By  , ProfitReach Founder

How To Set Up Google Analytics – A Simple (But Complete) Guide

How To Set Up Google Analytics – A Simple (But Complete) Guide

Article by: Mark Reynolds, the founder and owner of ProfitReach. Mark first applied SEO to a small business website in 2002. In every role since, he has used SEO to grow web enquiries for small businesses. He’s a trusted speaker, delivering SEO/Google Analytics workshops for Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and other organisations. Today he’s here to help you. Need Mark’s help? Get in touch.

To get Google Analytics success, you first need to understand its importance to you and your business. Only then is it worth finding out how to set up Google Analytics (GA).

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) helps UK companies and thousands across the world improve their websites. It lets you know what’s happening on your website.

Analytics offers a series of reports allowing you to get answers to questions like:

  • How many users did I have last week?
  • Over the last 6 months, on what week days did I have the most users?
  • How many total new users did I have in the last 12 months?
  • What are my top pages in terms of pageviews?
  • What pages do people spend the most time on?

Check out 75 questions you can ask Google Analytics.

The insights that Google Analytics gives me and our clients are second to none. I learn so much about the people on the ProfitReach website and the right places to make changes. It’s got to be my favourite marketing tool.

Is Google Analytics Free?

  • Yes, Google Analytics is free to individuals and small to medium-sized companies.
  • For larger enterprises that need it all, they have a product called Analytics 360 which they invoice monthly.

Why Do Companies Use Google Analytics?

Switched-on small and medium sized businesses use Google Analytics because they know that they can get insights drawn from the data to improve their websites.

They use the insights to enhance their website. This helps them to increase conversions such as engagement, enquiries and/or online sales.

This then leads onto increased sales and revenue.

Google Analytics helped us optimise our art marketplace, resulting in 400% year-over-year revenue growth for our art business.

Mariam Naficy, Founder & CEO, Minted

Here’s why I use Google Analytics:

  1. I get a deeper understanding of my site visitors and clients. Google Analytics helps me to understand how people use our website. This allows me to take action to improve their experience.
  2. I get insights that only Google can give me. Google’s clever software discovers unique insights from all the data. eg. which users are more likely to convert.
  3. I bring it all together to make powerful website changes and improvements.

In this article I’m going to tell you how to set-up Google Analytics on your website. Get it set up on your website today, otherwise you’re missing out on valuable data about your potential customers.

With Google Analytics you will get access to a whole world of jaw dropping information about your website visitors.

The data you get is some of the most powerful you will ever see in relation to your website. Use it to make your website is engaging and easy to use.

The better your website, the more engaged visitors will be and the more likely they’ll buy from you, or get in touch.

If you need help and you think this whole process will take you too long, get in touch and I’ll be happy to set-up Google Analytics for you.

1. Where Do I Start?

To start collecting data from your website, you first need to add a small bit of tracking code called the ‘Analytics Tag’ to every page of your site.

To get this code, you need to create or sign in to your Analytics account:

  1. Go to google.com/analytics
  2. On that page you can either:
    • Create an account
    • or Sign in to your account

Once you’re logged in, Google will generally guide you through the process.

It might start to sound a bit more technical, but it’s pretty straight forward.

Here’s what you do in Google Analytics:

  1. Create a Google Analytics PROPERTY (check out this official Google guide)a property is another word for your website. This is where all your data from your website collects. Create one Analytics property for each website you want to collect data for.
  2. Set up a new reporting VIEW in your property (check out this official Google guide)Analytics automatically creates one default unfiltered view for every property in your account, so simply start with that.

2. How To Find Your Google Analytics Tracking ID

You need to add the tracking ID from your Google Analytics property onto every website page. Once you’ve added it, Google Analytics will start collecting data as soon as users interact with your site’s pages.

The tracking ID is a string that looks a bit like UA-000000-2. It must be included in your tracking code to tell Analytics which account and property to send data to in your Google Analytics account.

Check out Google’s guide here to find your tracking ID.

3. How To Add The Tracking ID To Your Website

You don’t need to know how to edit website code to use Google Analytics (at least that’s generally the case).

A lot of websites use Content Management Systems like WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify etc. If someone set up your website for you, they may well have put the tracking code right in the template code.

“Wait…how do I know if Google Analytics is already on my website?”

If you already have Google Analytics on your website and then add a new tracking code, your data will go bad. It’s critical to make sure your webpages only have one Google Analytics tracking code.

