In this Google Analytics tutorial for beginners, you’re going to learn how to set up Google Analytics, why you need it on your website, and some important metrics you should pay attention to.
So in case you’re wondering what Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions reports are in GA, this Google analytics tutorial is for you.
I get a lot of questions concerning Google analytics since I created my website.
One user asked, “Hi, how do I set up google analytics for my new website?”
..and many others.
And this prompted me to put together this GA tutorial to help you know how to use this powerful analytics tool by Google.
So without much ado, let’s get rolling.
Google Analytics Tutorial- Overview
No matter how attractive your new website is if you don’t get enough information about the following elements:
- Who are your website visitors?
- Where do they come from?
- Which pages are they visiting?
- How long do they stay on your site?
- Why and when do they leave your website after landing?
…Then you might be investing your money targeting the wrong audience.
Equally, if you start a blog, you need to know your top-performing blog posts, the overall conversion your blog is driving, and many other factors to help you optimize your blog effectively.
This is especially important for eCommerce websites.
That’s why Google Analytics comes in.
This powerful tool lets you monitor your website traffic to help you give your visitors a better experience and improve conversion.
That said let’s understand this tool even more.
In this Google Analytics tutorial, you will learn:
· What is Google Analytics?
· Why use google analytics?
· Common applications of Google Analytics
· How to set up Google Analytics
· How to install Google Analytics tracking code on your website
· How to use Google Analytics
· How to use Google Analytics dashboard
· Important Google Analytics metrics
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a powerful tool by Google that helps to analyze the overall performance of your site/app so you can optimize and improve performance and conversion.
The tool gathers a ton of data and processes it, then generates reports that can help you know where to improve.
GA is part of other incredible tools by the giant search engine including Google Search Console, Data Manager, and Google Ads).
According to the essay paper, more than 29 million websites are using Google Analytics currently.
Google Analytics has a free and paid version.
The free version of GA is suitable for small to medium-sized business websites. Large enterprise business websites need the paid version (Analytics 360) as it provides advanced analytics with a ton of data and reports.
Why Use Google Analytics?
A website without visitors is like a ghost town. And if you’re running an eCommerce website, it doesn’t make sense to have a ton of visitors who don’t convert.
When people visit your site/app, many reasons can make them not to purchase your offers. So, you need to know why. But before you know the “why”, you also need to know where these people are coming from.
Typically, Google Analytics is a must-use tool for tracking your website traffic so you can optimize your site for improved performance.
Ideally, when you understand where your site/and or app is lacking; it would be easier to tweak and adjust it for better performance.
With Google Analytics, you can know what steps to take to optimize your site and maximize conversions.
Undeniably, when you’re a beginner, learning how to navigate Google Analytics can be challenging and overwhelming, but after reading this tutorial, you will understand how to use the tool to improve your site’s performance.
Common Applications of Google Analytics
Typically, Google Analytics can be helpful in many ways.
Below are a few areas where this tool can help you tremendously.
Improve Your SEO
The information gathered and reports generated by Google Analytics can help you improve your website SEO.
For instance, the tool lets you with the following information:
- Your website’s organic traffic.
- Pages that people are visiting the most.
- How people are finding your site (keywords they are entering on search engines.
- The bounce rate of your website.
GA equips you with this information so you can tweak your site accordingly.
Google Analytics gathers a ton of data that can help you know:
- Amount of traffic coming to your site from different digital marketing channels.
- The location of your visitors.
- Other websites driving more traffic to yours.
- The conversion rate of people coming to your site from different marketing channels.
Equipped with this information, you can tell which digital channel to focus on and which one to drop and you can know your potential target audience.
Overall, Google Analytics helps to improve your site performance.
That means that no matter what website you’re running, an eCommerce store, blog, education website, personal website, etc. you need Google Analytics.
Alright, let’s learn how to install Google Analytics on your website now.
How to Set Up Google Analytics
Learning how to set up Google Analytics is simple and straightforward.
The first step is to get your Google Analytics tracking code.
To get your code:
Create a new account or log in to Google Analytics by clicking this URL.
I’m assuming you already have a Gmail account because it’s the one you will be required to enter to create your Analytics account.
Once you’re inside, you have two options to choose:
- Start for free- If you’re creating an account for the first time.
- Sign in- If you already have a Google Analytics account.
Once signed in, you will be required to enter basic information about your website. Google will ask you to enter your GA account name first.
The next step is to tell Google what you want to measure. In that case, you will choose the Web if you want to track the performance of a website.
You will click the Next button at the bottom left corner after completing every step above.
The next step is where you set up property (property is your website or app) in your account Analytics.
