Google Analytics is a staple in website data and insights. It’s a free tool that enables any website owner to track site visitors and collect useful data, which can then be used to optimize your site, ads, and improve your business’ performance online. To add Google Analytics to your site, you’ll need to create a Google Analytics account, find your Google Analytics ID, and then add the tracking ID to your website.
1. Create a Google Account
Start by navigating to Google Analytics. From there, create an account by clicking the “Start for free” button. If you already have a Gmail account, sign in using your Gmail username and password. If not, select the “Create Account” option in the bottom left.
2. Get a Google Analytics ID
From your Google Analytics account, navigate to settings by clicking the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner. Then, find and click the “+ Create Property” button.
Next, Google gives you options as to what type of property you plan to track: a website, an app, or both. Choose the appropriate option and click “Continue” at the bottom.
Then, input the information of the website you’re looking to create a Google Analytics ID for. Click “Create” when finished to get your Google Analytics Tracking ID.
On the next screen, you will see your new tracking ID and Google Site Tag. Depending on which platform your site is built with, you’ll need to copy either the ID or site tag, so keep this page open.
3. Add Your Tracking ID to Your Website
Now, you’ll need to navigate to the platform or content management system (CMS) you used to build your website, such as WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix, and input your Google Analytics ID or tag. I recommend you open a new tab or window so that you can easily access your Analytics ID while you log in to your site’s account.
Add Google Analytics to WordPress
There are a couple of ways to add your Google Analytics ID to your WordPress site. While you can add it to your site’s header code, the easier way is to add it by using a Google Analytics plugin.
To add it using a plugin, go to Plugins from the left-hand menu of the WordPress admin dashboard, click “Add New,” and search for Google Analytics. There are a number of options, but I recommend the Google Analytics plugin by MonsterInsights, as it’s a highly rated and comprehensive tool. When you find it, click the button to install and then activate it.
After activating the Google Analytics plugin, find the plugin within the WordPress dashboard toward the bottom of the left-hand vertical menu, labeled “Insights.”
From the Insights tab, click the “Connect MonsterInsights” button to connect WordPress to your Google Analytics account. Then, select the email address used to set up your Google Analytics account. On the following screen, select the Google Analytics account you want to connect to WordPress.
Add Google Analytics to Squarespace
If you built your website with Squarespace, log in to your account and select the option to edit your site. From the site editor, find and click “Settings” from the left-hand menu and then select “Advanced.” Next, click the “External API Keys” option, copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID from Google, and paste it into the “Google Analytics Account Number” text box.
Add Google Analytics to Wix
Those with a Wix website should navigate to Wix and log in to their account. Click “Select & Edit Site” and then scroll down on the left-hand vertical menu to find “Settings.” From settings, find and click “Tracking & Analytics.” Click the “+ New Tool” button in the top right corner and select the “Google Analytics” option. You can then copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID and paste it into the text box.
Add Google Analytics to Weebly
If you have a Weebly website, go to Weebly and sign in to your account. From the user dashboard, select “Settings” from the left-hand vertical menu and then click “General.” From the general settings page, scroll down to find the “Tracking” section, where you can paste your Google Analytics Tracking ID into the corresponding text box.
Add Google Analytics to GoDaddy
Go to GoDaddy and sign in to your account. Go to the site editor by clicking the “Edit Site” button and from there, click the “Settings” option from the upper right corner. From Settings, scroll down to the “Analytics & Tracking” section and click “Google Analytics.” On the following screen, copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID from Google and paste it into GoDaddy.
Add Google Analytics to Shopify
Log in to your Shopify account. From your user dashboard, click the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner to open settings. Then, click the “Preferences” option and scroll down to find the Google Analytics section, where you can copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID from Google and paste it into Shopify.
Tip: Looking for more ways to improve your site? Learn more about how to design a website.
What You Can Do With Google Analytics Data
Google Analytics provides a breadth of data and user insights, such as bounce rate, page views, user demographics, traffic sources, page speed, ad return on investment (ROI), and many others. While all this information is great to have, you might still be wondering why it matters and what you can do with it. The overarching answer is that you can use site data to strategically improve and optimize your site, as well as digital ads such as Google and Facebook Ads.
Here are five top things you can do using Google Analytics data:
- Optimize your site design based on user interactions and time on page
- Improve web copy so it resonates with your audience
- Optimize landing pages
- Create more strategic digital ads (e.g., Google Ads)
- Find out which marketing channels are most effective via traffic source data
Learn more about how to use Google Analytics to create a better user interface and get more leads and conversions through landing page optimization.
Google Analytics Alternatives & Website User Insight Tools
Google Analytics may be the leading website analytics tool, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only analytics tool. While it’s a free tool that provides a great deal of data, it isn’t the most user-friendly. For that reason, many businesses choose to use an additional tool, such as Gauges, Mixpanel, Leadfeeder, Clicky, HubSpot, and Hotjar.
- Gauges: For those who are happy with the amount of data Google Analytics provides, but want a more user-friendly interface that makes it easy to understand and digest data, there’s Gauges. For $9 per month, businesses can turn data into usable insights.
- Mixpanel: This tool is good if you’re looking to gain insight into customer experience by digging into trends and behavioral analytics. Another standout feature is its ability to track both desktop and mobile visitors. It offers a free plan as well as premium plans for $150 per month.
- Leadfeeder: Those in business-to-business (B2B) industries will find Leadfeeder to be a good Google Analytics addition, as it tells you which companies are visiting your website. By knowing exactly which companies are showing an interest in your business, you can be more strategic in your sales strategy. What’s more, it’s available for free.
- Clicky: Want both traffic insights and content analysis in one tool? Clicky might be the tool you’re looking for. Since it comes with a variety of features, including more technical data such as uptime monitoring, it helps reduce the number of tools you need. It’s available for free and is a particularly good tool for business-to-commerce (B2C) industries.
- HubSpot: Those who want not just website analytics, but an entire customer relationship management (CRM) tool, will find HubSpot to be a great option. It’s a robust CRM that includes insightful user insights that are broken down into data that businesses can easily use to gain leads and close sales.
- Hotjar: This is a visitor optimization tool that analyzes how visitors interact with your site. Its features include heat maps, visitor recordings, conversion funnel analysis, survey analysis, poll analysis, and form analysis. Businesses with interactive elements on their site looking to understand how users interact with it should use Hotjar, which is available for free.
Google Analytics has become a standard element in business websites. Learn about the other website basics you should be using to build and maintain a secure website that serves as a marketing tool.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between Google Tags Manager & Google Analytics?
While both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are used to support the collection and analysis of website visitor data, they are not the same tool. Google Analytics is the data collection tool, whereas Google Tag Manager is used in addition to Google Analytics to help those tracking multiple sites and traffic sources to more easily track and manage data without code.
Is Google Analytics free?
Yes, Google Analytics is available for free. It has two plans: the standard plan, which is free, and the premium license, which costs $150,000 per year. The vast majority of businesses will find the free version to be sufficient and in cases when it’s not, there are many great affordable analytics tools available to use in addition to or in lieu of Google Analytics.
How do you optimize websites & landing pages?
Optimizations always start with data collection and research. After collecting data, you can analyze this data and search for areas of improvement based on how users are interacting with your site. Businesses then redesign pages and test to find out if the change improved the site’s performance. If so, that new design (or design element) is kept and the process starts all over again, seeking further improvements. Learn more about landing page optimization.
Every professional website should use Google Analytics or another website analytics tool to collect insightful information that can be used to gain general intel, to strategically provide a better user experience for your visitor, and, in return, to better reach your site goals. Learn more about how to design a website that effectively serves as a marketing tool for your business.