Practical Guide: Google Analytics Setup

Welcome to this practical Google Analytics setup guide for businesses and entrepreneurs. We'll cover the essentials, from understanding Google Analytics to key steps for setup, and crucial metrics to focus on in the early stages.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that provides data on user interactions with your website. It offers insights into user behaviour, traffic sources, and conversion metrics, enabling data-driven decisions.

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Google Analytics Setup: GA4 vs Universal Analytics

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents the latest evolution in web analytics. It was introduced on October 14, 2020, as the next step in the progression of Google's analytics platforms. On July 1, 2023, it fully replaced its predecessor (Universal Analytics), which has now been officially retired and no longer processes new hits. GA4 brings several critical advancements over Universal Analytics.

 

GA4 Advancements

  • Accounts: As of October 14, 2020, all new Google Analytics accounts are automatically set up as GA4 properties.
  • User-Centric Approach: GA4 provides a comprehensive view of user interactions across various devices and platforms.
  • Enhanced Event Tracking: GA4 provides a broader scope for defining and monitoring user interactions, making it easier to gather specific data points crucial for decision-making.
  • Other Advancements: Improved data privacy measures, smarter AI insights, enhanced cross-platform integrations, and more…

 

Existing Universal Analytics Users

For existing Google Analytics users who have not yet migrated over to GA4, check out this migration guide for beginners.

Why are Website Analytics Important?

Website analytics are important for several reasons:

  1. Informed Decisions: Analytics data drives strategic business decisions by providing factual insights.
  2. User Experience Optimisation: Understanding user behaviour aids in improving site navigation.
  3. Conversion Enhancement: Identifying high-performing elements leads to increased conversion rates.
  4. Marketing ROI: Evaluating marketing efforts helps allocate resources effectively.
  5. Demographic Insights: Understanding your audience’s demographics provides a clear picture of your customer base.

 

Google Analytics Setup for Your Business

Looking to get started? Here’s a practical Google Analytics setup guide:

Step 1: Creating a Google Analytics Account

  1. Go to Google Analytics.
  2. Click “Start measuring”.
  3. Create a new account and enter an account name.
  4. Set up your property by providing: a property name, reporting time zone, currency, and answers to other relevant prompts.
  5. Enter your business information.

Step 2: Creating a Data Stream

  1. Navigate to “Data Streams”, which will either be prompted to you during your initial setup or can be accessed via your Google Analytics settings.
  2. Choose "Web" as your platform.
  3. Enter your website URL and a stream name.
  4. Enable “Enhanced measurement” (measures page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, and other important metrics).
  5. Click “Create stream”.

Step 3: Install Your Google Tag

You will need to install your Google tag on your website. This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Install with a website builder or CMS: For example: if you are using WordPress, you can install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin and connect to Google Analytics via their MonsterInsights setup wizard; or if you are using Squarespace, you can navigate to “Settings”, then “Developer Tools”, then “External API Keys, where you can paste your Google tag ID.
  2. Install manually: Copy the Google tag and paste the code into every page of your website, immediately after the <head> element. Don’t add more than one Google tag to each page. For example, if you are using Wix, you can navigate to “Settings”, click “Add Custom Code” and paste the code snippet there, applying this to all pages and placing it in the Head section.

 

Notes:

  • The recommended route you should take depends on the platform you are using, but for some website builders (like Squarespace and WordPress), you can install your Google tag using either method, so research what other people are doing on the same platform, and make a decision that’s right for you!
  • Google tag ID is the same as measurement ID.
  • If you are having issues with this step, check Google and YouTube first, but if that comes to no avail, feel free to contact us!

Step 4: Verify Installation

  1. Return to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the “Realtime” section.
  2. Open your website in a new tab. You should see your visit reflected in real-time analysis.

 

Important Notes:

If you do not see your visit reflected in real-time, then try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Use Google Chrome and open your browser in incognito mode.
  • Wait 48 hours to give Google Analytics enough time to start receiving data.
  • If after 48 hours this is still not working, then contact Google support.

Step 5: Configure Events (Optional)

For advanced tracking, set up custom events to monitor specific user interactions (e.g., form submissions, button clicks),which you can do with the help of Google Tag Manager.

Step 6: Setup Complete

Congratulations! Your Google Analytics setup is now complete. In time, you can look to create goals and audiences, but for now, I would suggest you spend the next few months monitoring and improving your website’s key metrics.

Key Metrics

Once you have completed your Google Analytics setup, try to fully understand the following key metrics:

  • Page views: Total pages viewed on your site.
  • Sessions: Total user interactions on your site.
  • Bounce Rate: Percentage of visitors who leave after viewing only one page.
  • Average Session Duration: Average time users spend on your site.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of visitors who complete a desired action (e.g., form submission).
  • Traffic Sources: Breakdown of where your traffic is coming from (e.g., organic search, social media).
  • Top Pages: Most visited pages on your website.
  • User Demographics: Information about your audience, including age, gender, location, etc.

Regularly analysing these Google Analytics Metrics will provide factual insights for informed decision-making.

What Can We Do To Help?

You now have all the skills you need to link your website to Google Analytics, driving traffic, conversions, and ultimately, sales. 

If you would like a brand-new website with a Google Analytics setup tailored to your business needs, then our Web Design Services will be perfect for you. Contact us now to kickstart your journey!