May
7th

Starting Google Analytics

Files under Website Starting | Posted by Brian
Setup Google Analytics

Setup Google Analytics

Besides being such a great search engine, Google has some phenomenal tools.  Before you do anything else, it’s important to be able to track what’s happening on your website.  You can’t grow your website without knowing where it is right now.  To understand where your website is, who is coming to it and other useful marketing information, we’re going to use Google Analytics.

Analytics is not only completely free, it probaby is the best tracking tool on the internet for your site.  With Google Analytics, we’ll be able to understand who is coming to our website, where they are coming from and what they do when they are there.  You will be absolutely amazed at the amount of data you can gather about your visitors and how we can use that information to make our website better.  Without further adieu, let’s get started and you’ll pick up more features along the way.

Create a Google Account

For whatever reason, when I hear “Create a Google Account”, I automatically think of a Gmail account.  While Gmail is also a great tool, you don’t need to have a Gmail account to get started.  You do need a google account.  So, start by heading to analytics.google.com to get started.  Click on “Sign Up Now”.  For those of you who do have a google account already (be it Gmail or otherwise), you can use that account here.  Just type in your Gmail address on the right side and your Gmail password and you’re in.  For those who don’t have a Gmail account, just click on “Sign Up Now” (yes, again) to create your google account.  You’ll just enter your current e-mail address and give google a password and that will become your google account for Analytics.

Now you have a google account; click “Click Here to Continue” at the bottom of the page (bet you didn’t see that one coming!).  Before you use the account, you’ll need to check your e-mail (of the address you used to sign up for a google account).  Find the google e-mail and click the link inside to activate your google account.  Now go back to the previous Analytics window and let’s continue.

Next, you’ll be taken to a page where you click “Sign Up Now”.  See, this isn’t so bad, just keep clicking the cookie-crumb-trail of links that Google lays out.  Now, we’ll be taken to a screen where you need to enter your internet site information.  Go ahead and fill that out (if you have more than one site, just pick one for now you can fill the others in later).  When you fill out the account name, use whatever you want.  For www.internetstarting.com I’m actually just using www.internetstarting.com as the account name.  This is only for you and it’s so you can associate this account with a website (useful if you have several).

Continue through the Google steps, providing answers as needed.  Stop once you come to the page called “Analytics: Tracking Instructions”.  You’re going to need this code later, so copy and paste it somewhere useful (maybe make a new Word or Notepad document on your desktop somewhere).  You can get it again later, but it’s easier if you don’t loose it in the first place.

Click “Continue” and whala!  You are brought to the Google analytics screen.  You’re almost finished.  By the way, you will notice a small yellow alert next to your account.  Don’t panic, it’s supposed to be there.  It just means Google doesn’t know about any visitors to your website yet.  It will go away once we finish and you start getting visitors.

Now, what do we do with all that code we cut/pasted earlier.  Well, now you’ll need to add it to your website.  How you do that will depend on how you created your website, but we’ll try to give you a couple of tips here.

  1. If you had someone design your website, just ask them to add the code before the </body> tag on all of your pages.  They’ll know what that means.
  2. For WordPress users, go to “Appearance” and “Edit”.  Now find your “footer.php” and place it in that file.  Again, look for a line that says </body> — you want to put it right before that line (but make sure </body>) is the first thing on the next line.
  3. If you used a website builder of some kind, they may have a Google Analytics Plugin (there’s probably one for WordPress also).  Otherwise, find out how to edit your HTML and do the same thing the WordPress users did in #2.
  4. If you created your own website, you already know how to do this.  Just make sure it’s at the end of the body because you don’t want your whole website to have to wait for analytics to load.

Bam!  That’s it, you’ve successfully installed Analytics now.  If you figured out how to install it on a particular webhost or website builder program, please leave a comment for our other users.  If you’re stuck, check the comments and see if someone else has solved this for the webhost you’re using.  It’s like “Take a Penny.  Leave a Penny.”  Except without the penny.

We’ll write a 201 article soon on what you can do inside Analytics and how you can block your own IP (so you aren’t analyzing yourself connecting to your own website!).  In the meanwhile, just play around with the settings and menus in Analytics… and don’t worry!  It’s a read only tool, you can’t break anything on your website by playing around in Analytics.  So take some time and get to know the system.

Alright, now I have to go paste the code into www.internetstarting.com.  I’ve done this on other websites plenty of times, but seriously with internetstarting.com, I’m walking through the steps right with you.  Good luck!

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One Response to “Starting Google Analytics”

  1. SEO / SEM - Getting your Website Noticed : Starting an Online Business - Help Starting a Website or Business Online and Marketing Information / SEO on May 26th, 2009 8:47 pm

    [...] last word about external links to your site: keywords.  Be sure to find out from analytics what your major keywords are.  That is, what words are sending the most / best visitors to your [...]

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