traffic data? You can actually apply a filter in Google Analytics to block that traffic out – but Joost’s plugin eliminates the need for creating anything custom and makes it easy to block your internal traffic.
Simply make sure Show Advanced Settings is checked in the first gray box then scroll down to Advanced Settings:
Select Administrator from the drop down menu for which type of users to ignore. Once you hit save, this will keep any internal traffic from messing with your Google Analytics data.
4. Ensuring Data Accuracy: What to Watch Out For
The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin makes installing Google Analytics on WordPress a super-simple process. However, there are a few things about your WordPress site that might make your data a little wonky if left unchecked.
There is one scenario that will mess this up: you already have Google Analytics setup on your site, just not with this plugin. What to do about it?
Check that you don’t already have another Google Analytics plugin installed. Head to Plugins > Installed Plugins and check for any that are already doing this for you. Make sure to uninstall those before or right after you install Joost’s plugin.
Check to make sure your UA- code isn’t already added somewhere in your theme’s settings. Check your Theme Options under Appearance or other setting areas where your theme lets you add code to your header.
Why can’t you just use the default Google Analytics settings offered by your theme? Because often they don’t install it correctly (in your website’s header) but almost more importantly, your theme doesn’t even come close to making it as easy as the Joost plugin does to make extra configurations to your Google Analytics tracking without having to actually edit the code. (like blocking your internal traffic, tracking outbound clicks, cross-domain tracking and more).
5. Analytics Visitor Data Check
The final step of installing Google Analytics on your WordPress site is to make sure Google Analytics is actually receiving your website visitor data.
Log into your Google Analytics account and head to your reporting screen. See any traffic data? (keep in mind Google Analytics can take up to 24 hours to start counting visits).
Another place to check: Head to Admin and select the web property (website) you’re trying to setup tracking for. You’ll see a status similar to this one if the tracking code isn’t setup properly:
Of course, remember to make sure to wait 24 hours before getting concerned that your code might not be setup right.
When it’s working, you’ll see a green checkmark to indicate Google Analytics is receiving data. Once you have that green checkmark, you’re all setup! Fairly simple, right?
Over to You
Do you have Google Analytics installed on your site? Do you have a WordPress site? Have you used the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin in the past? Did you find it easy to use? Did you find this Google Analytics installation guide for WordPress helpful? Let me know in the comments!