Here, you will enter your website name, URL, industry category, and reporting time zone. Google will use the information you enter here to gather insights and generate reports for your website.
Click Create to allow Google to generate Analytics tracking code (which looks like UA-13345645-9) for your site
You will find your GA tracking code at the Global Site Tag section, the next window that will appear after clicking the Create button.
Of course, you will have to accept Google terms and conditions for you to get your tracking code.
Your GA account is up and running.
Now that you have your tracking code, let’s add it to your site.
How to Install Your Google Analytics Tracking Code on Your Website
Installing the Google Analytics tracking code to your site is also simple.
Usually, the tracking code needs to be added to every page on your website- but this can be tiresome. There is a way to add it to your entire website.
The code needs to be either at the header or footer of your site.
There are several ways you can install the Google Analytics tracking code to your site.
If your website runs on the WordPress content management platform, you can install the tracking code using a special plugin.
Just make sure you choose a lightweight and secure plugin.
Once you have your plugin installed, you can easily add your tracking code through the Settings area.
You can also add your tracking code through your WordPress theme settings. Some WordPress themes allow users to add header scripts. That’s where you can copy-paste your tracking code.
You now have your Google Analytics account up and running and your code added to your website. So, let’s learn a little bit about your audience.
Set up Site Search
Generally, site search set up is meant to help you know what your visitors want when they visit your website.
You can set up site search through the Admin tab, on the VIEW column by clicking on the View Settings. Check at the bottom, you will see Site Search Settings then toggle the button to ON.
On the Query Parameter box, you can enter the search query.
Once you enter your search query parameter, click Save to allow Google to track the search related to the search query parameter you have entered.
Set Up Clear Goals
Here is the thing. The idea of signing up a Google Analytics account for your website is to track the performance and improve conversion, right?
So you want to know what you want to measure in the first place because after all, you can’t measure what you don’t know.
Generally, you want to set SMART goals.
Setting up your analytics goals is also simple.
In your Google Analytics dashboard, click the Admin tab then select Goals, in the All Web Site Data menu, and start creating your goals.
You can set as many goals as you want but make sure they are clear and smart.
How to Use Google Analytics
To know how to use Google Analytics to improve your site’s performance, you need to familiarize yourself with the key metrics that you will encounter from time to time.
Important Google Analytics Metrics
Sessions:- This section displays all the activities of a group of users in a given time frame. This can include several page views, transactions, etc.
Users:- This section shows unique visitors who came to your website.
Avg. session duration:- This section shows the average duration people spend on your site within a given timeframe. Assuming, Jane visited your site and spent 4 minutes, then Marcus visited and spent 13 minutes before leaving, then the avg. session duration will be 8.5 minutes -(4 plus 13 divided by 2).
Pageviews:- This represents the pages people visited. You have the option to check individual page views or the overall page views of your website.
Bounce rate:- This section shows the percentage of users who visited a page and left without clicking on any other pages on your site.
Goal conversion rate:- Of course, if your goal was to increase conversions, you will see the results here.
How To Use Google Analytics Dashboard
You will be able to see various reports in your Google Analytics Dashboard such as Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions.
You need to familiarize yourself with these important Google Analytics reports.
These reports will help you know whether you are achieving your goals or you need to tweak your site further.
Let’s take a look at the various reports generated by Google Analytics.
Right below the Reports section on the left-hand menu on your dashboard is where you will get real-time reports of your users who are using your website at the time of checking the reports.
The reports will show you which sources your traffic is coming from, locations, etc.
Your audience is your site’s visitors.
Here, you will get awesome reports such as the number of users who visited your site, the pages they visited, and how long they stayed on those pages, the number of return visitors, the pages visited by average users, and your average bounce rate.
Here, you will know which digital channels drove the most traffic to your site together with their bounce rate. You will also know the channels that brought in more conversions.
This section shows a comprehensive data concerning how people interact with your website.
For instance, you will see which pages get viewed the most, pages that users first land on when they visit your site, pages that have a huge exit rate, and the bounce rate each page is getting.
As the name suggests, these are reports of people who complete transactions or take action on your site.
For instance, if you wanted users to download your eBook or buy your products, you will get the reports here.
Ideally, there is a lot to learn about Google Analytics. There is also a lot of information you can get to inform your marketing, SEO, and content marketing strategy.
You just need to learn how to use the data and reports generated by this tool to improve your website’s performance.
This Google Analytics tutorial was meant to show you how to use the tool but you can find a ton of information on how to make the most out of the information gathered by the tool.
Thomas Lanigan is an experienced digital marketer and a journalist. He also has a work experience of 4 years as an editor with some of the custom essay help companies.
Being interested in digital marketing and SEO, Thomas shares helpful insights into popular websites and publications.