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Analyze This!

Analyze This

This one is simple. If you’re not using Google Analytics on your website, you need to start. Now. Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google to give you detailed statistics and information about the traffic your website is getting. And it’s not a complicated thing to do either, as it only requires a Google account and a bit of code. It literally takes just two or three minutes to get started.

Get the Code 

Simply visit Google Analytics and log in with your Google account credentials. Then you just click the “Sign Up” link, choose Universal Analytics, assign the account a name and enter the website URL you wish to track. With the form complete, simply click “Get Tracking ID” to create a Tracking code and get your code “snippet”. The “code snippet” is a bit of JavaScript that you will have to add to your website for the Google Analytics tracking to work. You should copy that someplace and keep it handy.

Use the Code 

Now, if you’ve created your website yourself, you simply need to add the “code snippet” to every page on your site that you want to track. It simply gets pasted into your HTML pages just before the closing “head” tag. If your site uses WordPress you’ll have to edit the header part of your site’s theme to add the code. And if all this sounds like greek to you, odds are you’ve got a web developer who put your site together for you. In that case all you’ll need to do is pass this code along to them so that they can add it to the site for you. That was the easy part.*

Prepare to be Amazed

The more complex part of Google Analytics is understanding everything and being able to decipher the reporting for your site. Once you’ve setup the account and added the code to your site, logging into Google Analytics will take you to your “Home” dashboard page. This will give you a quick overview of the number of visits your site has had, as well as the average visit duration other information. This quick glance is just meant as a starting place. By choosing “All Website Data” from the list you’ll switch to the “Reporting” view, which is where all these numbers start to get interesting. You should check out Google’s help which is a great place to get you started. Google also offers several courses and helpful guides to using Google Analytics that can be found on their site.  But even if you don’t understand it and can’t seem to make sense of the information, there are plenty of folks out there who can – and will – help you figure it out!

*It is of note that at the time of this posting, Google has not fully implemented the Universal Analytics. If you want to collect demographic information about your visitors, or wish to utilise their remarketing tools, you’ll need to setup a “Classic” Analytics account instead, as these tools are NOT available to Universal users yet. Google has stated that in the near future, ALL analytics users will need to “migrate” to the Universal Analytics setup, as all others will be discontinued.

About The Author

Edd Twilbeck
Edd Twilbeck is Senior Web Developer at Marketing In Color. Websites and web applications are Edd’s realm, so he takes the lead on web projects from scope layout through specification and timeline development to completion and delivery. Edd has more than twelve years experience in web design and development, using PHP, CSS, Javascript, content management systems, and development frameworks.
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