It’s understandable that when starting a business all these new tools and new account sign-ups can get very daunting, so today I wanted to show you in detail how to create a Google Analytics account. This should hopefully ease the uncertainty with it all and give you the assurance you are doing the right steps.
It is an important part of having a website to have data analytics with it, as it allows you to monitor many important metrics relating to your target audience and visitors. This allows you to analyze and adjust your business strategy over time by better understanding the visitors to your website, their interactions with your website and what they are looking for when they visit. Ultimately, it will help you discover how you can best help them! Some metrics that Google Analytics provides are:
- Number of visitors to your site (overall and to each specific page or post).
- Time spent on your site for a given visit/session, as well as time spent on each individual page.
- The flow of visitors through your site: Where they entered, where they went to next and where they left.
- Where your visitors came from (referrals): Organic (free via search engine results), Paid Ads, Social Media Sites etc.
- Demographics (Age, Gender etc.), Geographics (Location), Technology (Internet Browser, Computer Operating System), Devices (Desktop, Tablet or Mobile).
And this is to only name a few! The analytics platform is very powerful, and you can go into great depths, but this post is just an introduction of the basic setup. If you would like to learn more just let me know, I’ll be happy to help or point you in the right direction of advanced resources.
Step 1: Getting a Google Account
Google Analytics is free for all to use and setup! All you need, is a Google Account. You can you use an existing one or create a new one, however I recommend you do have an account different to your personal one as it is good to keep these things separate. If you already have an account you can move to the next step.
Google provides many services and some examples of the ones most useful to you as an online entrepreneur are:
- Gmail – Free email account. I have multiple accounts for both personal and business, as they are easy to integrate and manage.
- YouTube – Online videos. An excellent way to show how to videos, create a following and show stuff important to you and your business.
- Adwords – Pay-per-click advertising. An effective way to pay for ads that show up in Google search results, in order to drive more traffic to your website.
- Adsense – Monetize your content by displaying ads on your site showing products and services relevant to the visitor at the time (though not always relevant to your content).
- Google+ – Social media. Create circles (a targeted group of people), post content and follow what’s important to you.
To get started, create an account and fill in the details as prompted.
Step 2: Signing Up to Google Analytics
The three steps are as easy as Google says it is:
(1) Sign Up
Signing up to the account effectively activates the analytics tool in your overall Google account.
(2) Enter Your Website Details
This creates a tracking code to put on your website.
The tracking code must be placed in the header section of your website.
Add the Tracking ID in WordPress.org Websites
Check out my separate post on installing Google Analytics with WordPress websites.
Add the Tracking Code in Weebly Website
In Weebly websites, go to the ‘Settings’ menu and then the ‘SEO’ section. Place it in the ‘Header Code’ section (ignoring the example to put it in the footer code, as it is against best practice).
(3) Wait a Few Hours Before Traffic Appears
It takes a short while for the code to start tracking, usually within an hour or two, then you can start seeing traffic. If this is a completely new website, the only traffic you see will probably be you own on the pages you visited when editing and checking the website.
Step 3: Additional Settings to Configure
As you can imagine, there are a plethora of additional settings to configure and change for advance data analysis. For our purposes though, we just need to consider the following.
Activating bot filtering is recommended to improve the accuracy of your data. Internet bots crawl your website, in most cases for indexing, and leave a record in your data. This can skew your reports and analysis, so it is best to filter them out. To activate this setting go to:
Admin > View Settings > Bot Filtering > Tick the box
Defining goals in Google Analytics is a good way of measuring whatever it is you would like your visitors to do on your website. This could be anything from visiting a specific page, to signing up to a newsletter or spending a certain amount of time on the website. Once you start tracking goals you can measure the performance of you website against these goals.
To set a goal go to:
Admin > View Settings > Goals > + New Goal
The simplest form of Goal is a page visit. Select Custom and click Continue.
Enter a Name for your Goal, select Destination and click Continue.
Enter the last part of the URL for the Destination.
For example, if you destination page is called ‘mybusiness.com/thankyou’, Enter /thankyou.html
And you are done! After some Goals have been achieved by your visitors, you will see data for metrics such Goal Completions (total number of Goals achieved) and Goal Conversion Rate (number of Goals achieved compared to visits to your site).
A Word of Warning – Paralysis by Analysis
While your online business and website are just starting out, and apart from when you are micro-testing a product, please be wary about how often you visit Google Analytics to analyze your data. Analyzing data and adjusting strategy are most effective after several months of data has accumulated (as opposed to several weeks or days). You need to give your business time to develop the traffic.
It is often motivating to see visitors coming to your pages, and I do recommend you check in once in a while. However, by the same token, it is also often demoralizing when you are only seeing “low” numbers. Don’t let either situation affect you too much, as your number one priority in the beginning stages of a business is to continually create and build. Most of the time, analyzing data doesn’t help with building a business. It is most useful when improving a business as it becomes more established.
Avoid paralyzing your progress by analyzing your performance too much in the early stages!
Alright, Let’s Do This!
Create your Google Account (if you haven’t already).
Sign-Up for Google Analytics.
Get your Tracking Code and place it on your website.
Ask me any questions you might have.
Continue your journey through the online world, and Periodically Analyze Your Data.
Please leave me a comment or question below, I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with analytics!