Digital marketing.

Google Analytics 101: Getting started

by Jodie Beardmore - Marketing and support assistant

Google Analytics 101: Getting started

Knowledge is power, and nowhere is this truer than on the web. If you want your website to be a success you need to know who is using your platform, where they are spending the most time on there, and what they are doing when they get there.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing a series of articles by our digital marketing agony aunt, Jodie Beardmore, giving you the basics around Google Analytics and what it can do for you and your business. In this (the first article in the series) Jodie will be talking you through how to set up Google Analytics on your website.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is an incredible piece of digital analytics software that collects in-depth data and metrics about visitors to your website. It gives valuable insights into who is on your site and what they are doing there – information that is vital when implementing your marketing and business strategy.

What does it do?

Every time someone comes to your site Google Analytics logs it as a visitor. If your users have agreed to your cookie consent pop up, it will also collect information such as where your visitors are connecting from, what (if any) social platforms sent them your way,  as well as finding out how information like how many of these visitors are new or returning.

These are all valuable insights into your business that can help you to cater more efficiently to your client as well as figuring out how to make your website more effective when it comes to attracting users, getting them to come back, and buy your products, read your content, and engage with your brand. 

Setting up Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics on your website is easy. Firstly, we’ll talk through getting your account all set up.

Setting up your account

To set up Google Analytics you’ll need to go to https://bit.ly/2RWuW5z and click on ‘Start for free’ to create an account. If you don’t already have a Google Account you will need to create one, but if you do you can skip straight to setting up your account.

Firstly, give your account a name and then select the data sharing settings you want to accept before clicking next. 

Now choose what you want to measure from the options – web, apps (e.g. a mobile application) or apps and web. You’ll probably just want to select “web” for now.

Done? Great! You’ve set up your Google Analytics account – the first step on the journey to effectively tracking your website activity.

Set up the property

You’ll then want to set up your first property. A property is just another name for your website. In this instance, the property is where the data collected from your website is stored. Give your property a name and add your website address.

Now, select the relevant protocol (this is the bit that appears at the front of your website URL and is usually either HTTP or HTTPS) and enter the domain name without any slashes or other bits (so like www.test.com rather than www.test.com/).

Choose the industry category most appropriate for your business and then select the reporting time zone (usually this will be automatically deduced based on your current location). 

Lastly, click create and then read and accept the “Analytics Terms of Service” and the “Data Processing Amendment”. before clicking “finish”. 

Okay… now that’s done you can relax and take a breath. You’re almost there.  

Adding a tracking code

The last thing you need to do is to add the tracking code from your Google Analytics to your website. There are a number of ways to do this and we will detail them here. 

Firstly you need to find the tracking code. You can find this by clicking on to “Admin” in the menu, then select “Property”, -”Property Settings” and finally “Tracking info”. Here you’ll see two things that you will need to make a note of – the Tracking ID and the Global Site Tag (the code in the textbox).

The next thing you need to do very much depends on what sort of website you have.

WordPress, Wix, and other 3rd party site platforms

Many of these sites come with ready-built tools to let you set up Google Analytics. If you are using WordPress you can use the official Google plugin and if you’re using site builders like Format or Wix they already come with a handy tool to add the Tracking ID we mentioned earlier so you can start tracking straight away!

Custom website

If you’ve got a custom website then you’ll need to ask a developer to set this up. It’s not a big job and shouldn’t take them much time if they have access to the site. Just give them the Global Site Tag code we mentioned above and they will be able to get cracking.

Conclusion

So there you have it, you’re all set up with Google Analytics and now it’s time to delve into your data! In my next article, I will help you to understand the main pages within Google Analytics and guide you through how to use them to meet your business goals.