How to Set Up and Start Using Google Analytics

by | Jul 28, 2022 | SEO | 0 comments

Creating a website is no easy feat. It takes a ton of research and careful deliberation to devise the perfect custom website development strategy.

But what if we told you that all your website designing plans could go to waste if you don’t have a robust analytics system?

Whether you own a small label or a massive webstore, you need analytics to discover:

  • Who browses your site?
  • How do they behave on it?
  • What content do they want to see from your brand?

The more insight you can gather, the easier it will be for you to increase engagement and boost conversions.

While several analytics tools are available, Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular one- and with good reason. A staggering 55.7% of websites use this free reporting tool to scrutinize their traffic and site performance.

If you’re one of the few businesses left to jump on the GA bandwagon, we can help. Here are five steps to kickstart your Google Analytics journey.

1. Create Your Google Analytics Account

First, ensure you are signed into the Google Account you want to use to manage your analytics. If your account isn’t set up for GA, you can sign up on the Google Analytics homepage.

Next, you must choose the type of property you want to measure, whether it’s websites, apps, or both. You’ll also need to enter your:

  • Account name
  • Website name
  • Website URL
  • Industry category
  • Reporting time zone
  • Currency

Finally, select Create and agree to the Terms of Service. And there you have it: your GA account is up and ready for action!

2. Install the Tracking Code

For Google Analytics to report back on various metrics, you must install a tracking code on every page of your website. A tracking code (or tracking ID) is a unique identifier that allows Google Analytics to collect relevant data and consolidate it into a report.

To find your GA tracking code:

  • Hit the Admin tab on your GA account
  • Select the appropriate property
  • Click on Tracking Info and select Tracking Code. You should see it in the top-right corner of the page.

The next step is to install the tracking ID on each web page. How you achieve this will vary based on your website and how comfortable you are with making the changes yourself.

For WordPress website designs, you can use a third-party plugin to embed your code. Start by downloading the app and linking it to your Google account and the website to be tracked. Then, enter your tracking ID, and you’re done!

If your website does not support plugins, you’ll need to copy and paste the tracking ID directly to your header.php file just before the closing </head> tag. Or the footer file before the closing </html> tag. You can always consult a website design and development service if you aren’t sure how to do this on your own.

3. Make Sure the Tracking Code is Working Correctly

After successfully installing the tracking code, you must test if it works as intended. This part is quite simple.

Login to your GA account, navigate to Realtime, and then Overview. This report shows what’s currently happening on your website. For example, you can see your page views per second, your present conversion rate, and the top keywords you are ranking for.

Then, you will want to open your site on a different browser (or in incognito mode) and wait for Google Analytics to reflect this action. Then, if GA picks up your visit, you’ll know your tracking ID is functioning properly.

4. Establish Goals

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important to any website design project. They are quantifiable metrics that measure performance and enable you to optimize your website further.

Typically, website KPIs include:

  • Bounce rate
  • Unique website visitors
  • Average session duration
  • Pages per session
  • Top landing pages
  • Top exit pages
  • Onsite search queries
  • Traffic source

While you may know the KPIs for your website design plan, Google Analytics does not. Hence, you’ll have to define your version of a successful website clearly. One way to do this is by setting relevant goals on the Google Analytics dashboard.

Here’s how.

  • Click on the Admin tab on the bottom-left corner of your GA account. You will be redirected to a window with the Goals button.
  • Select Goals to open the dashboard.
  • Hit the +New Goal button.

You can browse different goal metrics from here to see if they match your requirements. You will also need to choose a suitable goal type from the options available, including:

  • Destination: for when you want users to reach a specific web page.
  • Duration: for when you want users to spend a fixed amount of time on your site.
  • Pages/Screens per session: for when you want users to visit a certain number of pages.
  • Event: for when you want users to click on a video or link.

You can fine-tune your goals further, like establishing how long users need to stay on your site for it to qualify as a win.

Once this is done, click on Save to return to Google Analytics. Since your data won’t appear immediately, you may have to check back later.

5. Connect Google Analytics with Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that lets you harness crucial search metrics to fine-tune your website maintenance efforts. With it, you can see your site’s presence on Google Search, as well as track:

  • Relevant keyword queries
  • Crawl rate
  • Internal/external page links

Integrating Google Analytics with Search Console can help you collate vital information on how your website performs on Google. You will also receive behavior metrics and goal completions for landing pages, devices, and countries all in one place.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? Let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to connect Google Analytics with Search Console.

  • Hit the cog on the bottom left corner of your dashboard to pull up the Admin interface.
  • Choose Property Settings from the central column.
  • Scroll down and select Adjust Search Console. This will give you access to the Search Console settings.
  • Once you hit the Add button, you will be redirected to a page named Enable Search Console data in Google Analytics.
  • Click on Add a Site to Search Console.
  • Enter your website name and select Add.
  • Follow the directions to insert the HTML code into your site.
  • Click on Save.

Wrap Up

Data is empowering. Unless you track things on your website, you’ll be left in the wild, forced to base all your decisions on gut instinct. Needless to say, that’s less than ideal.

Google Analytics can offer plenty of actionable data to help shape your website’s success strategy. And when paired with other analytics, it is a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, these tips will enable you to create and use your GA account hassle-free.

Are you looking to learn more about Google Analytics? We can help you with your queries. As an established full-service website design company, Watermark Design has over a decade of experience providing top-notch web designing services to startups, small businesses, and non-profits.

Contact us today for more information!

Mark Haugstad

Mark Haugstad, founder of Watermark Design, which is based in Elk River, Minnesota. Since 2011 we've been a WordPress web design development agency providing services in web design services. Mark has always wanted to provide better quality service, affordability & support to local businesses. When Mark is not working with the Watermark Design team you can find him hanging out with his wife, five children and enjoying the MN outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

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