Google Analytics is a free statistics tool developed by google that generates a report of all the website traffic and conversions categorized geographically. It is advanced enough to show all the user interactions and behavior with your website.
If you’ve done all the ground work in choosing the platform for setting up your website then it is time to start tracking the traffic and analyzing ways to improve the interactions of the audience with your website. To fulfill this purpose, we will see the importance of Google Analytics to your website and how to set it up in WordPress CMS.
Importance of Google Analytics
Perhaps the most helpful features present in any analytics software is available here which makes it very important like this huge set of data it presents:
Traffic: The number of visitors in any given time frame.
Traffic Source: The sources from where your visitors come. It may be from Google search, ads, backlinks, social media sites etc.
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Session duration and pages: The time spent by visitors and the number of pages they visited at that time.
Bounce rate: the number of visitors who immediately left.
Price: It’s free!
By looking at all this data, a webmaster can take data-driven decisions and think of steps to improve their website gradually in the route to achieving his goals.
Now let us see how to install it in your WordPress blog.
Step 1# Sign up with Google Analytics
The most basic requirement before getting started is a google account. If you don’t have one already, create one by visiting accounts.google.com.
Next, go to analytics.google.com and login.
You will be prompted to sign up for analytics. Just follow the steps to successfully create your account.
Once you have filled out all the information, click the get tracking id button and agree to the terms and services.
You will be given the tracking code. Copy this code so that it can be used in the steps to come.
Step 2# Installing the code in WordPress
Once the code is generated, it can be added to your WordPress site in 3 ways depending on your perspective of whichever is easier:
1. MonsterInsights plugin for WordPress
It is the most popular plugin to get Google Analytics in your website. Also known fondly as Yoast Google Analytics, it is one of the most powerful tools available for analytics and is easy to install and setup.
It is available in a free version and Pro version, the latter being more advanced offering features like Ecommerce tracking, Ads tracking etc.
In this tutorial, let us see how to setup the free version.
The first step is to install and activate the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin. To know about how to install plugins in WordPress, read the simple tutorials given in the help or browse in YouTube.
Once installed, a new menu item called “insights” will appear in the WordPress admin menu. Click on it and choose settings to configure the plugin.
The next step is to connect your Google account to the plugin. Click“Authenticate with your Google account”. A pop up will appear which will allow you to authenticate with your Google account. Click next.
Now click the“Click to get Google code” button. A message saying “MonsterInsights would like access to your Google Analytics data” will appear. Allow it. A window pops with the code that you need to copy.
Enter this code in the required space in previous Google menu and press next.
In the final step you will be asked to select your profile. Congrats! You have successfully installed Google Analytics to your website. To view reports, insights => reports.
2. Install code into WordPress theme
This is an advanced method which will require some knowledge with code. It has to be done every time you change the theme of your website.
There are two ways by which you can do this.
Adding the code directly into “header.php” file. Edit the php in the WordPress theme and insert the code copied in the first step after the <body> tag.
You can also add the code to theme’s functions.php file. This method will automatically add the code to all the pages of your WordPress site.
3. Using Insert Headers and Footers Plugin
The first step here is to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers Plugin.
After activating it, go to Settings => insert headers and footers. Add the code copied in the first step into the headers section. Save changes.
Viewing reports on Google Analytics
After installing the code, it will take 12-24 hours before data begins to appear in your account on the analytics website.
Google Analytics is a treasure trove of data presented in an informative manner. You can view it in your dashboard by clicking on the reporting tab.
Audience overview is the default reporting column. Other than that, there are detailed sections in the left column. Each section, upon clicking, is divided into tabs. Date filter is present on the top right corner.
These are some of the areas you might want to check regularly:
Audience: it will show the type of users and help you understand them.
Audience => Mobile => Overview: This tab will show the different devices people use to access your site. This will help you determine if you have to make improvements to your mobile site.
Acquisition => Overview => All Traffic => Channels: This tab shows you what channels are sending traffic to your site like Organic Search, Paid Search, Social Media, Referrals from other websites etc.
Behaviour: This tab will show what users do after coming to your site.
Conversions => Goals => Overview: This tab will show you the conversions on your site. It will help you compare how well you are doing against your goals.
Google Analytics is the best analytics tool available hands down. The wide range of data it provides and the simple manner in which it presents it makes it an important tool in your website for experienced webmasters and also for beginners to constantly keep track of your website stats and improve it.