How to: Set Up Free Website Tracking Using Google Analytics
3rd July 2016
Before you embark on any sort of marketing campaign or SEO work it’s vitally important that you have a way of gauging whether your efforts are working. That’s what tracking tools like Google’s free system, Analytics, do for you. They gather data about your site visitors so that you can assess how well your website is performing. In this post I’m going to go through how you setup and install Google Analytics. The whole process should take you only around 5 minutes.
Setting up Google Analytics
The portal for Analytics is www.google.com/analytics. When you get there you’ll find a button in the top right hand corner which says ‘Access Google Analytics’.
To register for Analytics you’ll need a Google Account, so if you have Gmail or the like you can sign in with your existing credentials and if not you’ll need to register from scratch. Once you’ve logged into your Google Account, you’ll then get the sign up screen for the Google Analytics service:
When you set up the new account you’ll first be asked for an account name, and then the details of the first website you would actually like to track (you can add more later):
When you’ve filled in this form, hit the blue ‘Get Tracking ID’ button and, once you’ve been prompted to accept the T&Cs, you’ll be taken to another page which gives you your tracking code. It’ll look something like this:
This code needs to be inserted in every page you want to track. It can go anywhere, but Google suggests placing it just after the opening body tag. If you’re unfamiliar with HTML markup, the body tag will look like this – <body>
I’ve seen people take this instruction very literally and place the code inside the tag itself after the word body and before the end of the bracket. This is not what is meant. You need to place your code directly after the whole tag, which means after the closing bracket and not before.
Analytics will now track all of the pages you have installed the code to. You can find the data it gathers back at www.google.com/analytics. In a further post I will explain the Analytics dashboard and how to navigate it.
Using Google Analytics with WordPress
If you have a WordPress site your theme author may have included a place in the dashboard where you can enter your code so that it appears automatically on every page. If not, there are free plugins available that will do that same thing.