Google Analytics For Beginners
I recently went to a conference which was focussed on non IT service sector. While interacting with some friends there i found out that while they have been using a website for their business, they have absolutely no insight about who is visiting them on their website.
I then decided to share my knowledge about how to use a data analytics program to better understand what is happening on your website. In this series of posts i will first talk about the basics and gradually move to the advanced stuff.
While there are many applications which let’s you run an analysis of your visitor’s data but for the not so savvy folks i am going to restrict myself only to Google analytics.
Google analytics is a powerful tool to analyze your website traffic. At first the abundance of data in there can be intimidating but once you get past that initial learning curve, it’s a joy analyzing the information.
Setting up the Google Analytics Account
- You would need a Google Account to start using Google Analytics.
- If you do not have a Google Account, you can signup for the same at http://www.google.com/analytics/sign_up.html
- If you have a google account, go to https://www.google.com/analytics/reporting/login
- Login using your Google account Username and password.
- Once logged in Click on the Add New Account link (look towards the right of the screen)
- You will need to enter the URL of the website you want to track, It will also ask you for an account name. Use an account name which makes sense because this will be visible to you while looking for reports.
- You will have to enter the timezone. A lot of people do not put it correctly, which results in incorrect data points in the time segment.
- After this you will be asked for contact information and acceptance of terms. Once you go past that your account would be created.
- You will be prompted to copy a Block of java script Code. Copy it and save it somewhere, you will need to embed it in your website.
Start Tracking the Visitors
- Paste the java script code in the web pages you want to track. The code must be pasted just above the </body> tag. You will typically find it at the bottom of your page. if you have a static website, then you will have to open every page and embed the code everywhere. However, if your website uses include files then look for the bottom include file which will have the </body> tag. In this case you only have to put it in a single location. Once you do this, your data will start getting tracked (Note: It may take upto 24 hours to see some activity in your account)
- Now login back to your google analytics account and click on the Account name. On the next page you will see the list of websites you are tracking. Click on the edit link on the right, you will see several settings there. look for the IP filters and enter your IP Address, so that you don’t end up inflating the data count by your internal hits.
You are now ready to start tracking your visitors.
In the next post i will talk about how to make sense of data you get through the analytics.