If you’re a business owner, a lack of website traffic can be a real issue. The amount of traffic your site receives can indicate how successful your business is (depending on your business’ goals and objectives). However, you may not know how to determine your site’s traffic levels, or may simply be overwhelmed by the steps involved.
Thankfully, with the use of tools such as Google Analytics, you can begin to assess your visitor’s behavior and see demographics such as the pages they view, how much time they spend on each page, and much more. This information can help you market yourself more efficiently and could improve your competitive position.
In this article, you’ll learn about Google Analytics and its key features, then we’ll walk you through how you can integrate Google Analytics with WordPress using the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin. Let’s take a look!
What Google Analytics Is (And Why You Should Use It)
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports on your website’s traffic. With this tool, you’ll be able to discover facts and trends related to your website that can help you better understand its performance.
There are a number of benefits to using Google Analytics, although it’s primarily a key tool for ascertaining how visitors use your site. As such you can better analyze your content’s performance, and also notice trends such as a high bounce rate.
There are numerous alternatives available, such as Piwik and Clicky. However, Google Analytics is comprehensive and full-featured – and best of all it’s completely free! While there’s also an advanced premium version, the functionality of Google’s free analytics suite will be enough for most users.
How to Sign Up to Google Analytics
Before we get started, you’ll need to sign up to Google Analytics in order to access its features. It’s free and easy to do, just follow the steps below!
- Navigate to the Google Analytics home page, and click the Sign up button.
- Fill in the fields on the next screen.
- Under Data Sharing Options, check the boxes next to the options that you want.
At this point, you’ll usually need your tracking ID number to enable Google Analytics to track your website. However, some plugins carry this step out on your behalf, and one stands out. Let’s take a look at it.
Introducing the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP Plugin
The most convenient way to add Google Analytics to your site is via a plugin. The free Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin enables you to display key analytics metrics directly on your WordPress dashboard. Some of the reports include the number of visits, visitors, and page views you receive, your bounce rates, and many others.
Of course, the biggest advantage of using the plugin is the ability to view your key metrics entirely within WordPress rather than logging into Google Analytics directly. It’s quicker, and enables you to hone in on those metrics that are really important to you, rather than wading through a myriad of other (less important) reports. Let’s take a look at how to do it!
How to Add a Google Analytics Dashboard to WordPress
Now we’ve created a Google Analytics account and introduced you to a plugin that can help you integrate its functionality into WordPress, it’s time to install and use it! First, you’ll need to install and activate the plugin. When you’re ready, navigate to the General Settings page:
You’ll need to authorize the plugin before you can access its features. Simply click the Authorize Plugin button, and you’ll be presented with a field requesting an access code:
To obtain this code, click on the Get Access Code link, which will ask you to authorize your account with Google. Once you enable access, you’ll be give the code you need:
Copy this code, head back into WordPress and paste it into the Access Code field:
Click Save Access Code, and you’re done! At this point, the plugin will link your WordPress website to your Google Analytics account, which enables you to view your reports and metrics directly from your dashboard. Here, you’ll see an interactive graph based on a number of statistics that you can select from a drop-down. You’ll also be able to view results based on a number of time frames.
However, the dashboard will only show you global analytics for your site. If you’re looking to find specific analytics for each post, you can do that too! On your dashboard, click on Posts. You’ll notice a new column appear called Analytics. Once clicked, the graph icon next to each post will show the specific analytics for each post:
It’s ideal for finding out post-specific information that you’d normally have to trawl through Google Analytics for.
How to Interpret Your Google Analytics Reports
Of course, having access to your analytics reports is all for nothing unless you know how to use them. Some of the key reports you’ll likely want to view are:
- Pageviews. One of the simplest reports Google Analytics generates, this simply tells you how many times a page has been viewed. With this information, you can learn what’s popular on your website, and what could do with some work. Of course, this doesn’t tell you the whole story, and you’ll likely use it in conjunction with other reports.
- Traffic Sources. Google Analytics can track where visitors are coming from, both on the web, and their geographical location. This metric can be key in measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
- Bounce Rate. This measures how many visitors browsed to your home page, then immediately left without interacting with it. A high bounce rate indicates that people are not sticking around to view your content (which is bad!). However, once you’re aware of this, you can explore why it’s happening.
There are plenty of other reports to view in Google Analytics, and this article can’t even begin to cover them all! You’ll likely want to conduct your own research into what’s on offer, and consult a handy guide or two along the way.
Google Analytics can be used to generate a plethora of information about your site’s visitors and their behavior. Having this information can help you to better gauge how your site is performing, and enable you to set more specific site goals.
In this article, we’ve showed you how you can integrate Google Analytics within WordPress, through the use of the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin.