A website without analytics is like a football team without a coach. The team can run as many plays as they want but if they don’t have someone on the sideline watching their every move and providing data on the opposition, their performance will suffer. You can implement various strategies (aka plays) on your site but unless you have something in place to collect information about your users interactions with the site – all those efforts are carried out blindly. Analytics will give you specific feedback on your site’s performance allowing you to run the appropriate plays.
Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that tracks website traffic. From the time Google Analytics is installed on your website you can see:
- How many visits your website receives
- Who visits your website (the user’s screen resolution, browser, language and physical location)
- How long they spend on your site and what they click on
- How visitors locate your site (social media referral, organic search, etc)
If you are working with a web designer or developer you have probably been asked for your unique Google Analytics Tracking Code. Some people also call this your Google ID. Follow along with the tutorial below in order to get the tracking code your designer/developer requested.
Sign into your Gmail account.
If you already have an account with Google, go to www.gmail.com and enter your email and password. If you do not already have an account set up, choose the option to create an account with a new email address and password. Keep your login credentials available because you will need them each time you want to review your analytics.
Access the Google Analytics section of your Google account.
Once you have logged into Gmail, click on the grid of squares in the upper right corner. If Analytics isn’t listed as one of the first 12 icons, choose the “More” button at the bottom.
Click the arrows at the top of the page until you are able to select “Grow Your Business.” You will see options for other business related aspects of your Google account. Choose “Analytics.” Alternatively, once your Gmail account has been created, you can jump to the analytics section by going to www.google.com/analytics.
Tip: Bookmark www.google.com/analytics so you can easily check in on your site’s performance.
Create a Google Analytics account.
Click the “Sign Up” button to start using Google Analytics.
Select “Website” under “What would you like to track?”
Next, enter an Account Name. If you own multiple domains (or multiple businesses) it is helpful to name your account as the parent company or with your personal name. Below this you can set up your “Property” which is the specific website you will be tracking. You can have multiple properties under a single account. Doing so would allow you to easily check on the data of multiple websites without having to login with separate emails and passwords each time. Add the url of your website. Select the industry option from the dropdown that most closely matches your website. Then, choose the timezone your business is located in.
The next section is called “Data Sharing Settings.” By default I only select Technical Support and Account Specialists. If you anticipate using other Google products such as Ad Words, it is best to also select the first option called “Google Products & Services.” After you have made your selections, choose the “Get Tracking ID” button at the bottom of the page.
You will then see a Service Agreement popup. Choose “I accept.”
Locate your tracking code.
Congrats, you did it! Once your Analytics account has been created, you will land on the dashboard of your account. The tracking ID is listed on this page. Copy the code and give this to your designer or developer so they can apply it to your website.