No business can do well without a good understanding of their customer base, and a website is no different. To do well on search engines and to grow traffic to your website, it's crucial to understand who visits it, and why. Google Analytics is a powerful tool provided by the Google search engine to give insights on the visitors that you get on your WordPress site. So how do you get started, and how do you install Google Analytics on WordPress? Let's have a look at your options:
Step 1: Signing Up
In order to add Google Analytics to WordPress, you're going to have to sign up for Google analytics.
You will be asked to enter your Gmail address and password, which will connect your Google Analytics with your main Google account.
Next, Google Analytics will want to know what you intend to use their service for. Enter the name of your company or the name of your website. Then, select that you want to "measure your website", as opposed to "measure your apps".
To give insights on your website, Google Analytics will need to know the URL of the site, the type of content that you produce, and the time zone.
Once you've completed this procedure, you're signed up with Google Analytics! The website will provide you with a tracking code that can help you connect the service to your WordPress site. Depending on how you choose to do that last step, you may need to enter this information manually into your website's code, or to let a plugin of your choice take care of it. Let's take a closer look at that!
In order to use Google analytics, you will need to install it on your WordPress website so that it can report data on your viewers. There are a couple of different ways to do that. Broadly, you will want to either code the Google Analytics code into your website, or to use a plugin that will do that for you.
If you decide to code it yourself, you will have to have some basic understanding of how your website is coded. If you know a thing or two about I.T., this shouldn't be difficult and shouldn't take you much time. The benefits of doing that is that it won't increase the number of plugins that you use, and won't risk lowering your website loading speed. On the other hand, it also means you have to do everything manually. For example, if you change themes, you will have to reinter that code to get access to your Google Analytics.
The other option is to choose one of the many plugins that offer to connect with Google Analytics for you. Thankfully, most of these plugins are free or have a free version that lets you do quite a few things. Installing them is relatively easy, and so is setting them up. Depending on the plugin that you are using, you could risk slowing your website down however, so be careful.
Once you've decided how you will install Google Analytics, it only remains to open your WordPress dashboard and get started with it. Here are the steps that you will need to take:
If you are installing Google Analytics manually:
If you have chosen to go without a plugin and code Google Analytics into your website, you will need to copy the code that Google Analytics provided you when you signed up.
If you don't have that code, open Google Analytics on your laptop. Click on Gear, then tracking info and you should be able to find the tracking code. The script that you need can be found under Website tracking.
Next, open the header.php file of your WordPress theme and paste the code in there before the tag.
Update your file so that it is saved onto the theme and you're done! You should be able to visit your Google Analytics from WordPress now.
If coding is not your thing or you want an easier solution, you'll need to download a plugin that can connect your WordPress with Google Analytics. The ones that we recommend are Google Analytics Dashboard for WP and Google Analytics Dashboard by MonsterInsights.
Start by going into the plugins section on your WordPress dashboard and downloading any one of them.
As with any WordPress plugin, make sure to activate it.
Then, get started by opening the plugin. Any one of these will ask you for your Google Analytics email and the password that you use. Enter them and it will automatically connect to your WordPress.
Once you have connected your WordPress and Google Analytics, you will be able to access analytics directly from your WordPress dashboard, simply by clicking on the relevant plugin.
Now that you know how to install Google Analytics on WordPress, let's have a look at why you need to do it in the first place. After all, what do you stand to gain by knowing who visits your website and why?
As it turns out, Google Analytics is actually one of the most powerful tool that you can use as a website owner or blogger.
Google Analytics will provide you with useful information like where your audience comes from, whether they are visiting your website on mobile or on a laptop, and how they found the specific page that they visited.
There are a couple of simple advantages to that. For example, if you find out that most of your audience is located in the U.S.A, you can start to target your content toward them, and dismiss the content that only applies to Europe for example. It can also help you to figure out what the best posting times will be for your audience.
Second, knowing how many people are viewing your website from a mobile phone can help you to optimize it so that you give visitors a better experience. Some content is more powerful on a big screen like large, horizontal pictures while other content like vertical infographics is perfect for mobile. Let the insights of Google Analytics guide you toward the type of content that you should be creating.
Finally, Google Analytics helps you to figure out what is driving your traffic. Is it search engines? Is it your Facebook page? Are people sharing your blog posts on Reddit? Or on Pinterest? Knowing where you get your traffic from can help you with your marketing strategy. Maybe you'll decide to optimize your SEO so that you get more referrals from major search engines. Maybe you'll decide that Facebook is generating a lot of traffic and that you should focus on keeping your page more active.
When using Google analytics to improve your website, there are a couple of things that you'll need to pay special attention to. As we've mentioned before, it can be really useful to keep an eye on the nationality of your viewers, how many are viewing your website through a smartphone, and what your main sources of referrals are.
Other things that you can use Google Analytics to find out are:
Now, how do you take all of that data, and turn it into a strategy? It's all about finding out what works best. When something you're doing is bringing in traffic, it means you need to do more of that.
For example, let's say that one of your website pages gets close to no views. You can ask yourself questions like: is the topic different from other pages on my website? Have I advertised this post as well on social media and other platforms? Is this article significantly longer or shorter than my other ones?
By figuring out why something is not working, you'll be able to avoid doing it in the future and focus on the type of content that brings visitors in.
Another example would be to analyze the time that people are usually spending on your website. If most users spend less than a minute on your site, it may mean that you are not providing them with good opportunities to keep on visiting it. One way to change it might be to include internal links to other articles on the website in a post so that people can click on them. You may also consider adding a "related posts" section that shows up when people finish reading your content, or a sidebar that includes your most popular posts. All of these are good strategies that you should definitely consider to improve your click-through rate and bounce rate.
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to improve traffic to their site (which is everyone!) Use it to assess who your audience is, what they like about your website, and what could be improved. The great thing about it is that it's relatively easy to install and start using. We hope that this guide was helpful to you—now best of luck with your website analytics!