Web analytics Series Part 1- Initial Set Up

OK, so you have decided to put Google Analytics on your website? The first question you need to ask yourself is – why bother?

Imagine Google Analytics wasn’t free, and you had to justify to your boss why you should implement it (which may be the case for many people anyway, time being money and all that). This is an important thing to consider so you can make sure you get the most out of Google Analytics.

Web analytics can provide such a huge amount of data that it can be overwhelming. By having clarity on what exact information you want from the start, you can make the journey easier for yourself, and also make sure you set up your account appropriately from the very beginning.  For example, my reason for setting up the account on our website was to see the following main things:

  • Where traffic to our site comes from –  to try to figure out how to increase it
  • The traffic patterns to our blog – to know what is popular/worthwhile writing about; and
  • To examine interaction with our ‘contact us’ page – this is our main onsite ‘conversion’

Of course establishing some purpose to your web analytics doesn’t mean you can never use it for anything else, it just means that you have structure to your work, which means you are more likely to use your web analytics.

Once you have established your reasons for implementing analytics, just sign up. The sign up and implementation of the initial code is very easy. Simply make a Google account (or you probably already have one), enter the URL of your website, and cut and paste the code Google provides between the body tags of your website. UPDATE: It is much better to use Google Tag Manager to implement your Google Analytics.

Make sure to use the new code (not the old Urchin version), because any new upgrades and improvements by Google will be made to the new code only. UPDATE: as of 2014, you can upgrade to Universal Analytics.

Very quickly, your website will start to collect data. Still, there are a few more things you need to do with your account to make sure it is set up properly, so stay tuned.

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