How To: Setup Google Analytics
In my recent article series entitled “Why You’re Not Gettin’ Any”, I discussed why websites do not generate their full potential in terms of traffic and profit. Hands down, the most important aspect of this was the concept of gaining more visitors to your site. After all, visitors are ultimately the key to getting higher numbers of comments and replies, sponsors, donations, and ecommerce sales. But the sad fact for many is that they simply do not know how many visitors their site is getting. So how do you track your websites traffic?
Google Analytics is a truly amazing service that allows you to not only track how many visitors your website is getting, but where they are coming from and what they are viewing as well. This type of information can help you make decisions in regards to choosing a targeted audience, and ultimately bringing more people to your site.
Signing up for Analytics is a super easy process, and only requires a Google Account. Once you are in the Google Analytics control panel, adding a new domain to monitor is as simple as entering the domain name and timezone.
With that done, you simply need to generate the HTML tracking code and embed it in the <head></head> section of your website. From here, you will also make the decision as to what type of monitoring you would like. For example, you may opt to set up monitoring only the domain given (e.g. besttechie.net). However, you can also have it set up monitoring for sub-domains. In this scenario, you can have monitoring for besttechie.net and live.besttechie.net. Your last option is to set up monitoring for multiple TLDs (Top Level Domains) such as besttechie.net and besttechie.com. What you choose to select will ultimately vary based on your needs and the configuration of your site.
If you have a site that you coded on your own, or a site created with a product such as Adobe Dreamweaver, you will need to embed the HTML script on all of the pages that you want to track. If you are fortunate enough to be running a WordPress-based site, you can add this tracking code globally using an add-on such as Google Analytics for WordPress.
Because I use gpEasy for my personal website, I simply logged into my FTP server, and browsed to the “themes” folder, and edited “template.php” for the theme I was using. What this does is embed the script on every page on the site, meaning that even when I create new pages in the future, I will have nothing to worry about.
With this in mind, you simply need to wait for people to start visiting your site. From there, Analytics will start to build data about your site visitors; their browsing patterns, the search terms they use to find your site, what they look at on your site, etc. I have personally found that Analytics takes some time to begin to collect information, and is often going to show you reports that are anywhere between twelve and twenty-four hours old.
It’s also important to note that a more accurate representation of your visitors will be generated as you let more time pass and more people visit the site. Because of this, I opt to have Analytics automatically email me reports on a weekly basis. This can be done simply by clicking on the “Email” button towards the top of the dashboard window.
If you have any questions in regards to setting up Analytics – or any tech question for that matter – feel free to drop by the chat room or the forums.