Google Analytics provides you clear insight into your website traffic so that you learn how to improve the performance of your website. This article will enlighten you about how to use Google Analytics as a beginner. Scroll down to learn about all the whys and hows of a beginner’s guide to Google Analytics.

Why you need Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool provided by Google, which gives you access to analyze your website traffic and gather important information about your website visitors.

There are two versions of Google Analytics – first is the subscription-based Google Analytics 360, which is targeted at enterprise users, and second is the Google Analytics for Mobile Apps, which allows gathering usage data from iOS and Android Apps.

When you step in the world of Google Analytics as a complete beginner, everything may seem overwhelming initially, but this article will walk you through it and, by the end of it, you will certainly get the hold of how to use this extremely useful tool to boost your site’s performance.

How to set up your Google Analytics?

First of all, you need to have a Google Analytics account. Set up your Google Analytics using your Google account, if you already have one; or you can create a new one. Make sure to use that Google account, which you plan to keep forever and that only you have access to. It’s wise to create the Google analytics account all by yourself since the privacy of data is important in business.

1. Sign up on Google Analytics

Go to Google Analytics and Sign up by clicking on the“Set up for free” button. Complete the further three steps that you must take to set up Google Analytics.

Sign up to google analytics

After you click the Setup button, fill out details about your account and properties.Google Analytics provides hierarchies to organize your account. You can have access to 100 Google Analytics accounts under one Google account. You can have up to 50 websites under one Google Analytics account. You can have up to twenty-fivedifferent views under one website property.

Create a google analytics account

Once you are done with your details, you’ll get a popup for terms and conditions of Google Analytics. Agree and complete your setup.

Google analytics terms and conditions

Have a look at the following scenarios:

  1.  If you have one website, you need just one Google Analytics account with one website property.
  2. If you have two websites, for example, one for your business and one for your personal use, you might want to create two separate accounts, naming one “XYZBusiness” and one “Personal”. Then you will set up your business website under the ‘XYZBusiness’ account and your personal website under your ‘Personal’ account.
  3. If you have various businesses, but less than fifty, and each of them has a single separate website, you might want to put them all under a Business account. Then you can have a Personal account for your personal websites.
  4. If you have various businesses and each of them has a number of websites, for a total of more than fifty websites, you might want to put each business under its own account, such as XYZBusiness account, ABCBusiness account, and so on.
Fill up your details

You are always free to rename your accounts or properties for future use. However, you must remember that you can’t move a property from one Google Analytics account to another. This means you would have to set up a new website under the new account and leave the historical data you collected from the original property.

2. Install your tracking code

Once you are finished with the set -up, click the Admin Settings button. Then you will get access to Tracking Info under the Properties column to view your tracking code.

Install google analytics code

This code must be installed on every page on your website. The installation will depend on the type of website. If you have a WordPress account on your own domain, you can use the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin to install your tracking code easily no matter what theme or framework you are using.

Put google analytics code on WordPress

If your website is built with HTML code, add the tracking code before the </head> tag on each of your pages. You can also do this by using a text editor program, like TextEdit for Mac or Notepad for Windows, and then upload the file to your web host using an FTP program, such as FileZilla.

Put google analytics code to header

If you have a Shopify e-commerce store, go to your Online Store settings and paste in your code where specified.If you have a blog on Tumblr, select the ‘Edit Theme’ button at the top right of your blog, and then enter the Google Analytics ID in your settings.The installation of Google Analytics dependson the platform, theme, and the plugins you use.

Set up goals

Once you install the tracking code on your site, configure a small setting in your website’s profile on Google Analytics. This is what you call your‘Goals setting’. You can find the option by clicking on the Admin link at the bottom left of your Google Analytics and then clicking on Goals below your website’s View column.

Set up goals in google analytics

Goals will tell Google Analytics when something important happens on your website. For instance, you have a website where you generate leads through a contact form, and you want to find (or create) a thank you page that visitors end upon once they have submitted their information. Another example can be if you have a website where you sell products and services, and you want to find (or create) a final thank you or confirmation page for visitors to land upon once they buy something.

That URL will likely look something like this.

  • http://XYZbusiness.com/thank-you
  • http://XYZbusiness.com/thank-you/
  • http://XYZbusiness.com/thank-you.html

Now, click on the new goal button.

