Google Analytics can be an incredibly powerful tool when set up correctly. We’re going to help you set up Google Analytics for your website and go over how this data can actually be beneficial for your business.
Data is great, but data without action is useless
When you understand this data, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on a lot of things for your website. To help answer those questions you will learn:
- Who your website visitors are
- What content is performing best on your website
- How visitors navigate through your website
Once you understand these things, you’ll be able to make better decisions on how to improve your website for your visitors. You’ll also be able to set up tangible goals to help prove the ROI of your website, social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, and basically anything else you want to track!
I wish I could tell you it was as easy as that, but Google Analytics (like most Google platforms) has a bit of a learning curve. Most Google products have some much data and are so powerful that it’d be hard to make them incredibly easy to use.
But my goal of this blog/guide is to help make setting and understanding Google Analytics as easy as possible for you!
Before we dive in, I want to share a “Google Analytics Glossary” with you, and I advise you to check it out if you run into any words you’re not quite sure what they mean.
How to set up Google Analytics
Let’s be honest… Setting up Google Analytics correctly can be a little tough, but once you have it set up, you won’t have to worry about it again, and you’ll be gaining valuable insights that’ll last forever.
Here are the steps to set up Google Analytics correctly:
Step 1: Set up Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free tool from Google that is what you will use to apply “tags” to your website.
Google Tag Manager or GTM takes all of your data on your website and sends it to other platforms that you link, such as Google Analytics.
It also allows you to easily update and add tags to your Google Analytics code without having to manually write code on the back end which will help you save time and a lot of work down the road.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create an account on the Google Tag Manager dashboard.
Enter your account name and select the correct country.
Then you’ll set up your container. Chances are you’ll want to use your website domain name, and then select “Web”. Click “Create”, view the Terms of Service, and agree to those terms. You’ll then be given the container’s installation code snippet.
This is the piece of code you’ll be pasting into your website’s back end in order to manage your tags. To do that, you’ll need to copy and place each piece of code on all pages of your website that you want to track. As the instructions say, you’ll need the first one in the header and the second after the opening of the body tags.
Most website builders will allow you to place code into their header and body easily.
If you’re using WordPress, you can make this process easy by installing and activating the Insert Headers and Footers plugin for WordPress. This will allow you to add any script to the Header and Footer throughout your entire website, but you only have to copy and paste it once.
Once you’ve added that code into the head and body, we’re ready to move onto the next step!
Step 2: Create Google Analytics Account
Now you’ll need to create a Google Analytics account by signing up on the Google Analytics setup page.
You’ll want to click “click measuring” and then enter your account name in the account details and click next.
This next part is important! Make sure that you click “advanced options” and select “Create a Universal Analytics property”. You can leave the option selected that you want to create a Google Analytics 4 property too.
Ever since Google Analytics 4 has been released, Google has been trying to push it more than the traditional Universal Google Analytics, however, you need the Universal version to do a lot of things that Google Analytics 4 won’t do
Once you complete all of these steps, accept the Terms and Service in order to get your tracking ID.
The tracking ID is a string of numbers that tells Google Analytics to send analytics data to you. It’s a number that looks like UA-000000-1. The first set of numbers (000000) is your personal account number and the second set (1) is the property number associated with your account.
This is unique to your website and your personal data. Don’t share the tracking ID with anyone publicly.
Once you have the tracking ID, it’s time to move onto the next step!
Step 3: Set up analytics tag with Google Tag Manager
Finally, we can set up Google Analytics tracking tags for your website! Head over to your Google Tag Manager dashboard and click on the “Add a new tag” button.
You’ll be directed to a page where you can create your new website tag, and you’ll see that there is “Tag Configuration” and “Triggering”.
Tag Configuration is communicating between the data collected by the tag and Google Analytics.
Triggering is defining the type of data you want to collect.
Click on the “Tag Configuration” button to choose the type of tag you want to create.
You’ll want to choose the “Universal Analytics” option in order to create a tag for Google Analytics.
Once you click on that, you’ll be able to choose the type of data you want to track. Do that and then go to “Google Analytics Setting” and choose “New Variable…” from the dropdown menu.
You’ll then be directed to a new window where you’ll be able to enter in your Google Analytics tracking ID. This will send your website’s data straight into Google Analytics where you’ll be able to view it later.
Once this is done, head to the “Triggering” section in order to select the data you want to send to Google Analytics.
As with the “Configuration,” click on the Triggering button in order to be sent to the “Choose a trigger” page. From here, click on All pages so it sends data from all your web pages.
Now simply click on Save and voila! You have a new Google Tag tracking and sending data to your Google Analytics page about your website!
We’re not done yet, though. You still need to set up your goals.
Step 4: Set up Google Analytics goals
Google Analytics has a bunch of great tools and data right out of the box but In order to get the full power from Google Analytics, you need to help point it in the right direction with what they call “Goals”.
A goal is basically a way to track anything and (just about) everything you could want on a website!
Start by clicking on the Admin button in the bottom left corner.
Once you do, you’ll be sent to another window where you’ll be able to find the “Goals” button.
Click on that button and you’ll then be taken to the “Goals” dashboard where you’ll be able to create a new goal.
From here, you’ll be able to look through different goal templates to see if one matches your intended goal. You’ll also need to choose the type of goal you want. They include:
Destination: The user reaches a specific page.
Duration: The user spends a minimum amount of time on your website.
Pages/Screens per session: The user visits a minimum amount of pages in one session.
Event: The user clicks a link or plays a video.
Once completed, make sure to save the goal and Google Analytics will automatically start tracking!
Step 5: Link to Google Search Console
This is one of the most overlooked and forgotten steps that we’re going to have for you today!
With Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see when Google analyzes your website, view external links to your website and look at search queries your website is being found for!
To set it up, click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner of the main dashboard of Google Analytics.
Then click on Property Settings in the middle column.
Scroll down and click on “Adjust search console.”
Here you’ll be able to start the process of adding your website to Google Search Console by clicking the “Add” button.
Next click on the “Add a site to Search Console” button.
From here, you’ll be able to add a new website to Google Search Console. Enter your website’s name and click “Add”.
Follow the directions to add the HTML code to your site. Once you’re done with that, click on “Save” and you should be taken back to Google Analytics!
Your data won’t appear right away so be sure to check back later to see your Google Search Console data.
All of this data and information in front of you can be a little overwhelming, so if you haven’t already, we recommend checking out our “Google Analytics Glossary” to help you navigate a little easier!