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Why Your Site Needs Google Analytics

I installed Google Analytics on my site before I launched. Yes, even before I had any traffic. (Zip! Zero visitors!)

I decided that my site needed a way to track traffic and trends, and it’s something that can help you, too.  Because it’s so important to understand how your readers are responding to your content and using your site, it’s critical to start tracking this early on.  Google Analytics will show you:

  • who is visiting your site
  • when they’re visiting
  • how long they stay
  • what they’re doing while they visit

Since you spend so much time creating content for your site, you want to be sure that your spending your time on activities that benefit your readers and resonate with your audience.  Google Analytics helps you determine this, and I’ll walk you through how I installed it on my site, step-by-step.

Disclosure:  This page contains affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Step 1 – Sign Up for Google Analytics

Visit the Google Analytics sign up page.  You can use your Gmail account, if you have one already.  If not, you’ll need to create one to sign up.

After you sign in with your Gmail account, you should see a screen like the one below.  When you see this screen, click “Sign Up“.Google Analytics Sign Up

You’ll then need to add a “Property“.  This is where you’ll add in your site information that you want to track.  To do this:

  • Select “Website
  • Enter your website’s name
  • Enter your website’s URL.  Make sure that the prefix is correct (either http or https).
  • Select “Industry Category” closest to your business
  • Choose your time zone
  • Click “Get Tracking ID

Google AnalyticsThe first time you do this, you should see the Google Analytics terms screen.  You’ll need to accept those to continue the process by clicking “I Agree“.

This will take you to the screen that shows your Tracking ID.  You will need this information as you continue your Google Analytics set-up, so it’s a good idea to keep this tab open while you continue.

Google Analytics

Step 2 – Install Google Analytics In WordPress

You’ll need to install Google Analytics in your WordPress account in order to use this functionality.  The easiest way that I found to do this was with a plugin.  After trying a couple of others, I chose the Google Analytics for WordPress Dashboard plugin.  I like to keep things as easy-peasy as possible, and this plugin has been great!

To install this plugin:

  • Log into your WordPress site dashboard
  • Click on “Plugins” on the left-hand side menu
  • Click “Add New“, then search for Google Analytics.  You should see the Google Analytics for WordPress Dashboard plugin listed.

Google Analytics

  • Click “Install Now“.  Once installed, click “Activate

Once the plugin is installed and activated, you’ll see that Google Analytics has been added to your left-hand side menu in your WordPress dashboard.  From there, click “General Settings“.

This will take you to the Plugin Authorization screen, then click “Authorize Plugin“.

Google AnalyticsClick “Get Access Code” to generate your access code.  This will take you to your Google account login, and ask you if you want to allow the Google Analytics for WordPress Dashboard to view your Google Analytics data.  Click “Allow” if you want to proceed.  You’ll then see a looong code that you’ll need to copy and paste back in the Access Code space in WordPress.  Then, click “Save Access Code“.

Google AnalyticsYou should then see a success message in your dashboard.  Then, congratulate yourself for setting up Google Analytics for your site!  (Can I get a woo-hoo?!)  🙂

Note that it will take a little while before you’ll start seeing traffic stats, and you should receive periodic emails with updates on your site’s traffic in your Gmail account.

Once you’ve installed Google Analytics, you can go to any page or post on your site in the WordPress dashboard, and you should see a column titled “Analytics“.  Click on the little graph icon to see a 30-day view of activity for that page or post.

There’s lots more to the plugin and Google Analytics, but this post should help you get started with tracking and analyzing your site’s traffic and activity!

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