Add new goal in google analytics

Select the Custom option and move to the next step by pressing Continue button.

Custom Google analytics goals

Name your goal something you will remember in the long run, select Destination, and then ‘Continue’ further.

Google analytics goal description

Now change the drop-down to “Begins with” option entering your ‘thank you’ or confirmation page’s URL.

Google analytics goal destination link

Now toggle the value and enter a specific dollar value for that conversion and click ‘Save’ to complete the setup.

Google analytics goal

If you have other similar conversions/goals you would like to track on your website, you can repeat these steps. You are limited to create up to 20 goals on your website, so try to create which are highly important to your business. These goals include email list sign-ups, lead form submissions, and purchase completions. Your goals may vary depending on your website and its purpose.

3. Site search setup

Setting up a site search is quite easy and can be done really quickly. This is applicable for any website with a search box on it. Begin with running a search on your website, and keep the tab open. You will need the URL temporarily.Go to your Google Analytics Admin menu, and in the View column, click on ‘View Settings’.

Site search setup

Look back at your URL for your search results, and enter the query parameter. Click on Save.

Site search query

This will allow Google Analytics to track all the searches made on your website so you can learn more about what your website users or visitors are looking for on specific pages.

4. Additional accounts and properties

Go on to your admin menu and add a new Google Analytics account by clicking on the drop-down under the Account column, and clicking the Create New Account link.

Add new property on google analytics

Similarly, if you want to add a new website in your Google Analytics account, you can do so by going to your Admin menu, clicking on the drop-down under the ‘Create Property’, and clicking the ‘Create New Property’ link. Once you’ve installed Google Analytics on your website, set up your goals, and set up site search, you should wait approximately 24 hours for it to start getting data.

5. View Analytics data

Each time you log in to Google Analytics, you will be redirected to your Audience Overview report. And, if you have more than one website, you will be redirected to your list of websites to choose from, and then Audience Overview report for that website.

Google analytics dashboard

6. Standard report features

Click on the drop-down arrow at the top, next to your website to switch to different websites within all of your Google Analytics accounts. Or you can just click the Home link at the top of it.

Click on the Custom option in the report at the bottom to change the date range of the data you are viewing. You can also check the Compare box to compare your data from one date range to a previous date range to view your data.

Google analytics custom date reports

Hover over a variety of areas on your Google Analytics reports getting more information about the data. For instance, in the Audience Overview, hovering over the line on the graph will show you the number of sessions for a particular day. Hovering over the metrics below the graph will show you what each one means.

Google analytics session reports

You can switch through to see the top ten countries, cities, browsers, services providers, operating systems, and screen resolutions of your visitors below the main metrics.

Google analytics most visited pages

You can click the full report link or any of the top ten links to see more details. For example, clicking on the United States in Countries will show you to the full Location report, including visitors from states within the US.

Google analytics full reports

Types of Google Analytics reports

Here is a quick summary of what you will find in each of the standard Google Analytics reporting sections, accessible in the left sidebar.

Google analytics summary

Audience reports

Audience report tells you everything you want to know about your visitors. You can have access to detailed reports for your visitors’ age and gender, their general interests, geographic location, what language they speak, how often they visit your website and the technology they use to view your website.

Acquisition reports

In these reports, you will see your traffic broken down by main categories and specific sources. You can even connect Google Analytics to AdWords to learn more about PPC campaigns and to Google Webmaster Tools.

Behaviour reports

The report shows valuable data about your content, like top entry and exit pages. You can see what terms are searched for and the pages they are searched upon. You can also learn how fast your website loads as well as find specific suggestions from Google on how to make your website faster.

Google analytics users behaviour

7. Conversions

With goals setup, you can see how many conversions your website has received and what URLs they happened upon. Here’s a snapshot of conversions that will shown there:

Google analytics conversion

8. Shortcuts and emails

You can use the Shortcut link at the top of the report to share, export, and save the report quickly. Or, use the email button to have them emailed on a regular basis.

Google analytics send to email reports

Summing up

This beginner’s guide to Google Analytics was made simple and elaborated to make it easy for you to get the most out of Google Analytics. If you have any query, feel free to connect with SydneySEO today.

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