One of the very best free tools you can install on your blog is Google Analytics. If you’re not familiar, it’s an analytics service that gives you detailed and the most accurate data on your traffic, demographic and their behavior.
All of this data can help you tailor your blog content in the future by giving you information on what content is performing well, and help you decide what areas are worth investing in down the line. The best part? Yes, it’s free! But, it’s also very easy to install!
If you haven’t installed Google Analytics, carve out 15 minutes (honestly, it’ll probably take less than that!) in your day and do this IMMEDIATELY. It can only start tracking data after it’s installed, so the earlier you do this, the better!
Being able to track our traffic is one of the top reasons we recommend installing Google Analytics. When brand partnerships start to pop up, you’ll want to be able to show them these numbers to justify pricing.
It’s also a great way to track your growth month to month and year to year! Not only will Google Analytics help you track your blog traffic—unique visitors, page views and sessions—but it gives you detailed information about how people are using your site, what content they’re looking at and how long they’re staying.
But first things first—let’s make sure you have Google Analytics properly installed!
1. Set up an Account
Go to google.com/analytics and click the green “Sign up for Free” button in the top right-hand corner.
Then select a Google account to set up your account under, or create a new one. Follow the remaining instructions to finish creating your account. Once you’re logged into your new Google Analytics account, move to the next step.
2. Install with a Plugin (Easiest)
Login to the backend of your WordPress site and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for the plugin called Google Analytics. Hit “Install” and then “Activate”.
It should now appear on the left-hand sidebar in the backend of WordPress. Click on it and follow the instructions to get it installed! If you’re struggling to find your UA code to enter your tracking script manually, check the first half of the next step!
* Some premium themes will have this feature built-in, so check in the options panel. Sometimes themes will not be compatible with certain plugins, so make sure after a day or two that your analytics are tracking. If your analytics are showing a flat line (all zeros) then you likely have an issue!
3. Manually Install (Still Very Easy)
Personally, I recommend this method and even if you’re not tech-savvy, it’s still very easy! I already have a lot of plugins, so this lets me add one less!
Login to your Google Analytics account and click Admin in the bottom left-hand corner. Under the middle category, click on the .jS Tracking Info > Tracking Code. This will open up a new panel and you’ll be able to see your tracking script.
Login to the backend of your WordPress account and go to Appearances > Editor and scroll down until you find the header.php file on the right side (there will be a list of different templates here) and click on it. Hit “Command + F” to search, and type in head (looks like this “<head>”).
Right under this you’ll want to drop in your full tracking script (not just the UA code) here. Click save and you’re done! Check your Google Analytics account after 24 hours to make sure everything is being recorded properly.
When installing, make sure that you only pick one of these methods. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT install Google Analytics twice. This will result in it recording your analytics twice which will give you false statistics (even if they do look good!). If you have another traffic plugin installed like Jetpack and your statistics from Jetpack and Google are really different, you might want to look into seeing if you’ve somehow installed Google Analytics twice!
Do you have Google Analytics installed? Do you have other questions about installing Google Analytics? Let us know!