Nearly every web host has a built-in feature for viewing basic website statistics. Even WordPress linked to Jetpack allows us to see very basic details about the number of views our website, articles, and pages. None of these solutions, though, allow us to view very detailed statistics the way Google Analytics does. In fact, learning to set up Google Analytics on a website can help us understand what content to create. Today we're going to go over everything you need to know to set up Google Analytics on a website.
If you need more help, we have a full video tutorial above where you can follow along to set up Google Analytics. The steps in this article will follow the video in the same format.
Google Analytics Basics
Before we jump into setting up Google Analytics, there are a few quick things we should point out. Google Analytics can be set up on multiple different types of hosting platforms. From WordPress to Wix to raw code, it's very simple to add. We're mainly going to focus on adding Google Analytics to a WordPress website near the end, but the rest of the process remains the same. We'll dive into adding it to WordPress and an HTML-based website.
If you're looking for a web host to set up WordPress and Google Analytics, check out Bluehost. We've been using Bluehost for years to host our website, and plans start at just $3.95/month. In my opinion, Bluehost with WordPress is the easiest way to manage a website.
For now, though, let's set up Google Analytics on a website!
Set Up Google Analytics Account
In order to set up Google Analytics, we first need to create an account. To do this, head over to Analytics.Google.com, and click Start for Free in the top right corner. From here, we're redirected to a page asking for some basic information. The sign-up process for Google Analytics is quite easy and just requires a bit of basic information. If you already have a Google account, you can skip the sign-up process and log in with that info.
Once we've logged in, we're taken to the Analytics dashboard. The first time we log in, we're going to be asked for some additional information. To continue setting up our Analytics account, we're going to need to answer some questions.
Setting Up the Account
Analytics allows us to track website traffic as well as mobile traffic. In this case, we're going to be focusing on website traffic. After that, we need to name our account, but we can add more than one tracking ID after this is set up. Personally, I like to keep our different websites under different accounts, but using multiple tracking IDs is also an option. For this example, we'll name the account “NicKing.xyz,” which is the example website we're using.
Next, we're asked for our website name and website URL. These will both be NicKing.xyz as well. While we named the account the same as the URL and Website name, this is not required. It's simply something we do to keep track of our stats more easily. Google allows us to have the website name and account name different from the actual URL.
Important Note: If you have SSL set up on your website, you will need to be sure to select “HTTPS” with Website URL. If your website isn't utilizing basic security or SSL, leave this as “HTTP” instead. If you need a basic SSL certificate for your website, you can check out Bluehost. Their plans include basic SSL security for $3.95/month.
After we've set our website URL, we'll need to enter in our Industry Category. This doesn't have to fully fit our business, as most of the categories are vague In this example, we'll just choose Computer & Electronics because it most closely fits our business. From there, we'll select our Reporting Time Zone, which in our example is New York Time.
Next, we have a few options we can select. In our example, we're going to leave all of them checked. None of these options are required.
From here, click “Get Tracking ID” at the bottom of the page. A dialog box will appear asking you to accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service. Before continuing, we're required to agree to both of the terms shown on the page.
Google Analytics on WordPress
We're going to need to add a new plugin to our WordPress website. The plugin we need to add is called MonsterInsights for Google Analytics, which can be found here. This plugin is going to make it much easier for us to set up Google Analytics on WordPress. Once we're on the plugin page, we're going to click the Download button. From here, we'll redirect our browser back over to our WordPress dashboard to add the MonsterInsights Plugin.
To add a new plugin to our WordPress website, we're going to head over to Plugins -> Add New in the sidebar of our dashboard. Once the page has loaded, click on the Upload Plugin button in the top left corner. A new window will open where we can select the MonsterInsights plugin to upload. Once we've selected the plugin, we'll need to click the Install Now button in WordPress.
From this point, setting up Google Analytics is as easy as logging into your Google Account. From here, we'll click the Activate Plugin button near the top of the page, and it's time to get our tracking set up!
MonsterInsights Set Up
Once we're on the Insights tab in WordPress, we need to click the button that says “Authenticate with your Google Account” to continue. Once we click the button, a new window will pop up that says “Preparing to Redirect.” This will redirect us to Google where we can log into our account. Log in with the account info, and we'll be taken to a page where we choose the website we want to connect.
For this example, we're going to select “NicKing.xyz.” From here, we'll select “Complete Authentication.”
Once we're redirected back to MonstserInsights on WordPress, we're going to click “Save Changes” in the bottom corner, and it's done!
From here, we have some options in the Tracking tab that we can change. We typically choose to ignore Administrators and Editors on the website from counting towards traffic numbers. This allows us to know how many people on our website are actually visitors – not staff.
Google Analytics on HTML Website
While it's a different process with some small technical skills required, it's equally as easy to set up Google Analytics on an HTML website. We need to head back to our Google Analytics dashboard in order to get the Global Site Tag. This is also known as the “gtag.js” that we will add to our website.
To find the Global Site Tag, we'll head into our Analytics dashboard and click on the cogwheel in the bottom left corner. From here, we'll click on the Admin tab in the top right corner. This will display a screen with several different options, but here, we're looking for “Tracking Info” under “Property.” Click on Tracking Code, and we'll be redirected to a page with the code.
Copy the Global Site Tag, and head into your code editor to paste the code. We're going to be pasting the gtag.js into the Head or Header Tag. Be sure to paste the Google Analytics Tracking Code script into the <head>PASTE CODE</head> section. If you place it outside of the head tag, it will not work correctly.
Once you've added the code, you're done! Google Analytics is now completely added to your website.