A Beginners Guide to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that helps you to analyze various aspects of your sites like how many visitors visit your site, average duration of visits, source of the traffic and most popular pages on your site. You can go beyond traditional visitor and page view counts to measure downloads, sales conversion, goals tracking and video plays and adjust your site accordingly to increase the revenue. In this article let us understand the basic features and usage of Analytics.

A Beginners Guide to Google Analytics

This guide covers the following topics:

  1. Login to your Analytics account
  2. Adding account for your site
  3. Inserting tracking code on your site
  4. Understanding Analytics structure and limits
  5. Adding multiple sites
  6. Important features of Analytics
  7. Using Analytics reports
  8. Integrating other Google products
  9. Why to integrate AdSense and Analytics – for publishers
  10. Learning with Analytics demo account

1. Logging into Google Analytics Account

Go to Google’s analytics page and click on the “Sign in” link. You will see there are lots of analytical products listed over there. Click on the “Analytics” option, login with your Google account and go to your Google Analytics account.

Google’s Analytical Products

2. Creating Analytics Account for Your Site

Go to the admin section, click on the dropdown menu under “Account” section and then click on “Create new account” link.

Creating New Account in Analytics

Provide account name, site name, URL and other details to get the tracking id for your site.

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Filling Details for New Account
Filling Details for New Account

Once the new account is created, there will be a property and a view automatically attached to it. Go to the property and under Tracking Code Tab, you can get the Tracking ID linked to your account.

Viewing Tracking ID in Analytics Account

3. Inserting Tracking Code on Your Site

In order to track the traffic data, you should add the tracking code on all the pages of your site. Analytics provides various methods to insert the Tracking Code on your site. The best and easy method is to copy the code and add in-between the <head>…</head> tags on all your pages.

Most site builder tools offer in build facility to enable Google Analytics tracking code. For example, if you are using Weebly, you can paste the code in “Settings > SEO > Header Code”. In case of WordPress users there are many plugins and themes offering this feature. Forum platforms like phpBB offers standard extension to insert Analytics tracking code. If you use static HTML sites like made with Bootstrap then your should insert the code between head tags on each page manually.

Once you have pasted the tracking code and successfully published your site, Google Analytics will start receive the traffic data from your site. You can check the tracking status under “Property > Tracking Code > Status”. You can also send test traffic to verify whether the tracking code is installed on your site properly.

4. Analytics Structure and Site Limits

In order to use Analytics account, you should understand the structure properly. When you create a new account there will a property and view automatically created with it. Every new account has a property and a view attached to it. Google allows you to have 100 accounts, each account can have maximum of 50 properties and each property can have maximum of 25 views.

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Analytics Account Structure

5. Adding Multiple Sites

There are two ways to add new sites to your Analytics account.

  • New domain – when you want to add a completely new domain, we recommend to create a new account. In this case, you will get a new tracking ID for your site.
  • Subdomain – when you want to add a subdomain, we recommend to use properties and add the subdomain as a property of a main domain. In this case, you will get the tracking code with the last digit different. For example, if your account tracking id is UA-12345678-1 then the new property of the subdomain will have UA-12345678-2 as a tracking code.

Learn more about adding multiple sites in Google Analytics.

6. Features of Google Analytics

The account screen area has three main parts – top bar, side menu and content area. You can choose the site from the top bar and navigate through multiple available menu options in the left side. The content area will show you the cards and graphs for the selected menu item and account. The dashboard view will be the default view when you open the account.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Once your site is connected to Google Analytics you can check page views, visitors count, source of visitors and many other options from the left side navigation menu. It is also possible to customize the dashboard with your favorite widgets for quick monitoring.

7. Reporting from Analytics

The robust part of Google Analytics is the ability to generate numerous standard and custom reports. The default reports are grouped under – Real-time, audience, acquisition, behavior and conversions.

Google Analytics Reports

For example, you can get a report showing which browser users are using to view your site under “Audience > Technology > Browser & OS” section.

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Report Example in Analytics
Report Example in Analytics

8. Integration with Other Google Products

Since single Google account is used for all Google products, you can easily integrate all other products to your Analytics account. AdSense, AdWords and Ad Exchange accounts can be integrated under the property section. You can also integrate Google Search Console and Analytics account to view relevant data in your Search Console account.

9. Why Do I Need to Integrate AdSense and Analytics?

Integrating your AdSense account with Analytics provides you detailed information about your ads and your sites. You can use this information to improve ad performance and increase AdSense revenue.

Once you integrate AdSense and Analytics, AdSense performance can be seen under “Behavior > Publisher” section of your Analytics account. This shows earnings and ad impressions based on user visits, the top sites referring users to AdSense, and the geographical areas where your visitors are located.

10. Learn with Analytics Demo Account

We have used Google Analytics demo account to show the screenshots. You can easily add a demo account to your Analytics account from “Discover” menu. The demo account will have few custom views and show the real traffic data of Google Merchandise Store. Do all your testings and then remove the demo account when it not required.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is the top analytics software available for website publishers at no cost. Though there could be an impact on page speed and privacy considerations due to tracking, nowadays you can’t see a site without Analytics tracking code. If you are website owner, we highly recommend to learn the basics to generate reports and optimize your site for better performance.

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