Google Analytics: Setup and Basics
What is Google Analytics and why is it important?
Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that is used to monitor website traffic and understand the behavior of your visitors. This is important because it helps you figure out what is and isn’t working with your website so you can make adjustments to reach new and existing customers.
From your data, you can learn things like what places people are visiting from, what channels people are using to land on your site, what your most popular pages are and more. Then you can test out new solutions to improve your business.
Google Analytics has a ton of tools, but today I’m going to focus on getting your Google Analytics setup and connected to your Squarespace site, adding multiple users to your Google Analytics account, hiding your own traffic from your website data and show you some of my favorite, basic tools. If you’re already linked up to Google Analytics, feel free to skip below to learn about some of my favorite tools.
Setting up your Google Analytics and linking to Squarespace
Create a Google Analytics account: google.com/analytics.
Sign in to your Google account or create a new one.
Once you’re logged in, click Admin (gear icon) in the lower left corner.
In the Property column, select Create New Property from the drop down menu.
Enter a name for your site, the website url, industry category and time zone and then click Get Tracking ID.
You should then be directed to a page where you can copy your Tracking ID (you can also find your Tracking ID by clicking Admin (gear icon) in lower left corner, under the Property column select Tracking Info and then Tracking Code). Your Tracking ID format will look something like this: UA-XXXXXXXX-X. Copy this code.
Back in Squarespace, select Settings from the Home menu, then click Advanced, then External Services.
Paste your Tracking ID under the top section that says Google Analytics Account Number.
Click Save. *note* it can sometimes take up to 24 hours for the data to begin populating
How to add another user to your Google Analytics
If you want to add another employee, coworker, family member or someone else to the account, follow these steps:
In Google Analytics, click the Admin (gear icon) in lower left corner.
Under the Account column, click User Management.
Click the + sign in the upper right hand corner.
Select Add new users.
You’ll then add the person’s email address and select what kind of permissions you’d like them to have (Edit, Collaborate, Read and Analyze, and Manage Users).
Make sure Notify new users by email is checked and click Add in the upper right corner.
Removing your own traffic from all reports
To ensure that your data is as accurate as possible, it’s a good idea to remove your own traffic from your website so that you can tell how your customers are really interacting with your site. To do that, you’ll follow these instructions to create an IP address filter:
Figure out your IP Address - all you have to do for this is search "what is my ip address” in Google and it’ll pop right up at the top of the search results. Copy this.
Back in Google Analytics, create a filter by clicking Admin (gear icon) in lower left.
In the Account column make sure the correct Account is selected in the drop down and then click All Filters.
Click + Add New Filter.
Type a name for this filter (I put “My IP Address”), select Predefined > Exclude > traffic from the IP addresses > that are equal to.
Paste the IP Address in the box underneath.
From the Available Views list select All Web Site Data (or a different View if you’re advanced!) and click Add.
Google Analytics Basics
There is an endless amount of information you can dive into on Google Analytics, but it can be super intimidating and hard to understand. I want to show you a few simple tools that I love using to monitor my website. In the examples below I have set my date range to Feb 1, 2018 - Feb 27, 2018 in the upper right hand corner. You can adjust this range at any time to whatever you like.
What channels are people are using to find my website?
In the toolbar on the left click Acquisition and then Overview. This is a really important tool to see how people are landing on your site. In the example below you can see that most of the traffic comes from social media. The second highest is organic searches followed by direct and then referral.
What cities are people visiting from? Are they new or returning visitors?
In the toolbar on the left click Audience and then Overview. Under the demographics section select City. You will see a few things here:
Chart to show new vs. returning visitors
What cities most of your visitors are coming from
Information like how long your visitor is on your site and how many pages they’re viewing on average
*One thing I love checking is my traffic after a blog post. You can see that when I posted my blog in early February there was a huge spike in traffic. This just goes to show how important blogs are for your business.
What are my top pages?
This is one of my favorites. In the toolbar click Behavior and then Overview. When I was first transitioning my website from a portfolio site to a business site, I noticed that my top pages were super random. I realized that meant people were getting lost on my site so I restructured my website so it guided people to the pages I wanted them to see the most. Now I can see that visitors are landing on the pages I want them to land on which is a step in the right direction.
These are just a few simple tools, but hopefully once you start getting comfortable with Google Analytics you can explore a little more and dive deeper into the data. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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