Google Analytics (GA) is a platform that connects to your website to track users and generate reports on their behavior. Set up GA by adding a tracking code to your site and then creating events, reports, goals, custom dashboards, and user segmentations. It’s ideal for e-commerce businesses and other companies that rely on website traffic.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool but it can be difficult to set up. Luckily, businesses can outsource the setup process to a Google Analytics expert on Fiverr for between $40 and $200. To begin, visit Fiverr and search “set up Google Analytics.” Then, contact a five-star expert to set up Google Analytics.
Here are the seven steps to set up Google Analytics and customize it to your business needs:
1. Open a Google Analytics Account & Connect Your Website
To open a Google Analytics account, set up a Gmail account dedicated to your business. From there, use that account to connect your website to Google Analytics. This process is as simple as signing in, selecting Google Analytics, and filling out their form when prompted with your business name, URL, type of online property, and information about your business, like your time zone, industry category, and what data you’d like to share with Google (if any).
Open a Gmail Account for Your Business
You may already have a Google account for your personal email, but we recommend you open a Gmail account specifically for your business. This way, as you grow, you can better organize your business’s communication and data as it grows.
To sign up for a Google account, go to www.google.com and select “Sign In,” then “Create an Account.” From there, input your first and last name, choose a username that will become the first part of your Gmail address, input a password, and confirm your password. Then, click “Next.”
Input the information requested, including a business phone number (optional for security purposes), a recovery email (optional for account recovery purposes), birth date (required because Google has age limits on some services), and your gender (you can indicate you don’t want to say).
Open a Google Analytics Account
Sign into your business’s Gmail account. Then, go to www.google.com/analytics and click “Start for Free,” then “Sign Up” under the “Start using Google Analytics” tile.
Add your Website to Your Google Analytics Account
You will be directed to a form to fill out. The first part is your new account settings. These settings include telling Google what type of property — website or mobile app — you’d like to track; providing your account name, website name, and your website URL as well as setting your website industry category and time zone.
Here are the different parts of this form and what they mean:
- What would you like to track?: If you are a small business setting up Google Analytics for your website or e-commerce shop, click “website” under “What would you like to track?”
- Account name: This is where you input your business name; even if you have more than one business website, you can put your business name here, then add multiple websites from there.
- Website name: Here you want to name the first website you’re adding; if you have more than one website you’d like to track, it’s important to offer a differentiated name here; for example, if you have a website for three different locations in three different cities, you might differentiate them by adding the first website (below in website URL) and naming it by the city name here (ABCBooks – Denver, for example).
- Website URL: Enter one website URL; you may have multiple websites, but to get started, enter one of them here, then you can add more later. Make sure this URL is for the business and location you named under “Website name” (www.abcbooksdenver.com, for example).
- Industry category: Although selecting an industry category is optional, we recommend you specify the closest industry to yours in this form option; when you do, you gain access to benchmarking industry data that helps you understand if you are competing well in your industry and how you can better compete.
- Reporting time zone: Set the time zone in which your business operates.
Set Your Data Sharing Preferences
To set up your data sharing preferences, check or leave unchecked the list of data sharing choices on the bottom portion of the form. Your data sharing preferences are the data points you want to share with Google for purposes like improving their products, enabling benchmarking features, upselling and recommendation purposes, technical support, and more.
Here are the reasons Google requests data access when you open an Analytics account:
- Google products & services: This first box asks you if you would like to share data with Google to improve their products and services.
- Benchmarking: This second box asks if you’d like to share anonymous data with Google so they can better supply benchmarking data to companies like yours; because other companies have opted into this, you will receive the benchmarking data you need.
- Technical support: This box is strictly giving permission to technical support representatives to access your data when you need help to resolve an issue or require guidance.
- Account specialists: This gives Google marketing, sales, and other representatives access to your data so they can recommend products, find ways to improve your analytics configuration or analysis, and provide tips to use your data better.
These boxes are checked by default. If you’d like to opt out of any of these data sharing preferences, uncheck the box. Then, click “Get Tracking ID.” Finally, read and accept the terms of service agreement.
2. Add Your Tracking Code to Your Website
A Google Analytics tracking code allows Google to begin collecting data on your visitors’ behavior so that you can learn their expectations and optimize your site. How you add your tracking code to your website will depend on what blogging or content management system (CMS) you use. For some, like WordPress, plug-ins are available to add the tracking code easily while others, like Shopify, have designated spaces to paste it.
Add Tracking Code to WordPress Manually
For WordPress, add the tracking code Google provides to your website’s header.php file yourself. Begin by copying the tracking code from the page that appears in Google Analytics after you clicked “Get Tracking Code” in the previous step (see below for example). To add it to your website, you can click on “Appearance” from your WordPress website dashboard left-hand menu, then “Editor” from the pop-up menu.
