What is the most popular page on your website?
How long did it take you to answer that question? With Google Analytics, that information is readily available in seconds.
Your website is a digital storefront showing off all the amazing products of services you offer.
Like a physical shop, you should be able to know which part of the store is the most popular. With this information, you can focus your energy on delivering the best user experience possible and gaining more clients through your website.
Having a beautifully designed website is just one part of your business. After investing in your business, it only makes sense to optimise your website where possible and that’s where Google Analytics can help.
What is Google Analytics?
There is no doubt you’ve heard of Google, the biggest search engine in the world with over 3.8 million searches per minute.
So, what is google analytics?
Google Analytics is the brainpower behind every great website. This powerful software helps you track and monitor activity on your website. The possibilities are endless, but here are the main questions you can answer with it:
- How many people visit your website?
- How do people find your website?
- Where in the world are users from?
- What time of day do users visit your website?
- What devices do users choose to view your website?
- Which pages get the most traffic?
- What percentage of users leave your website after viewing one page (bounce rate)?
- How many users were converted into leads or customers?
- How much time do people spend on the site?
Why do you need Google Analytics?
It might seem a little advanced to consider using Google Analytics, especially if you are a small business.
Yet, small businesses need this information the most. Because you are not attracting the masses, you are going after the small segment of a relatively large market, your ideal clients..
Meaning there is a specific type of person, in a specific location, maybe using a specific social media platform, needing a specific service from you.
Google Analytics helps to measure if you are attracting this specific person onto your website and respond appropriately, without ambiguity. Saving you time and money.
The best part is Google offers all of this for FREE.
How to set up Google Analytics on your website?
Sign in to Gmail
You’ll start by signing in with your Google or Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail, you can create one for free which will allow you to use Google Analytics.
Visit Google Analytics
Once signed in on your browser, you can head over to the google analytics page to get started. You’ll land on the welcome page where you can get started straight away.
Create an account
Here you’ll be required to enter an account name. A common choice is the name of your business, making it easier to identify in the future.
Choose what you would like to measure
You have the option between web, apps or apps and web. For most small businesses the web option is recommended. If your business has a mobile application as well, you may choose mobile and app. Have a look at this blog post for more information on google analytics and apps.
Provide property details
Here you will provide your full business name, along with the URL you want google analytics to track for you. Be sure to add the appropriate protocol; HTTP or HTTPS.
You will then choose the relevant industry your business relates to. There are a few options, however, if your business does not fit into any category, it’s ok to select ‘other’. Ensure you choose the current country you reside in so that the next step is accurate.
Accept the terms of service agreement
You will need to accept the terms of service agreement of Google Analytics to continue. The agreement varies by country, which is why the region you choose must be accurate.
Track your website
The initial dashboard will appear and this is where you’ll get the instructions for connecting your website. This part can be slightly technical, but we will go through each step.
For WordPress websites, copy all of the contents of the <script> tag shown in the image (you’ll need this later).
There are also plugins you can install such as Monster Insights, which has over 2 million active installations. Plugins help to track the website data from within the WordPress dashboard. Take a look at some of the best plugins to connect google analytics.
Other websites such as Wix, Squarespace and Shopify, follow a different approach.
The following instructions will be WordPress specific and I recommend this over a plugin.
Login to your WordPress Dashboard
For most websites, it will be yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. Many themes allow you to add the tracking code somewhere, check your theme documentation to be sure. If your theme doesn’t have a specific place for this code you can go ahead and edit a file right in your WordPress dashboard.
Locate the header file
Make sure you’re using a child theme. Not sure what that is? Check out this handy guide.
Click on Appearance > Theme Editor.
Under theme editor, you should see a page with a lot of code. Navigate to the theme files column and select header.php. You may have to scroll further on some websites.
Insert the Google script
The Google Analytics script must be placed in the <head> tag. If it is located anywhere else, the website will not recognise it. You should place the copied script provided by Google Analytics and place this just before the closing </head> tag as shown in the image. Once you have done this, update the file by clicking the blue button at the bottom of your page.
Test the connection
Now it’s time to see if google analytics is tracking your website. Open your website in a new private/incognito window in your browser. At the same time, head back to Google Analytics and refresh the page.
If your website is connected, there should be an alert notifying you that there is 1 active user (or more if you have other visitors on your website). This is a live insight into the active users on your website. Note that tracking data will not show instantly, so don’t fear if it appears blank initially.
Making the most of Google Analytics: Goals
Now you have everything set-up, it’s time to make good use of that data. By default, Google provides a lot of general (yet, valuable) data. But, focusing on the most important things for your business, gives you the power to know what will keep your users coming back.
Google Analytics allows you to set goals relevant to your website. It’s an important aspect of monitoring a website’s performance. Goals will be the next step that helps you stand out from the competition.
Being able to quantitatively track what users are doing and if it aligns with your expectations is a powerful tool to your business. When you create a goal, you are then able to track whether people on your website are doing the things you want. This may be filling in a contact form, visiting specific pages or buying a product.
How to make a goal
Navigate to the admin panel
The admin panel will be on the bottom left column with a gear icon. Once selected head to the far right column and select goals under the title view.
Add a new goal
You’ll then have the option to create a new goal. There are various types of goals you can create. Neil Patel covers 4 main goals you could set up for your business to track the most important conversions.
Set the details of your goal
Start by choosing a template goal as this would be helpful for tracking basic activity. A good starting point is to start by selecting a destination as your goal type.
Provide a relevant website destination
This will allow Google to know what page on your website users needs to land on to achieve your goals.
Thinking about your business specifically, identify a page that you would want users to visit the most. If you’re a service provider, maybe your service page or contact page is where you would like most traffic.
If you have an e-commerce store, the thank-you page may be where you’d want most traffic, to track successful sales.
Track your progress
Over time you’ll start to see how much progress you’ve achieved with the goal you’ve set. This is a great way to be actionable with your website traffic and focus on what is important to your business.
Google allows up to 20 goals to be set at one time, so feel free to create a range of goals that are relevant to you.
Having Google Analytics is a must for small businesses to track their website performance. However, what’s more, important is using the information strategically and creating goals that relate specifically to your business. Why wait? Get started adding google analytics to your website and learn something new about your users.
If you’re feeling motivated to get stuck in you can sign up for Google’s free academy, providing mini-courses on how to make the most of Analytics.
Otherwise, book a free call with Mean Creative to chat about what you need to get your brand in front of the right people.