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  • Evan Ryan

Getting Started with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most commonly used tools for measuring website traffic, page traffic, and understanding your user base.  Most importantly, it’s accurate, and it’s free.

In this post, we are going to talk about the following things:

1.     Why Google Analytics matters

2.     How it works

3.     How to set it up

4.     What to look for in your first week of using it

In this post, we are not going to cover:

1.     What is the difference between a bounce rate and exit rate?

2.     How do you find different referral sources?

3.     When should you be aware of page load?

4.     What does time on page mean for you and your viewership?


Why Google Analytics Matters

Before we start, what is the purpose of a website?  To make more money!  Whether it’s informative or an online store or a blog or shows ads or allows people to book your service, in some capacity or another, the purpose of a website is to make money or give a person the opportunity to make money.

My perspective on Google Analytics begins with that premise.  It is a tool to allow you to measure your viewership’s response to your content and how it found your content.

Measuring your viewership, the pages they visit, how long they spend on those pages, and what pages they’re on right before they exit your site is the easiest way to understand how your market is reacting and make changes to increase conversion.

Think of Google Analytics as home base.

How Google Analytics Works

Two parts: the person viewing your site has a Google cookie, and you have installed Google Analytics.

When you add Google Analytics to your website, it injects a bit of code into your website that allows it to send out what you can think of as a radar signal.

That radar signal beeps when it hits a Google cookie in a user’s browser.  Just like a radar, if someone with that cookie is on your site, no matter the page, the signal beeps.

If someone doesn’t have the cookie will the radar signal beep?  Nope. 

But how many people that you know haven’t been to a Google webpage?  Probably a very, very small percentage. 

So, Google Analytics sends out their radar signal based off the code you put into your website, people who are on your site register as a “beep” along with the location (the page they were on)  and their time at that location (how long they spent at that page) along with other metrics.

Setting up Google Analytics 

1.     Head to analytics.google.com/

2.     Click “Sign in to Analytics” and use your Google Credentials to sign in.

3.     Click “Admin” in the lower left corner

a.     Click the “Create Property” button

b.     Select “Web,” name the property, and add your website url

c.     Click “Create”

d.     Set up a property for your website

4.     Add the tracking code to the header of your website.  

a.     Here – the tracking code starts with “<!—Global site tag” and ends with “</script>”

b.     How to add this to your site so you never need to touch it again:

                                               i.    Wordpress Websites

                                             ii.     Squarespace Websites

                                            iii.     Wix Websites

                                            iv.     Shopify Websites

                                              v.    Other – Google “Add Google Analytics to *your website provider*”

What to look for in your first week with Google Analytics

Take a look at the home page!

The main point is the line graph at the top – how many website visitors (“Users”) do you have?  How many “Sessions” do you have?  

Secondly, scrolling down along the left side, how many pageviews does each page have?

This should give you a good starting sense of how many people are visiting your website and what pages people look at once they reach it.

Conclusion

1.     Google Analytics is home base for website analytics.  It tells you how many people visit your website, where they go when they’re on it, how long they’re on it, and the last  page they look at when they leave your site.

2.     Think of Google Analytics as a radar.  Each person that visits your site and has the Google cookie (which is most people) becomes a blip on that radar.  That’s how they track!

3.     Signing up is free, and relatively painless.  Don’t be afraid of the code; just copy and paste it into the header of your website, and links to other sites are above.

4.     When you’re getting started, just look at the home page.  This will tell you how many unique people visit your site and where those people went.




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