WordPress may offer a warning you have to accept before continuing. The warning indicates that incorrectly editing your WordPress files can cause significant problems, including bringing down your entire site, then gives you the option to edit your files anyway. If you want to proceed, you can enter into your header.php file, which is listed under Themes or Templates, and paste your tracking code provided by Google Analytics before closing </head> tag.
Use a Safe Plug-in to Add Your Tracking Code to WordPress
Any time you edit your WordPress files, there are risks involved. So, we recommend an easier and safer way to install Google Analytics for your WordPress website using a plug-in like MonsterInsights. This plug-in doesn’t require you to edit your files but, instead, allows you to connect the plug-in to your Google Analytics account. From there, you can authenticate the account, and Google Analytics will start collecting data from there.
To get started using this plug-in, go to MonsterInsights and open an account. Download the MonsterInsights plug-in zip file. Then, go to your website dashboard and click on “Plugins,” and “Add New.” Click “Upload Plugin.”
From here, click “Choose File” and select the zip file you just downloaded. Click “Install Now” and wait for it to install. Now, click “Activate.”
Once you’ve activated the MonsterInsights plug-in, click the “Google Analytics settings” link at the top of your WordPress dashboard to access the Insights Settings menu. Click the “Authenticate with your Google account” button.
Now, select your company’s Google Analytics account on the screen provided and allow MonsterInsights permission to access your Google Analytics account. Then, select your website profile and check the “I am not a robot” box. Finally, click “Complete Authentication.”
From there, MonsterInsights will authenticate your account and allow Google Analytics to begin gathering insights on your visitors’ website behavior. After a few hours, click on “Report” under “Insights” on your dashboard menu to begin seeing behavioral data right in your WordPress dashboard.
Add the Tracking Code to Your CMS
Other CMS platforms have different methods for adding your Google Analytics tracking code. To find instructions on how to do so, search Google for “Install Google Analytics Tracking Code to [your chosen CMS name],” such as “Install Google Analytics Tracking Code to Drupal.”
Below are Google Analytics installation instructions for the following platforms:
3. Set up Your Site Search
Your website likely has search functionality, which helps customers find the information they want easily. At the same time, it gives you a lot of information about how they navigate your site, what existing content most interests them, and what they want out of your site that you don’t provide. To learn about your visitors’ Site Search behaviors, tell Google Analytics to track that information by turning on Site Search tracking and inputting your query parameter.
To set up Site Search in Google Analytics for a WordPress website, first select “Admin” on your Google Analytics account, then click “View Settings.”
Next, scroll to find “Site search Tracking” and turn it on. Locate the “Query parameter” box underneath “Site search Tracking.” Now, go to your website and search for a keyword using your website’s search box. Once you’ve conducted your search, on the resulting page, look at the URL and notate if there is an “s” or “q” after the question mark (for example, https://fitsmallbusiness.com/?s=a%2Fb+testing, has an “s” after the question mark).
Navigate back to the Google Analytics tab to the “Query parameter” box you located earlier. Type in either “s” or “q” into the query parameter box, choosing the one you noted in the last step. Then, click “Save.”
From here, Google Analytics will start gathering data on how your website visitors use Site Search, including the search terms they use and how effectively their searches lead them to engage further with your site.
4. Familiarize Yourself With Google Analytics Reports
Google Analytics offers a set of reports arranged on various dashboards to help you analyze and make sense of visitors’ website behavior, including who they are, where they come from, and their intent. Knowing what reports are offered and what they track helps you learn which ones will be valuable to you so that you can focus on them. There are five sections in Google Analytics reports, including acquisition, audience, behavior, real-time, and conversion sections.
Here is a more in-depth look at the five sections of Google Analytics reports.
Real-time reports offer an overview of the real-time visitor behavior on your site via five reports: the overview, traffic sources, content, events, and conversions. You can click on dimensions of the report to apply segments, helping you to get a better view of the audiences you’re interested in learning more about.
You will find these reports under the real-time section of Google Analytics:
- Locations: This report shows the geographic locations of real-time website users.
- Traffic sources: This report tells you what websites referred on-site visitors to your website, including social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, and search engines like Bing and Google.
- Content & screens: This report tells you what pages and screens (for mobile apps) were viewed in the last 30 minutes.
- Events: This report shows you all events on-site visitors are completing, including clicks, downloads, video plays, and more.
- Conversions: This report tells you what tracked goals your visitors are completing, including form completions, campaign conversions, and more.
The audience section gives you information to analyze your target audiences. To receive this information, you first have to turn on demographics and interests in Google Analytics, then create audiences and publish them. From there, you can access reports that tell you about those audiences, including their behaviors, conversions, and data surrounding how they were acquired.
Here are the reports you can expect from the Audience section of Google Analytics:
- Active users: This tracks users for up to 30 days and shows you fluctuations in user visits.
- Audiences: Once you’ve defined your audience in Google Analytics and published it, you can then view that audience’s behavior here, including their number of sessions on your site, how long they stayed on your site, their conversion rates, and more.
