How to Install Google Analytics

2 Dec 2014 / Freeparking Team / Marketing Google Analytics

Once your website is set up you may want to monitor visits and general user engagement. Google Analytics allows you to monitor data such as the geographic location of your website visitors, the number of visitors on your website, what pages on your site they're visiting, how much time each visitor is spending on your website and lots more. This data is very useful to make improvements on your website over time and understand how to optimise your site for optimal conversion performance.

Your Freeparking hosting account will include free and basic website statistics programs like AwStats or Webalizer which can provide you basic data immediately and does not depend on Google.  However, as a free tool, Google Analytics provides much greater range of functionality and better usability, and it’s generally recommended by web hosts as the website analytics program of choice.

Here is how to install Google Analytics

1 - First, you must have a Google account.

You will need to supply a valid phone number and use your real name, as Google prefers people only have one account (it makes it easier for Google to extract useful data about your behaviour for marketing purposes).

To sign up simply go here, you will find the process is straightforward:

2 - Getting Started with Google Analytics

Now go to the Google Analytics page and click the link at the top right, "Sign In."  If you aren't already logged in to your Google Account, you'll get a login prompt for your username and password.

You'll then get a large "Sign up" button (even if you already have a Google Account) which you use to sign up for Analytics specifically.

Now, set up your website - what Google calls your "web property" - on the following page. Make sure the Web Site tab at the top has been selected rather than the App tab, and enter the appropriate information in the fields below.

At the bottom of the screen you'll be asked for an account name. This is essentially a way to organise the different websites you'll be tracking in Analytics. If you have many different sites, you'll probably want to be careful in your choice of name, but if you only have one website this is obviously not something to worry about.

The Data Sharing settings also control how some of the data collected by Analytics is used by Google. Depending on how privacy conscious you are you may want to un-check them, others may leave them checked.

Finally you click the Get Tracking ID button at the bottom and are presented with the Google Analytics Terms of Service.

You'll see a little note, Tracking Not Installed. This is because you must now copy the little bit of HTML code in the box on the page and paste it in the source code of your site. Once you have installed it properly, you'll see the status change to Receiving Data.

3- Installing the Tracking Code on Your Site

First, select the entire "snippet" of code. It must be pasted just before the final, closing </head> tag in your website source code.

If you are using WordPress with Genesis or Elegant Themes, there will be a box in your Dashboard's Theme Settings for "Header and Footer Scripts," where you can paste your code snippet. In regular WordPress themes you can do it by going to the Appearance Editor and edit the Header template, find the </head> tag, and then paste the snippet immediately before this tag. Save the file by clicking "update file."

If you are using Freeparking CreateASite you will find a specific area in the Settings section where you can paste your Google Analytics code (simply login to CreateASite, select the menu named SEO Options, and click on the tab ‘Settings’ – as illustrated in the image below).

CreateASite SEO options

4 - Test Google Analytics is working

Finally you should check and make sure the tracking code is working properly. 
Wait a few minutes, and then log into your Analytics account. Click the "Admin" tab on the top-right corner, pick the proper account and your web property, and click on the "tracking info" tab which is at the top of the list.

If you see the message "Receiving Data" then everything is OK. If you still see "Tracking Not Installed," try waiting a little longer. You can also try repeating the process. Make sure to copy the ENTIRE code snippet, and ensure you save your changes after you paste it in.

5 - Viewing Your Statistics

Analytics data is updated every 24 hours, so you'll have to wait at least that long to start seeing your statistics.

After logging in to Google Analytics, click the account where your web property is contained, click your website name, and you'll see the Account Overview with the most basic stats. You can use the menu on the left to get more specific information, such as where your traffic is coming from.

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data and can become quite technical if used to its full potential. The best approach is to start with GA’s basic functions and gradually explore its advanced capabilities such as attribution etc.

You can read more about Google Analytics’ main features on the Freeparking blog.

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