You have started a blog, that is AMAZING. But how do you know how many people are visiting, what pages are being viewed the most, and if your readers are male or female and their age range?
You need something much more sophisticated than the built-in analytics such as Jetpack Site Stats in WordPress or the Stats in Blogger.
Google Analytics is my go-to web analytics tool. I use it, and have used it, on all of my blogs.
It gives you insight into the traffic on your site including your audience, how people get to your site and how people interact with your site such as what pages are the most popular landing pages and what pages are the most popular exit pages. With this information you can make meaningful and informed decisions about your target audience (such as are you attracting who you thought), what channels to spend the most time on (aka what channels are providing the most traffic), and even what pages are your trouble pages and need to be fixed (aka pages with an extremely high bounce rate and low average time on page).
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool in your blog and business. But, in order to use it you of course need to install it!
I will walk you through creating an account, installing it on Blogger and installing it on WordPress.
How to Create a Google Analytics Account
1. Go to www.google.com/analytics and click on “Sign In.”
2. You will have a few options, select “Google Analytics.”
3. Sign in with you Gmail or Google account, or create one if you need to. If you do not already have a Google Analytics account, you will be taken to the below screen. Click “Sign Up.”
4. Fill out the required information for a new account.
- Make sure it is for a website
- Set an Account Name, this could be your blog name. Or if you have an over-arching brand/company that your blog falls under you can name it that. For example, Dana Fox of Wonder Forest has a parent company of Dana Fox Creative, that also has more blogs, websites and apps that fall under it. She could name the account Dana Fox Creative, and then create separate tracking codes for each of her sites.This allows you to add another user to one account that has access to all of the separate analytics data rather than having to add that same person to each analytics data separately.Don’t worry if this isn’t making sense right now. You can name the Account Name anything you want and you can always change it later.
- Set the Website Name to the name of your blog or website.
- Set your Website URL. Be sure to select whether it is http or https, then type the URL into the box.
- Industry Category is not required, but you can set it if you want to. Most blogs don’t really fall into a pre-determined Industry Category. I believe Google uses this to create benchmarking data and reports.
- Set the Reporting Time Zone.
- Google collects a lot of data but it gives you the option to share as much or as little as you want with them. I just leave all of the categories under Data Sharing Settings checked. The most important one is the Technical Support one, this one allows the Google technical support tem to access your account if you need help.
- Once complete, hit Get Tracking Id. A Terms of Service Agreement will pop up, read and click “I Accept.”
5. You now have your tracking code! Keep in mind that this is UNIQUE to your website. You do not want to use it on multiple websites. *Note: The code in the example should not be used on your website and this tracking code has been deleted.
I just created a Google Analytics account to track traffic on my blog! Click To Tweet
How to Install Google Analytics in Blogger
1. Once you have your tracking code, sign into you Blogger account and go to “Settings –> Other” and scroll to the bottom. You will see a Google Analytics section. Copy your tracking id from Google Analytics and paste it the Analytics Web Property ID section. Click “Save.”
2. Just kidding, installing Google Analytics in Blogger is super easy!
How to Install Google Analytics in WordPress
*Note: These instructions are for a self-hosted, WordPress.org blog.
1. Sign into the back-end of your WordPress blog, go to “Plugins –> Add New.” Search for Google Analytics by MonsterInsights. Click “Install Now.”
2. Once it is installed, click “Activate.” Once it is activated, either click “Settings” from the “Installed Plugins” page or go to “Insights –> Settings” in the left-hand menu.
3. You are now on the “General Settings” tab. Click “Authenticate with your Google account.”
4. A pop up will appear. You will need to sign into your Google / Gmail account attached with your Google Analytics, if you aren’t already. You will need to hit “Allow” so that the plugin can view your analytics data. You will then get a big, long verification code. Be sure to copy it before closing the window.
5. Paste the code into the “Paste your Google code here” section and click “Save authentication code.”
6. You aren’t quite done yet, you need to select which Google Analytics profile you want to attach. Now most likely you will only have one, unless you have set up multiple tracking ids for multiple blogs. Be sure to select the right one. Then click “Save” at the bottom of the page.
Installing Google Analytics on WordPress is incredibly easy! Tracking is on! Click To Tweet
The One Thing You Must Do to Get Accurate Traffic Data
When you monitor your website traffic, you need to make sure that you are reviewing clean data. You need to filter out the visitors you don’t want to see, such as yourself.
You are the most common visitor to your blog, and your traffic numbers will show all of your sessions and pageviews as well as your readers. It is an easy fix to exclude your own visits to your blog. And you have to if you want clean, visitor data.
1. Go to Google and search “IP address.” This will show you your public IP address.
2. Go to your Google Analytics dashboard and click “Admin.” You will see a new set of options. Click “Filters” from the third column.
3. You will now see the “Filters” screen. Click “Add Filter” to get started.
4. Make sure “Create New Filter” is checked and follow these steps.
- For Filter Name, set it to something descriptive. As I am excluding my home IP address, I named it “Exclude Home IP.”
- Filter Type should be “Predefined.”
- Set to Exclude, traffic from the IP addresses, and that are equal to.
- In the IP Address, paste the IP address you got from Google.
5. You have successfully excluded your IP address. It should show up on the Filters page now. Your traffic will now be much more accurate.
Are you collecting clean visitor data for your blog? Fix it with one easy process! Click To Tweet
Google Analytics is a very powerful web analytics tool that is essential for your blog. When used correctly it can help you make informed decisions that will make your blog grow.
Tell me, do you exclude your own traffic from your blog?