In Episode 1 of our new podcast titled “HERO Blueprint”, we mention Google Analytics as the best tool to use to begin tracking your website’s traffic and how users interact with your content. If you haven’t already set this up for your website, here is a brief set of instructions to get you started:
- Setup a Google Analytics account.
Setting up a Google Analytics account is simple. Go to Google’s Analytics homepage and click “Access Google Analytics” in the upper right corner. Assuming you’re signed into a Google account, the next page will have a large “Sign Up” button on the far right.
- Add a “Property”.
On the next page, you will be asked whether you want to track a website or a mobile app. After answering a few simple questions about the site/app and your industry and then accepting the Terms of Service, you’re ready for the next step.
- Place your analytics code on your site.
On the next page, you’re given tracking code that you can place on your site. You will need the code on every page of your site that you want to track. This is easiest if you have dedicated header or footer files that are called on every page because you can drop the code in just the one place without have to paste it everywhere. Note: I’ts a good idea to place this code in the footer rather than the header because in the header, web browsers will load the analytics code before the rest of your content, forcing your content to take longer to load.
If your site is built using a Content Management System like WordPress, there are plenty of plugins/extensions that make this process easier. We happen to like this one: Google Analytics Dashboard.
- Begin tracking your statistics.
Starting from the moment you drop the code in place, Google Analytics begins tracking usage statistics. Give the site some time to establish a solid baseline before making any radical changes to your site (most of our clients collect data for a couple months) so you can get a decent sample size and therefore a more complete picture of how users interact with your site.
Google Analytics will help you out significantly in determining what your site is doing for you and offers a variety of tools like tracking and monitoring AdWords and AdSense campaigns so that you can make the most out of your website.
For a more detailed breakdown of how to set up Google Analytics, you can check out Google’s Setup Checklist.