One of the first things that any website admin should do is hook up their site to Google Analytics. If you want to keep an eye on your users movements around your website it is imperative you use this excellent free resource from the get go. In this Google Analytics WordPress article we will show you how to install, set-up and use this essential tool.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free online tool that allows you to look at how users interact with your website. It helps you to keep track of how many people click on your web pages, where they come from, which technologies they are using, how long they spend on the site and much more.
By studying the information provided, website owners can identify which areas of their website are performing better than others. This is great for identifying pain points for users so the appropriate changes can be made on your website. It even shows real time analytics so you can see who is currently on your site and what they are looking at live.
This free resource also offers eCommerce reporting allowing the website owner to track transactions and sales performance. If you are using Google Adwords then Google Analytics integrates seamlessly so users can track online campaigns.
Why use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is super simple to use and can be set-up in minutes. The interface is intuitive and the amount of useful data is vast. This means you can understand your website users much better. You need to know how people interact with your website. This is essential if you want your traffic to grow.
In depth reporting means there is almost no limit with the amount of information you can collect. Google Analytics allows you to customize your reports. You can then get to the information that is most important to you with just a couple of clicks.
For many website admins, integration with other tools is high up their priorities when using web tools. It probably goes without saying that Google Analytics integrates with other Google tools such as Google Adwords. It also integrates with WordPress so you can see user data within your WordPress admin area. This can done with the Google Analytics WordPress plugin from MonsterInsights.
While the interface offered is highly intuitive it is still handy to be able to refer to instructions. In depth yet simple documentation is available including video tutorials. Also, because the software is used by millions, there is a fantastic online community who are always ready to help. Amazingly this is all free! Google don’t charge a single penny for this amazing tool. There is also a premium service available but you will find everything you need to know in the free version. So let’s get started!
Step 1: Sign up to Google Analytics
First up you need to open an account on the Google Analytics sign up page.
If you already have a google account you can sign in with that. Alternatively create an account using the Create Account link. Once you are signed in to your google account, click on the “start using google analytics” sign up link.
Once signed in to Google Analytics you can set up your first account. You can have up to 100 Accounts and within each of them you can have 50 properties (websites). To create the account first pick if it is for a website or mobile app. Obviously for our WordPress website this will be website. Fill in the relevant details to create your account including your website name and url.
Click on Get Tracking ID, agree to the terms and you will be given your unique tracking ID. You don’t have to do anything else in Google Analytics at this point.
Step 2: Install the Google Anaylics WordPress Plugin
The most popular and easiest to use Google Analytics WordPress Plugin available is developed by MonsterInsights. Even better, it is available to download free at WordPress.org. If you go for the MonsterInsights Pro Version then the following set up steps are the same. The Pro version has additional ecommerce and ads tracking features.
So we will install the free plugin first as you would install any WordPress plugin. After Installation you will have a new menu item in your WordPress admin called Insights. We will click on this and go into the Insights settings where we will click the Authenticate with your Google account button.
The Authentication wizard will pop up and we will hit next to go through the steps. The first step is to click the “Click To Get Google Code” button.
Click on the google account you want to connect to. From the next pop up click Allow.
You will now be given a unique code that you need to copy.
Paste this code into the MonserInsights popup where it says “Copy the Google code into the box below and click next”. Then click next.
You will now be asked to select your profile from a drop down list. Select your website, click Next and you are done! You have now set up the Google Analytics WordPress plugin.
Viewing reports with the Google Analytics WordPress Plugin
Google Analytics will now start to collect data from your users. The best way to view this data is from your Google Anaytics account. Google themselves offer lots of good guides on how to view your websites stats. A good place to start is this Google Analytics beginners guide.
While your Google Analytics account is the best tool available to you for looking at your stats, the Google Analytics WordPress plugin is still useful to grab some quick stats from within your WordPress admin. Click on Insights > Reports in your admin menu and you will be shown an overview of your recent stats. Remember if you have just set everything up you won’t get any stats right away.
Slightly hidden in the Insights settings are a number of excellent options that will help you adjust how to gather your stats with the plugin. From your admin menu click Insights > Setings and then the Tracking tab at the top.
So there we have it. You have now set up the Google Analytics WordPress plugin for your website. You can now view stats within your own WordPress admin and also with your Google Analytics account. It’s important to study your stats carefully and make appropriates changes based on the stats. If a page is not performing well then dig deeper into your stats and find out why. When used properly this tool can open new doors for you and your website.
If you need further help setting up your WordPress website you can follow our Building your first website with WordPress guide.