Understanding what’s working for your website – and what isn’t – is crucial in setting up your business and content marketing for success! With 5.6 billion searches on Google daily, search engine competition can be high! Driving traffic to your website long after launch involves resources and time. It also takes a commitment to developing SEO and social media strategies, resources that offer value to clients, and a content library that will keep your brand’s site fresh and relevant. Setting up website analytics that evaluates where your traffic comes from and which content is attracting site visitors and delivering qualified leads will give you the upper hand over your competition!
Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a comfy chair – this blog is all about how to link Google Analytics to your WordPress site and the best plugins for tracking site data. If you’re asking “How do I set up Google Analytics on my website?” you’ve come to the right place! We’ll cover everything from the basics of Google Analytics to step-by-step plans to install Analytics on your site easily. I’ll explain what information to look for as you gather visitor data and how it can boost your SEO strategy for incredible results.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free website traffic tracking tool that offers a wealth of valuable information about what brings users to your site and what they do once they get there. After you’ve installed Analytics on your WordPress site, you’ll have data about which content and resources are showing up in search results, which copy converts, and which freebies are getting the most downloads.
While it’s often overlooked by DIY-website designers, measuring the results of your efforts over time helps you do more of what’s bringing new visitors to your site – and pivot when something isn’t getting the results you’d like to see. Once you’ve gathered user data, you can make more informed decisions to meet visitors’ needs, deliver valuable content to others in your niche, and connect with clients. Now that’s something to get excited about!
Google Analytics can track other many kinds of data as well, like enhanced eCommerce tracking, event tracking, and file download tracking. You can see which blogs people are reading, how they found the post, and what they do after they read it. For a business site, you can see how people arrive at your site, how they spend their time there, and which parts of your site are making money for your business.
How do I set up Google Analytics on my website?
Unfortunately, WordPress websites don’t automatically come with analytics built into site designs. The good news is Google Analytics can do that for you, and signing up for an account only takes a few minutes! Once you have an account, you’ll have to connect Google Analytics to your website before you can start collecting data. With a bit of help from the right WordPress plugins, setting up your website’s analytics can be easy! Without plugins, you’d have to manually add code to your site, which can be confusing or time-consuming for coding beginners. Plugins like Monster Insights and GA Google Analytics work to ensure everything runs smoothly when you’re connecting analytics to your WordPress site.
How to sign up for a Google Analytics Account
First, you’ll have to set up a free account to use Google Analytics. If you don’t already have a Google ID, it’s easy to sign up for one! Just click on “Create Account” and follow the directions to set up a new ID, then follow along with these instructions!
First, click on the person icon in the top right corner to choose the Google ID you’d like to use for your website. Once you’ve chosen your preferred Google ID, click on “Start Measuring.”
On the “Account Setup” screen, you’ll enter the settings information for the account you’d like to begin gathering data for. Enter your business name in the “Account Name” field and click the “Next” button.
The next step is “Property Setup.” Here, you should enter your business name again for the property name and select your time zone and currency. Click “Next.”
In the “About Your Business” step, select your industry category, size, and how you’d like to use Google Analytics for your business. After you’ve added this information, click on the button that says “Create.”
The next thing you’ll see is the Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement pop-up. Review these terms, check the box, and click “I Accept.”
Once you’ve accepted the Terms of Service, you’ll encounter another pop-up box. Here, you can choose your preferred email communication settings. Uncheck any boxes corresponding to communications you’d like to opt-out of, then click “Save.”
The next step is to add a data stream to your account by adding the address of the site you’d like to track. On the “Start collecting data” screen, find the section that reads “Choose a platform” and select “Web.” A screen to set up your web data stream will automatically appear. Choose “http://” or “https://” from the drop-down, depending on if you have a secure (https://) or unsecured (http://) website. Then, enter your site’s address in the “Website URL” field and site name in the “Stream name” field. Click “Create Stream.”
