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Set Up Google Analytics Tracking: Step by Step in 15 minutes or less

For a lot of Do-It-Yourself fans out there making your first site, the process of setting up a website can be daunting. I’ve made many, many sites using content management systems like WordPress and though there are many resources available on the internet – I thought I’d give a step by step outline.

First of all, “What is Google Analytics?” – you might be wondering.

  1. Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used website statistics service.
  2.  The basic service is free of charge and a premium version is available for a fee.
  3. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines and social networks, direct visits and referring sites. It also tracks display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing, and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.

Now that you have an idea and you want to track what’s happening on your site, let’s break it down. There are a few ways to go about implementing Google Analytics tracking to your site.

You can add the code directly to your site, you can use Google Tag Manager or if you you are using WordPress you can use the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” plug-in to get it going.

Each of these require you to get a tracking code.

Assuming you now have a Google Analytics account and your website information has already been verified by Google Analytics – this will then enable you to see your code.

Step #1: Get Tracking Code

Find the tracking code snippet for your property.
Sign in to your Google Analytics account, and select the Admin tab. From the ACCOUNT and PROPERTY columns, select the property you’re working with. Click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.

Image of where you find your tracking code in your Analytics account.

Where You find your tracking code in your Google Analytics account

 

Now you have 3 options:

1. Manually implement the code on each web page of your website.

2. Use Google Tag Manager to implement the tracking code.

3. Use a WordPress plug-in (if your website is running on WordPress) or another solution through your Content Management System.

 

1. Manually implement code
  • Find your tracking code snippet. It’s in a box with several lines of JavaScript in it. Everything in this box is your tracking code snippet. It starts with <script> and ends with </script>.
    The tracking code contains a unique ID that corresponds to each Google Analytics property. Don’t mix up tracking code snippets from different properties, and don’t reuse the same tracking code snippet on multiple domains.
  • Copy the snippet.
    Don’t edit your snippet. Just copy it. You might want to paste it into a text document if you’re worried about accidentally losing or changing the snippet from your clipboard.
  •  Paste your snippet (unaltered, in its entirety) into every web page you want to track. Paste it immediately before the closing </head> tag.
    If you use templates to dynamically generate pages for your site (like if you use PHP, ASP, or a similar technology), you can paste the tracking code snippet into its own file, then include it in your page header.
  • Check your setup.
    Make sure that the tracking snippet installed on your website matches the code shown in the view, and see more ways you can verify your setup.
2. Add tracking using Google Tag Manager

If you are unfamiliar with Google Tag Manager, begin by reading About Google Tag Manager. Once you’re ready to set up a Google Tag Manager account and set up Google Tag Manager on your site, read Setup and Workflow (Web).

To add Google Analytics tracking to your site, add the Google Analytics tag to your container in Google Tag Manager and publish the container. Then verify your setup.

3.Add tracking using a WordPress plug-in

Go to your WordPress CMS and find the Plugins tab. Click on the tab and then find the “add new” button. Then search for Google Analytics – choose the Plugin of your choice, install then activate the plugin.

Once installed and activated, then go to the Settings tab and click on your analytics plugin and enter the code snippet – “UA-XXXXX-XX”

Once this is over, please verify your setup. 

 

Check the Tracking Status in your property

In every web property in your Google Analytics account, you can see the Tracking Status, which tells you if your tracking code is working or not.

    1. Sign in to your Analytics account.
    2. Navigate to the property to which you added the tracking code.
    3. Click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.

      Image of where you find your tracking code in your Analytics account.

  1. Review the tracking code status message. Near the tracking ID (UA-XXXXX-XX), you’ll see one of the following status messages:
  • Waiting for Data
    The tracking code has been detected on the homepage of your website, and the Google Analytics servers are updating your configuration before your data can be processed and appear in your reports.
  • Tracking Not Installed or Not Verified
    The tracking code isn’t set up correctly on your webpages.
  • Receiving Data
    The tracking code is collecting and sending data to your property. You can still use the other tools, like the Google Analytics Debugger, to do a more in-depth analysis or to troubleshoot your setup.
  • Unknown
    There’s no data available that Google Analytics can use to tell if your tracking code is working. Check your setup to see if you can find a solution.