A Guide To Google Analytics

Many new website owners are missing out on valuable business insight by not taking advantage of Google Analytics…
Anyone who has a website and a gmail account can enjoy the handy features of Google Analytics. If you don’t have a gmail account, you can get one here and if you don’t have a website, you can get one here.
Have you ever pondered the following questions?

  • How many people visit my site?
  • Where are my site visitors geographically located?
  • Would my visitors benefit from a mobile-friendly site?
  • How can I increase my web traffic?
  • Which websites are sending traffic to my site?
  • How many of my site visitors are converted into customers?

If so, then you are in luck because Google has created a great tool to help website owners monitor and analyse the way customers access and interact with their site. Before you get started though, here are a few tips that can help you succeed in your analytical adventures:

  • Be sure that you setup your Google Analytics account under your own gmail address and not through an employee or site developer. If you, for one reason or another, lose contact with that person, your website data will go with them.
  • As soon as you get your Google Analytics account set up it is a good idea to extend your trend graph out from 3-6 months to get a short and long term idea of your site statistics. By default Google will only display the past 30 days worth of information. As you continue to monitor your site you can extend your graphs to include years’ worth of information.
  • Make sure that your site has a great spamguard and that all widgets, plugins and applications are always up to date.

Here’s how to get started with Google Analytics:
Once you are ready to proceed you will need to set up your account. There is an easy step-by-step guide found here if you need assistance. You will need to enter relevant information like your website’s name, time zone, industry and your website URL. You will have the ability to include up to 100 Google Analytics accounts within your Google account, and for each of these accounts you can have up to 50 website properties.
That might seem confusing at first so here are a few examples;
If you only have one website you will only need one Google Analytics account with one website property.
If you have a business website and a personal website you can create two Google Analytics accounts with one property each.
If  you have many businesses and each have dozens of sites that total more than 50 you may want to have separate Google Analytics accounts for each business to adequately cover each site.
Work the tracking magic
Remember that none of your organizational decisions are set in stone. You can always reorganize later on, but it is good to have a working understanding from the beginning. If there is any confusion while setting up your account(s) it is best to use the default settings and chat with Google about your options.
Next you will need to install your tracking code. A tracking code is the method by which Google identifies and monitors your website. You will need to install your tracking code on each page of your website. You can find your tracking code by clicking the Get Tracking ID button under the Admin tab of your Google Analytics page.
The installation of your tracking code will depend on how you have set up your website, but for WordPress accounts you will copy and paste your tracking code into the header of your site using the Genesis Framework, or something like a Yoast plugin. Each website has a different method for installing your tracking code, but most have a built-in section for easy installation. If you have any questions about installing your tracking code visit this help page from Google.
Set goals
The goal section allows you to make specific benchmarks that you would like to meet within each website, including specific dollar amounts. Each website is allowed up to 20 goals for Google to track, including lead submission, subscriptions and purchase completions. Goals will vary depending on the purpose of each site. For example, if you are hosting a blog a goal might include pageviews, whereas an e-commerce site will be looking to increase the number of transactions.
View your site figures
Once your setup is complete you will be taken to your Audience Overview report (if you are monitoring multiple sites you will first choose a site to view). From your Audience Overview report you will be able to view information on individual sites within a specific timeframe. You will also be able to compare two different sets of data by using  the ‘Compare’ feature.

Google Analytics creates an easy way to turn your audience into metrics and covers everything from search rates to your keyword strengths and weaknesses. It may take some time to familiarize yourself with each individual feature, but it is a worthwhile investment if you are looking for more visitors and a healthy search engine ranking.

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