The next screen that appears will have the heading “Web stream details” and includes information you’ll need to add to your website so Google Analytics can track user activity. Congratulations – you’ve set up a Google Analytics account for your site! Now, let’s talk about two of my favorite plugins to connect Analytics to your WordPress site.
How to connect Google Analytics to WordPress Using MonsterInsights
With over 100 million downloads, MonsterInsights is WordPress’s most popular Google Analytics plugin. It allows you to add Google Analytics to your site without editing any code – and once you’ve added it to your site, you can easily see Analytics data from your WordPress dashboard.
To set up MonsterInsights, log in to your WordPress site. Navigate to “Plugins” and click on “Add New.” Here, you can search for MonsterInsights. Once you’ve found it, click “Install Now.” If the plugin isn’t automatically activated after you’ve installed it, find it in your list of plugins and click “Activate.”
Once MonsterInsights is activated, you’ll see a “Welcome to Monster Insights” screen. Scroll down and click “Launch the Wizard!” to begin setup.
Choose the category that best fits your website: business website, publisher, or eCommerce. Click “Save and Continue.”
On the next screen, pro users will be prompted to enter a license key. Below that, you’ll see an option to Connect Google Analytics to WordPress. Click on “Connect MonsterInsights.” You’ll see a prompt to connect MonsterInsights with a Google account. Choose the account used to create your Analytics account and click “Allow.” On the next screen, click the “Complete Connection” button.
Once the connection is finalized, MonsterInsights will recommend optimal settings. You can edit these to your preferences or just click “Save & Continue.”
The following screen offers more MonsterInsights recommendations, but you can click the “Skip this Step” button. You should see a screen notifying you that you’re “All Set!” Don’t forget to click “Finish Setup & Exit Wizard” to complete the setup process!
That’s it – you’ve set up Google Analytics with the MonsterInsights plugin! Tracking data can take up to 24 hours to show up, but you should be able to see some data in a few hours.
How to connect Google Analytics to WordPress using GA Google Analytics
Another Google Analytics plugin for WordPress that I love to use is GA Google Analytics. It’s a lightweight plugin that helps add Google Analytics tracking code to your website. To find it, log in to your WordPress site, navigate to “Plugins,” and click on “Add New.” Search for “GA Google Analytics,” find the plugin, and click “Install Now.” Once you’ve installed the plugin, click “Activate” to activate it on your site.
Next, you’ll have to input your Google Analytics measurement ID and site tags to connect the plugin with your Analytics account. To do this, navigate to the left sidebar, find “Settings,” then “Google Analytics.” On the next screen, click on the menu item “Plugin Settings.” You should see a field called “GA Tracking ID.”
To get the information for the tracking ID, you’ll need to go back to your Google Analytics account and click the button that says, “Get tagging instructions.” Copy the measurement tracking ID from Google Analytics and paste it into the “GA Tracking ID” field in the WordPress plugin settings.
Next, select the button labeled “Global site tag.” To get information for this field, navigate back to Google Analytics, scroll to the bottom of the “Web Stream Details” page and click on “View Tag Instructions” then “Install Manually.” Copy the Google tag, go back to WordPress, and paste it into the “Custom Tracker Objects Field.” Double-check that the “Include tracking code in page head” button is selected. Finally, click on “Save Changes.”
And voila! You’ve installed Google Analytics using the GA Google Analytics Plugin! It may take a few hours to begin tracking, and it will take some time before there’s a significant amount of data to review on your dashboard.
Now that you’ve set up a Google Analytics account and connected it to WordPress with MonsterInsights or GA Google Analytics, you’re ready to begin tracking user activity on your site! Keep an eye out for an upcoming post, where I’ll go over the website analytics you should be tracking, and how they can help improve your site!
In the meantime, if you’d like to have someone else handle the details of optimizing your website’s design, SEO strategy, and analytics capability – we’d love to work with you! We build full-service custom WordPress sites that help you land dream clients. Contact us for a free consultation!
I'm the Founder & Creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a your SEO and techy biz bestie. My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is and launch a website that works for you - not the other way around.