Why You Need Analytics
Adding analytics to your website is crucial If you want to know if what you’re doing is working and why. Analytics allows you to track in real time the traffic coming to your site along with a vast array of details about where those visitors came from, what they’re doing on your site, and how long they hang around amongst other things.
There are many analytics solutions as well as some cool WordPress plugins like StatPress, but by far the most comprehensive free analytics solution for webmasters is Google Analytics.
Here’s some of the cool things Google Analytics will tell you:
- Unique visitors
- Page views
- Page views per visit
- Bounce rate
- Visitor durations
- New vs returning visitors
- Frequency of return visits
- Demographics like, age, gender, geo location, and language
- Audience interests
- Browsers & devices being used
- User flows
- Traffic channels
- Referral sources
And those are just the basic reports Google analytics provides. It can also track campaigns, events, and multiple conversion goals. It also allows you to segment your traffic in custom ways using advanced segments.
Analytics are essential for any serious webmaster.
Getting Started With Google Analytics
The first thing you need to do is sign up for a Google analytics account. This can be done through an existing gmail or google account. Just click ‘sign in‘ and type in your email address over at Google Analytics.
Once you have signed up and signed in for the first time you should be presented with a page like the one below where you insert your account details. Now create an account name, add your website name and URL, and specify your industry and time zone.
When you have entered this information click on the ‘Get Tracking ID‘ button. This will then present you with a box containing the tracking code you will need to embed on your website to enable Google Analytics. (See screen shot below.)
Tip: If you want to come back to this later you can find the code again under Admin – Property – Tracking Code.
How to add the tracking code to your website.
The simplest way to add the tracking code to your pages is to use the Google Analyticator plugin. To to do this go to the WordPress plugin repository and download Google Analyticator.
Next, log into your WordPress admin area and click on ‘Plugins‘. Then click the ‘Add New‘ button at the top.
On the next page click the ‘Upload Plugin‘ button.
(Alternatively you can search for the Google Analyticator plugin directly from your ‘add new plugins page’ in the WordPress admin panel, and upload directly from the repository. Whichever you feel more comfortable with.)
Next click ‘Browse Files‘, select the plugin file you downloaded, and click the ‘Install Now‘ button.
Next click ‘Activate Plugin‘
Now navigate to the Google Analyticator settings page which you should find in Setting – Google Analytics. You’ll arrive at the ‘Activate Google Analyticator‘ page. Click the link that says ‘Click Here’. It will then ask you to allow Google Analyticator to access your Google Analytics account. Click Accept to continue.
You will then be given a code in a box that you will need to copy and paste. Add the Google authentication code into the box on the plugin page. Then click ‘Save And Continue‘.
Now you will arrive at the Google Analyticators basic settings screen. All we need to say here is to click ‘Enable‘ from the drop down menu, add in your analytics account website, and select ‘Universal analytics.js‘ Then click ‘Save Changes‘. (Like the screen shot below.)
This page has many other settings but they’re self explanatory and you can adjust them to your individual needs.
Congratulation, you’ve just added analytics to your website. The red box at the top saying ‘Google Analytics integration is currently disabled’ should disappear. It will start collecting data from your website immediately, but wont be available immediately so don’t worry if it takes a couple of days.
You can now view detailed statistics about your website traffic from your WordPress dashboard using the Google Analyticator widget, or from your Analytics account.