Getting Started With Google Analytics

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Every site should take advantage of the valuable information provided by Google Analytics. If you haven’t yet, here is how to get started.
If you have a website and a gmail account, you are in luck! You have all the necessary requirements to get signed up for an indepth analysis of your website performance. If you don’t have a gmail account you can easily sign up for one here (for free). And if you don’t have a website, you should get one here.
If you have ever wondered how many people are visiting your site, where your visitors are geographically located or what your conversion rate is, Google Analytics can provide answers to all of these questions, and many more besides. The site can quickly and easily evaluate the current condition of your site and who is viewing it. Based on this data you can work on the areas that need a little love: be it boosting your traffic, SEO (search engine optimization) or conversion rates.
Discover the answers to questions like:

  • Would my site benefit from being mobile-friendly?
  • Which websites are sending me the most traffic?
  • How safe is my website?
  • What keywords are most important for my industry?

How do I get started?
Here are some tips that Google Analytic predecessors have handed down to new users that can help you succeed in your Google adventures:

  1. Make sure that you set up your Google Analytics account under your gmail address, not through anyone else’s. You need to be sure that you have access to the account, even if you somehow lose contact with developers and marketing teams.
  2. Think long term when looking at trend graphs. Three to six months can give you a good idea about site statistics and trends, but extending even longer can provide an even larger scope. Google by default will display only 30 days prior unless you adjust the settings.
  3. As always, ensure that your site has a great spam defender and that all applications, plugins and widgets are up to date. Any outdated portions of your website are considered vulnerable and could provide an entryway for hackers and spammers.

Now that you’ve got some tips of the trade under your belt, you can begin setting up your account so that you can indulge in your new tasty website data. The four following steps will cover most of the basics, but if you have any questions or get stuck along the way feel free to take a look at this step-by-step guide provided by Google for additional assistance.
Setup
You will need some basic information about your site to register your site with Google Analytics. The required information will include names, addresses, URLs, time zone and industry. Google will allow you to include up to 100 accounts within your main Google Analytics account that is tied to your email address, and each of these accounts can include 50 website properties or pages.
If this seems confusing here are a few examples to keep you straight:
If you only have one website you will only need to register one email address for one Google Analytics account: this is considered one website “property”.
If you currently have one personal and one business website running you can create two Analytics accounts under your email address. This is considered as two website properties.
If you own dozens of businesses and each of them operates multiple websites that in total equal more than 50, you will then need to create separate Google Analytics accounts for each business. This is in order to provide enough website properties for each website as well as for organizational purposes.
None of the setup decisions are permanent. You can always reorganize at a later date, but it is good to have a working understanding of how Google sorts information. If you experience any confusion or frustrations while setting up your account(s) it is best to use the default settings and chat with Google about your options.
Data, glorious data
Once your setup is complete you will need to install the given tracking code into your websites – this is done by adding the code to every single web page. The tracking code is the device used by Google to identify and monitor your website, and it is this code that allows Google to gather and analyze the information that you are searching for. You can find the tracking code designated to you by clicking the Get Tracking ID button within the Admin tab of the Google Analytics page.
Depending on how your site is set up, you may need to research the insertion of your tracking code because each content management system has its own individual variance. A simple Google search should provide you the answers, but if not Google offers a help page with various helpful tips regarding tracking codes.
Shoot for the stars
Google Analytics includes a goals section that can be helpful when setting specific benchmarks for each of your website properties. Google will allow you to set up to twenty goals per website including subscriptions, purchase completions and lead submission. Your goals will vary depending on the industry or purpose of your website. For example, a blog will look for memberships or subscriptions signups, whereas a retailer will set benchmarks in income  metrics. Be sure to decide exactly what your website is trying to achieve and use the goal section to monitor your progress.
Audience Overview
Once you have set up your Google Analytics account – including benchmarks – you will be able to view Audience Overview reports for each of the websites you are monitoring. From this portion of Google Analytics you will have the ability to view detailed information within specific timeframes, and compare multiple sets of data (eg across different time ranges) by using the Compare feature. This allows website owners to track progress from a historical and present view point to make major business decisions.
Google Analytics is a great way to gauge the success or failure of your website. It allows site owners to evolve from a start-up website to an established brand. This easy-to-use site can cover everything from search rates to keyword strengths and weaknesses. Take some time to learn the ins and out of each feature to maximize your true potential. Google Analytics proves to be a worthwhile investment if your goals include higher website traffic and high search engine rankings.

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