How To Set Up Google Analytics 3 Essential Steps For The Beginner
Step 1 Sign up
Simplest of the steps here is to sign up! Head over to www.google.com/analytics:
At this point either sign in with your existing Google account (Have you signed up for Google Apps for Business, perhaps? or do you currently use Google Adwords? YouTube?) or click ‘Create an Account’ in the upper right.
If you’re already signed in with a Google-related account, you’ll see this screen:
Once you’ve signed up for a new account (if you need it), come back to http://www.google.com/analytics and click “Access Google Analytics” if you’re not already redirected to the setup screen.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll come to the setup screen:
(after some scrolling…)
For the purposes of this post, we are only setting up Google Analytics for Websites. Should you be interested in setting up Google Analytics for your app instead, go to Google’s guidelines on the subject.
For Website Name, you can simply use your URL if you wish.
For Website URL – just type in your website address! Just as Google tells you – www.yourwebsiteadress.com (they’ve already taken care of the http://).
Industry – this one is optional but will let Google Analytics tailor some suggestions for your account for you. I’ve found most of these don’t apply to the clients I most often work with – if you’re having trouble picking one, I recommend “Online Communities.”
Pick your time zone. This is key for making sure the way Google Analytics counts days lines up with your own business day.
For Account Name – feel free to use your company name. You can have/monitor multiple websites in one Analytics Account, so make sure this name will be appropriate if you plan on adding multiple websites.
Data Sharing Settings – completely optional. Select and deselect as you feel comfortable.
Click the blue Get Tracking ID button, agree to the pop-up Terms of Service (after reading fully of course) and you’re all set!
Step 2 Install a tracking code
This part can SEEM a little intimidating (I know it’s easy to go deer-in-headlights when anyone starts typing code-like characters) but I PROMISE it’s actually really simple.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll see the following tracking code setup screen:
Note: I’ve blocked out the Tracking IDs in this screenshot so you won’t confuse them for your own. In your own Google Analytics account, there will be an actual number next to the UA- that is unique to your Analytics account.
If you’re using WordPress to manage your site, simply install the Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin and under Settings, manually enter your UA code (just copy and paste everything after “Tracking ID” from your Google Analytics screen). NOTE: Be sure to copy and paste YOUR specific code and not the one in the above screenshot – each UA code is unique to one Google Account.
If you’re NOT using WordPress, installing the code is still pretty easy:
- Copy the code Google displays for you (it includes your unique UA code).
- Paste EXACTLY THAT before the ending head tag in your HTML code.
QUICK TIP: Just do a search within the code to find this tag – “Ctrl+F” on a PC or “Command+F” on a Mac. In the Find box, type “</head>” (minus quotes)
- Save. As Google says, Most websites re-use one file for common content, so it’s likely that you won’t have to place the code snippet on every single page of your website.
- and Done! Wait for Google to recognize the installed code (can take a few hours to one day). When everything is installed correctly – the phrase “Status: Receiving Data” will appear next to “Tracking ID.”
Step 3 Add a Second Admin User
Your Google Analytics account is actually now set up and will start tracking data in the next 24 hours – this last step is just a bonus recommendation. By default, the address you signed up for is an admin user for Google Analytics (you have access to do everything in the account). I recommend setting up a second admin user with an unrelated Gmail address (free to sign up).
Why? Because as you may have experienced, Google is great with help forums but not so great at one-on-one customer service. You can’t really call anyone at Google if you lose access to your Analytics email account or something else goes funky. The data won’t be lost but you won’t be able to log in and see it [googling “can’t access google analytics” will show you how many people have had this dreaded problem]. Having a second unrelated email address signed up with your account means having a back-up plan.
You can actually add users either at the Account level or Property level in Google Analytics. For our purposes, we’ll add someone at the account level.
So here’s how (super easy):
- When signed into Google Analytics, click Admin at the top of your screen.
- Select User Management under the left-hand Account menu.
- In the “Add permission for:” field, fill out the email address (remember an unrelated Gmail address works)
- Check all boxes under the drop-down menu to the right. This essentially makes the second user an administrative user with full access.
- Check ‘notify this user by email’
- Click the Add button.
- Log out of Analytics and try logging in with your second-user address. Did it work? Great! You’re done. If not – log in with your primary account info again and make sure the email address was entered correctly.
And done! You now have a Google Analytics Account set up and back-up administrative access in place. Enjoy finding out more about your visitors and what online marketing efforts (visitor source) are working for you!