Importance of Google Analytics
Tracking data is important in business, if you have a website currently for your business or even a personal website for a blog and are not tracking data then you are missing out!
Google offers a free service called Google Analytics which helps you to track data on your website. It’s main focus is showing you how many people are visiting your website. Google Analytics is a highly under used resource that a lot of businesses fail to take the opportunity to utilize.
Why? Well to start with, a lot of small businesses don’t take their website too seriously, or don’t have the time. There is also the case where people simply don’t know about it or how to install it.
Even if you don’t currently have a use for it, you should still make the effort to add Google Analytics to your website so that when it comes time for you or someone you hire to work on you site, they have access to all the previous tracking data that would not be there if you hadn’t installed Google Analytics.
So What does Google Analytics actually do? Without getting too detailed or technical, it really depends on your needs for the data.
It is great for e-commerce stores or businesses that sell products online because you can set up something called conversion tracking, which allows you to keep track of how many people are buying products from your store.
Alternatively you can simply have it set up as a way to keep track of how many people come to your website, where they came from, what device they were using, and a whole lot more data about the visitors.
Analytics are also important to start monitoring especially after setting up paid traffic campaigns. You can easily track the progress and see what results advertising brings you.
As part of my website experiment, I released my site early and am still building it. So today I am writing this post to show you how to install Google Analytics easily. This tutorial is for WordPress websites because that is what I use for most of my websites.
So one of the things I did early on in my setup was that I installed Google Analytics just to start collecting data as soon as I could, but now I am going to reinstall it using a much easier method. This involves using something called the Google Tag Manager.
It allows you to install tracking codes and test them out to make sure they are working correctly. It also means that you don’t need to install another plugin just to get Analytics which helps save resources and keep the page load times down.
How to Install Google Analytics – Easy & Without Plugins
So the first thing to do is to go to Google Analytics and sign in or create an account if you don’t currently have one. If you haven’t created an account yet, you will need to enter your details: Account name, website name, website URL, industry category & timezone.
Once you have created your account and entered your details, you will need to click on the “Get Tracking ID” button and accept the terms.
You will then be taken to a screen that looks similar to the one below, it shows your Tracking ID and also your Tracking Code.
Most of the time you will use one of these two codes to install Analytics using a plugin, but it is actually quite simple to install without using one.
Install Google Analytics Without a Plugin
What you will now need to do is copy the entire code in the “Website Tracking” Box. The next step is to log into your WordPress admin area for your website.
Before going on, if you are planning on installing the Analytics code using Tag Manager, you must skip this step. You don’t need to paste the Analytics code into your site if you use the Google Tag Manager as it handles it for you.
Now not everyone is going to have the same theme, I personally use Divi for my websites and they have a special area for pasting codes, but I will show you how to do it without Divi.
You will need to go to Appearance-Editor, and in the right hand column you want to look for the Theme Header (header.php)
Once you click on the header.php, you will need to look for the </head> and paste your tracking code in a few lines above it. See the image below for an example.
Once you have pasted in your tracking code, you need to save the changes and you are now done! You can now enjoy the free benefits of Google Analytics.
Although that was nice and easy, I highly recommend you take it a few steps further and add your Google Analytics Code using the Google Tag Manager.
Now the Tag Manager is not necessary, it is just an extra step that I like to take to help keep things all together in one place. If you have made it this far successfully then you won’t have any issues continuing on.
Google Tag Manager
The Google tag Manager is very helpful as you can add various tracking codes to it without using any additional plugins, and you can manage them all within one easy place rather than having to worry about adding too many extra codes to your site. Best of all I have found it to make installing Facebook tracking pixels super easy – I will have a post coming out about that soon.
First you will need to create a Google Tag Manager account. Open a new window or tab in your web browser and bring up Google Tag Manager.
You will need to either sign into a Google email account or create a free account. Enter your website details including your domain name and make sure to select web in the container option. Once the details are entered, click on create and agree to the terms.
Tag Manager Code
You should be directed to the main Tag Manager page and a couple of codes should pop up. Now what you want to do is copy the top code and log into your website in another tab or window on your web browser. Keep the Tag Manager code open as we will need the second code shortly.
Install Tag Manager code in WordPress
Now I am using the Divi theme by Elegant Themes which allows easy access to the places that I need to paste the Tag Manager code, but the concept is the same for most themes.
For the Divi theme, you need to go to theme options and under the integration tab, paste the Tag Manager code into the <head> section.
For other websites you will need to do the same thing but the head tag is located in a different place on WordPress. You can follow this guide on how to paste code to the head tag, it covers a range of options to achieve this in more detail.
Essentially, you need to go to Appearance-Editor in WordPress and click on the Theme Header (header.php).
Find the <head> tag, and past the first code right below it.
Now do the same with the second code in Google Tag Manager, only you want to look for the <body> tag and paste the second code right below that.
If you are using the Divi theme like me, you can paste the codes under the integration tab in theme options. Below is an image of the <head> location in the Divi Theme, the Body tag is located right below it.
The next step is to go back to the Tag Manager and copy the second code which is to be pasted into the <body> tag in WordPress.
Once the codes have been placed into your website, make sure to save the changes, and then we are done with adding the codes to the website.
Add Analytics to Tag Manager.
The next thing we need to do is add the analytics code to Tag Manager so that it is synced with the website.
So to begin this process we need to go back to the Tag Manager and click “Add A New Tag”.
From there, you can rename the new tag something like “Analytics Code” or what ever you like to call it. Then you click on the Tag Configuration window.
The next step is to select Classic Analytics from the menu that pops up. The other option would be for setting up things like conversion tracking.
Once you have selected this you will see the option to put in your Analytics code. Simply go back to your Google Analytics page, copy and paste the code into here.
Next you want to scroll down and click on Triggering, and select All Pages. From here, you are finished adding your tracking code and can press save.
Now all that is left to do is run a quick preview to make sure everything is working. Press the preview button and this will enable a test mode on your site.
Now that preview mode is enabled, you can go to your website and you should see something like the image below displaying the tracking code working correctly counting your visits.
Just a note, if you have a lot of browser extensions and things like Ad Blocker, you may experience issues with this, so that is something to check first if you have problems.
If everything is all good, you can go back to the Tag Manager, press Leave Preview Mode, and then press Submit.
Now you have successfully added Tag Manager and integrated Analytics to your site. I love Tag Manager since you can have all of your codes in one easy place, as well as ensure that they are working correctly with the preview mode.
It is also a great way to install your Facebook Pixel for advertising especially with the Divi Theme as they do not currently make it easy to add the custom codes to each page on your site.
I hope you found this helpful and I may do a video on this when I get time. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to leave a comment below, or get in contact with me.