OPTION 1: If you use the Google Chrome browser, download Google’s Tag Assistant Chrome Extension

OR, OPTION 2: If you’re using Chrome, and want to check your website’s source code to see if Google Analytics is installed, do this:

  1. Load your web page in the Chrome browser.
  2. Right-click the page, then click View page source.
  3. You should see a lot of code. Search the page for gtag.js or analytics.js (for Universal Analytics) or ga.js (for Classic Analytics). A site can use both the Universal and Classic JavaScript libraries at the same time.

But if you know that Google Analytics is not already installed on your website, there are simple ways to add the tracking code. I recommend you go down this route…

Here are the best ways to add Google Analytics to popular website services that we work with:

  • Google Analytics WordPress Plugins (recommended) – check out WordPress Google Analytics plugins here. There are a number of plugins. Go for a plugin that has lots of good reviews, lots of active installations and has been updated in the last few months. Pick the best and install it. Then get your Google Analytics tracking ID (you only need the number, not the full bit of code) from your Google Analytics account and insert it into the correct box in the plugin’s settings.
  • WordPress custom code (don’t recommend for beginners) – if you’re confident coding, you can add the full tracking code to your WordPress functions.php file. But I would recommend using a WordPress plugin instead because it’s so much quicker and easier to change and update advanced settings in the plugin. Also with a plugin the code will update automatically when Google and the plugin release code updates.
  • Squarespace check out their Google Analytics guide here, all you need is your Google Analytics tracking ID – not the full tracking code.
  • Shopify check out their Google Analytics guide here, all you need is your Google Analytics tracking ID – not the full tracking code.

Are There More Advanced Ways To Install And Manage Google Analytics?

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a look at Google Tag Manager (GTM). This is not for beginners. But GTM can be a great solution for larger business where people in marketing want to add tags to the website, but don’t want to keep asking website developers.

How Do I Check Google Analytics Is Working?

This one’s quite straight forward.

There is a section in your Google Analytics reports called ‘Real Time’. Real-Time allows you to monitor activity as it happens on your site.

The reports are updated continuously and each hit is reported seconds after it occurs. For example, you can see how many people are on your site right now, which pages or events they’re interacting with, and which goal conversions have occurred.

Google Analytics Help

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to check if Google Analytics is collecting data.

  1. Open the ‘Real Time’ report in Google Analytics (see screenshot below).
  2. Visit your website that you’ve added the Google tracking ID to.
  3. Refresh/reload your website’s page.
  4. Go back to the ‘Real time’ report. Wait 10 seconds and check to see if your visit is being registered.
  5. You should see the main number of active users increase from 0.
  6. You should also see a visit recorded via the bar chart (see bottom right of screenshot below) denoted by a vertical bar.
Real-time reports tell you if you have set-up Google Analytics correctly.

“I Don’t See Any Active Users”

If you don’t see any active users in the Real Time report, visit your website with a different device, like a smartphone.

Once you have confirmation that Google Analytics is tracking successfully, you can sit back over the coming days and watch the data come in.

You have set-up Google Analytics. Now the fun begins.

How Long Does It Take Data To Appear in Google Analytics Reports?

According to Google it takes 24-48 hours to process the data for non-real-time reports. In the free version data freshness is not guaranteed. If your data still hasn’t appeared in your reports after 48 hours it’s time to check if your tracking code is installed correctly.

Reports will not show any data from before you installed the tracking code.

“I Still Don’t See Any Active Users”

If you need further Google Analytics help, you have access to a range of Google support channels at the top of your reports screen (see below).

Google provides lots of support options within the Google Analytics interface.

Key Takeaways

Setting up Google Analytics is quite straight forward if you add your tracking ID (looks like this UA-000000-2) to the appropriate place in your website’s settings.

If your website is set up correctly, adding Google Analytics should be plain sailing.

But be warned.

The majority of businesses that have Google Analytics set-up have not looked at their reports in months. All those opportunities missed. But it’s more common than you think.

Don’t be one of those businesses. At least make sure you look at your reports once every couple of weeks.

Even if your website doesn’t attract much traffic you will get insights from Google Analytics – there will be enough information in there to improve your site.

Don’t simply install Google Analytics and never login.

Turn it into a habit.

In 6 months time, make sure you’ve haven’t missed the significant opportunities lying inside your reports. Keep analysing your reports as the months go by.

And even more importantly – improve your website. Google Analytics is useless if you don’t enhance your site visitors’ experience.

Finally I’ve written these posts that should be very useful. Take a look once you’ve set up Google Analytics.

Now you know how to set-up Google Analytics, it’s over to you.

If you need help and you think this whole process will take you too long, get in touch and I’ll be happy to set-up Google Analytics for you.

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