Google website Analytics is one of the handiest tools you can have in your arsenal. It gives you information like the amount of traffic your website gets, from what websites that traffic comes from, whether it comes from mobile or desktops, and so much more.
All of this data helps you understand customer behavior, your website’s user experience, what type of content visitors consume the most, etc.
Consequently, Google Analytics will help you shape the success strategy of your business.
That’s why 60% of websites use it. Not to mention that this tool is also free.
In other words, whether you’re running a small blog or a big website for your company, Google Analytics is a must-have.
But, installing it can be pretty tricky. That’s why today, we’ll take a look at how you can do so.
1. Set Up Google Tag Manager
First off, you’ll have to create a Google Tag Manager account.
This is a complementary tool for Google Analytics that takes the data on your website and sends it to other platforms, including Google Analytics.
Google Tag Manager allows you to add and update tags to your Google Analytics code without manually typing it in the back end.
In other words, although you could do without it, Google Tag Manager will spare you some headaches.
Creating an account is pretty straightforward. You’ll type in your company name and the country you’re from.
After that, you’ll need to set up your container. This will be a collection of tags, variables, and related configurations installed on a website, which can replace all of your other manually-coded tags.
Again, setting up the container is a walk in the park. Just give it a name, and select the type of content you want it to associate with. Then, click create and agree to the Terms of Service.
Once that’s done, you’ll be given a code. Like this one:
This is the installation code snippet for the container. To manage your tags, you’ll have to insert this code in the back end for every page of your website.
As you can see, you’ll have to paste the first code in the header and the other one right after opening the body.
But, if you’re using WordPress, experts at Digital Silk, a company offering web development in Chicago, suggest installing the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. This way, you’ll be able to paste the code once, and it will automatically be ported to the rest of your web pages.
2. Set Up Google Analytics
After you’re done, you’ll need to set up your Google Analytics account. It’s just a matter of entering the reporting time zone, the name of your account, and property, which is essentially the name of your website.
But, note that in the property setup section, you’ll need to click on Advanced Options and enable the Universal Analytics property.
Also, make sure to select the industry category, the size of your business, and how you intend to use Google Analytics. This allows Google to offer you a more tailored experience.
Upon agreeing with the Terms, you’ll receive the Tracking ID. This is a string of numbers that tells Google Analytics to send the data to you. This can be found by clicking on the Tracking Code button in the Admin menu or by typing it in the search bar.
3. Set Up the Analytics Tag
Now you’ll want to go back to Google Tag Manager. Head over to its dashboard and click on Add a New Tag button. You’ll see two sections: Tag Configuration and Triggering.
In the first one, you’ll select where the data collected by tag should go, while on the other, you’ll set what type of data you want to collect.
Upon clicking on the tag Configuration button, you’ll have to select the tag type. Make sure to choose the Universal Analytics option. Then, select New Variable and type in your tracking ID.
This will send all of the collected data to your Google Analytics accounts.
After that, you’ll have to click on the Triggering button. Make sure to choose the All Pages option to send the data from all of your pages.
Save the changes, and you’ve linked your Google Tag Manager account with Google Analytics.
4. Set Your Goals
Next, you’ll need to hop back into your Google Analytics account and set up your goals. This step is important as it lets Google Analytics know what type of conversions you’re after. Consequently, you’ll receive valuable data regarding user behavior.
To do this, you’ll click on the Gear icon by the bottom left corner, then head over to the Goals section.
After clicking on it, you’ll be taken to a new window. Click on the New Goal button, and you’ll see the following options:
Pages/Screens per Session
The Destination goal will track how many users reached a desired web page, like thank you or confirmation pages, for example.
The “Thank You” page can be especially handy for online stores, as they allow business owners to get more from their customers, like social shares.
But, to make it effective, you can’t simply have a white page that spells “Thank You” on it. There’s much more than that. So if you don’t have one, consider working with the best website design companies you can find.
Duration tracks how many users remain on your site for a specific amount of time.
Pages/Screens per Session will allow you to see how many users went through a specific amount of pages before they leave.
Event tracks the number of users that clicked on a link, played a video, clicked on the shared button, etc. In other words, an interactive element within your website can be tracked with this option.
5. Link to Google Search Console
This is another tool you should use along with Google Analytics. With Google Search Console, you’ll be able to gather data regarding your site’s search crawl rate, what internal or external pages link to your website, look at keywords you rank for, etc.
To set this up, you’ll need to head over to your admin panel, select Property Setting, and scroll until you see the Adjust Search Console option.
After that, click on the Add button, and you’ll be redirected to a new page.
You’ve got two options available: Selecting a property type by domain or by URL prefix.
When selecting a property type by domain, you don’t need to add the URL protocol (HTTP/HTTPS) or any directory parts. In other words, this option will include all of your subdomains, protocols, and subpaths of the property.
But, proving the ownership of your website can only be done via DNS record verification.
Whereas, when choosing a property type by URL prefix, you’ll need to specify it exactly as it appears in the browser bar. So, if your website’s pages vary in protocols, or you’re using multiple subfolders, you’ll have to create separate properties for each one of them.
However, the verification process can be done in multiple ways.
After completing the process, keep in mind that data won’t appear immediately.
After all that, you should be ready to go. You’ll now be able to gather data to determine your ROI, learn more about your audience and ultimately, use that information to create a successful business strategy.
Ellie is a long-time marketer, currently working as a freelancer in Miami, Florida.
She is also a passionate writer and loves to explore new, innovative and digital news.
In spare time she is an eco activist.
Editor at Digital Strategy One