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How to Get Started with Google Analytics

You have a shiny, brand-new website. It looks great, loads quickly, has all of the bells and whistles you hoped it would. But having a good website isn’t enough. People have to know about it, visit it, use it.

How do you know if people are coming to your site? Where are they coming from? When are they coming and what pages are they visiting? How long are they staying? If you have a physical store, you want to know when people visit, what they buy, etc. How do you get this information with your website? It starts with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Tracking ID

Everyone has heard of Google, and many have heard of Google Analytics. But how do you use it? How can it be beneficial to your website and in turn, your business? Start with getting your website registered with Google Analytics. Google will then provide you with a tracking code that you need to place in the header sections of your website. This may sound complicated, but most major website platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and e-commerce packages like Magento provide a place for you to put this. Even places like Wix let you put in your Google tracking code. Your Tracking ID will look like this: UA-XXXXXXXX-X (with the X replaced with digits 0 – 9). They will also give you the website tracking code which they now call the Global Site Tag. This is several lines of Javascript code that has your tracking ID. This is the code that gets placed in the header of your website.

What Items Should I Track?

Ok. Now you have your Google tracking ID on your website. What’s next? The tracking information is useless if you don’t know what you should be looking for and how it can help your business. The following are a list of items we recommend you begin tracking for your business or e-commerce site.

  • How many visitors are you getting? Are they new or returning?
  • Where did they come from? (i.e. Google search, referral from Facebook, Instagram or another website?)
  • What page(s) did they go to?
  • How long did they stay on those pages?
  • How much traffic is coming from a phone versus a computer?
  • If you have a sign-up page / landing page, is it working like you intended it to?

Sounds like a lot…and it kind of is. But it’s very similar information to what you would keep track of if you have a physical store.

Creating Views and Managing Reports

When you set up your Google Analytics, there will be a “Properties and Apps” when you log in to with the name of your site. “Views” will be under that.

It will create a default view called “All Web Site Data”. You will want to create a “Master” and a “Test” View as well. The Master View should never be touched and should contain only the raw data Google collects on your site. The Test View is where you will set up initial filters and widgets to customize the information you see.

On your test and production views, you can set up a filter to exclude traffic from your business and/or home, so you don’t count your own visits to the sites. This way, the information Google is providing will be accurate and not skewed with your office traffic.

Google Analytics has a lot of built-in reports, but it’s not easy to find what you are looking for. We recommend setting up a custom dashboard or finding the useful reports and saving them, so they show up in your favorites.

Using Google Anayltics to Move Your Business Forward

All the information listed above is available in Google Analytics and can be setup in widgets, in a dashboard, or in reports. Based on the information provided, you can make adjustments to your site – or your message – and see how results progress. This gives you base information to start assessing how effective your site is for your business.

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your website or get an understanding of how effective it currently is or what can be done to improve it, contact us today.

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