Did you know that Google offers a free tool to help you track visitors on your business website?
Google Analytics is part of Google’s Marketing Platform. Everything’s free for small businesses, and it also offers surveys and website reports.
But how do you get a Google Analytics account set up? What are the benefits of Google Analytics for business owners? And what the heck is a tracking code and where does it go?
Google Analytics has a bit of a reputation for being complicated to learn and hard to master. But this is a misconception (we think, anyway!). So Collide created this guide to Google Analytics for beginners.
This simple guide will show you how to implement it on your website.
And if you aren’t tech-savvy, we give a bit of advice on website design, digital marketing, and how well set up Google Analytics can help you.
What Is Google Analytics?
How many people visit your website? Where do they come from? What devices do they use? What pages do they look at and for how long?
Google Analytics can help you answer these questions (and more).
It tracks all inbound traffic to your site and records what happens on each visit. You’re able to filter and download results, and its charts and graphs offer a visual way to examine the data.
What’s the catch?
Nothing’s really free.
Analytics demonstrates if those PPC ads work. The better the results, the more you spend on ads!
While Google Analytics might be here to help you hone your PPC advertising strategy, you don’t need to advertise to use Analytics. The system is free to use on any site. There’s a 360 premium version for Enterprises, but the basic system is still feature-packed and free.
How Does Google Analytics Work?
Google provides a snippet of code for you to add to your website pages.
That code records all events and information about a visitor. Actions include how long they remain on the page, what links they clicked, and their geographic location.
The data is stored on Google’s servers then analyzed. It’s funneled into groups that focus on users, sessions, page views, and events.
When you log in to your account dashboard you can view metrics and dimensions.
Metrics are defined as the raw data Google collects. Think of a spreadsheet with rows (and rows, and rows…) of results.
Dimensions help you view that raw metric data in a useable way.
Such as breaking down the average number of website visits over a day, week, month, season and year.
How to Set up Google Analytics
Follow these 4 steps to get up and running. Ready?
1. Create a Google Account
The first step is to create a Google account if you haven’t got one already.
Visit the signup page and add your business information. Follow the steps to create your profile. You don’t need to sign up for any other services like Gmail if you don’t want to.
2. Sign up to Google Analytics
With your new or existing Google account, mosey on over to the Analytics sign up page.
Click on the sign-up option and you’ll be given two options: Website and Mobile App. For this tutorial, we’ll stick with the Website, but Analytics also integrates with Play Store applications (super important if you plan to sell anything through the Play Store)
Next, add an Account name.
The easiest option is to choose your business name. If you have multiple branches, make this the top-level branch.
Then add your website name and full address.
Make sure this is correct! Copy/paste it from your browser address bar to make sure. And also choose http:// or https:// with the latter being preferred.
If you move, make sure to update your address information immediately. This is a lot easier said than done when it comes to the Local SEO Component of your business, so read our Case Study on how to minimize the damage an address change can do to your SEO.
Finally, choose your industry category and time zone then hit Get Tracking ID.
Before you’re done, read and agree to the terms and conditions. The same privacy rules apply here, so exercise caution.
3. Tracking Code Installation
Google will then create your tracking code snippet. It starts with <script> and ends with </script>.
You’ll notice inside the code is your unique ID. It looks something like “UA-12345678-1”. This identifies your site to Google’s systems.
To integrate Analytics into your site you need to copy the code. Then you have to paste it into the HTML of each page at the bottom.
How on earth do you do that?
If you’re not web savvy, your web designer should be able to help. At Collide Digital, we’re happy to help. And if you use WordPress, plugins like MonsterInsights can make this process painless.
4. Google Analytics Dashboard
When you log in, you’ll see the Dashboard.
This provides a summary of your website traffic. Navigation’s on the left of the screen while dimensions display on the right. You can customize the views using the Customization link.
Making the best use of the dashboard and the full system requires Google Analytics training.
Google defines 5 groups of pre-set reports including:
- Realtime – who’s visiting you right now, and from where
- Audience – demographics, interest, behavior, etc.
- Acquisition – did they come from Google search, PPC ads, etc?
- Behavior – what did they do on your website and how quickly?
- Conversions – goals like purchases or contact form submissions
The conversions reports are key to tracking the success of your site.
If you own an eCommerce store, you can view product and sales performance. You can also identify relationships between your digital marketing campaigns and cart transactions.
If your goal is to drive more leads, tie Analytics to your contact and newsletter forms. The data can then export into your existing CRM software or Excel.
You’re also able to create custom reports and set up your own goals. Google even lets you change the look of the dashboard and default report screens.
Track Your Website Success With Collide Digital
Now you know how to add Google Analytics to a website. But not everyone’s able to work with code or build the best web pages.
Collide Digital is fully invested in your business’s growth.
We offer professional website design and digital marketing. And our client list speaks for itself. We believe partnership is the key and aim to bring traffic to our partners’ sites.
All of our plans include a custom domain with your fully managed website. Our prices are transparent – no hidden fees!
So if you need a new design or require help marketing your existing site contact Collide Digital today.
You’ll see the success as-it-happens, in your Google Analytics dashboard.
We mentioned that a lot of people find Google Analytics too complicated to use effectively. What’s your opinion? Let us know in the Comments below!