- Audience explorer: Here you can track individual user behavior based on their Client ID or User ID; to do so, you must first enable User ID in your property settings.
- Demographics: This section gives you a breakdown of the age and gender of your website visitors and how they behave on your site, including their transactions, revenue, how many are new users, how long they stay on your site, and more.
- Interests: This report tells you the general interests of your website visitors so that you know how to market to them better.
- Geo: This report tells you your visitors’ locations and languages so you know if you need to expand your marketing.
- Behavior: This tells you how often your visitors come to your website and how long they stay.
- Technology: This tells you what technologies, including browsers, operating systems, and networks, your visitors use to access your website.
- Mobile: This report gives you the acquisition, behavior, and conversion data for different devices like desktop, mobile, and tablet users and even tells you the make and model of those devices.
- Custom: Here you can create a custom audience report for your chosen metrics, and more.
- Benchmarking: If you’ve enabled benchmarking, this tells you how your marketing results compare to others in your industry.
- Users flow: This tells you the path visitors take through your website and where they tend to exit your website.
Acquisition reports offer data on how you acquired your leads, including campaign, social media, ad, and search data. With these reports, you gain an understanding of what campaigns perform the best and what sources are most valuable in sending traffic to your website. There are five reports besides the Overview in this Google Analytics section, including the all traffic, search console, social, Google ads, and campaign reports.
Here’s a closer look at Google Analytics’ Acquisition reports:
- All traffic: This report gives you a breakdown of your traffic sources, including which visitors came from third-party placement articles or external sites that link to yours, and what pages people first landed on when entering your website.
- Google Ads: By first linking your Google Ads and Google Analytics, you can use this report to understand your customer behavior around ads, including their clicks, impressions, conversions, and more.
- Search console: To generate these reports, you must first connect your website’s Search Console account to Google Analytics; from there, you can track how your website performs on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Social: This report offers tools to measure your content’s social impact, helping you determine what content and which networks provide the most value to growing revenue.
- Campaigns: By using an application to create custom campaigns URLs, you can then use this report to track and gauge campaign performance.
Behavior reports tell you what website visitors do while visiting your website, including how they navigate it and insights into their intent. Reports in this section include the behavior flow, site speed, site search, and events reports.
Here are the reports you can view in the Behavior section of Google Analytics:
- Behavior flow: This report helps you visualize the path users traveled on your website across events — like buttons or downloads — and pages.
- Site speed: This report tells you how quickly your website loads and displays content as well as what slows it down.
- Site search: This report tells you what users search for on your website, including their search terms, site search categories, and start pages.
- Events: This report shows how people behave surrounding events on your website like downloads, ad clicks, and video plays.
- Publisher: This report gives you information surrounding how your ads are performing, including impressions and revenue earned.
Conversion reports help you understand data around your conversions like what products were sold, how much visitors spend, what lead to conversions, and more. Reports under this section include the goals, e-commerce, attribution, and multi-channel funnel reports.
Here are the reports you can view in the Conversion section of Google Analytics:
- Goals: This report tells you how well your website helps you complete business objectives; objectives might include, for example, visitors downloading content or apps and reaching thank you or confirmation pages for purchases or registrations.
- eCommerce: This report offers data around transactions, including sales made, how much visitors spent, billing locations, and more.
- Multichannel funnel: This report helps you understand how your marketing channels work together to help you reach business objectives.
- Attribution: Tells you how valuable each marketing channel is at creating conversions.
5. Set Up Your Goals
Setting up your goals in Google Analytics is the process of telling Google what results you would like to track, including revenue, visitor attempts to contact you, videos played, calls-to-action (CTAs) clicked, and more. To set up your goals, you first have to access the goal template, where you will choose what goals you’d like to gather data on and how you want Google Analytics to measure them.
To begin, click on “Admin” in your Google Analytics account, then on “+New Goal.”
From there, a template will pop up for you to fill out, indicating what goals you’d like to track. You can choose to track a revenue, acquisition, inquiry, or engagement metric. Select the goal you are interested in tracking.
Now, click “Continue” to move on to the “Define Goal” screen. Once there, input your goal’s chosen name in the text box under “Name.” For example, if your goal was to track how many people viewed your contact information, you can name your goal “Contact Us.”
From there, select your goal type. A goal you can choose might be your visitors viewing a certain page, playing certain videos, or clicking on a CTA. So, a goal-type might be the duration someone viewed a page on your website, pages/screens per session they navigated through, or an event like playing a video.
Now, click “continue” and fill in your goal details. Your goal details will be different depending on the type of goal you chose. For example, if you indicated you wanted to track how many people landed on your “Contact Us” page, you will be asked to input your “Contact Us” URL in the text box next to “Equals to.” You can also indicate a monetary value for this goal or a funnel showing how people navigated your website to complete this goal. Lastly, click “Save.”
You can set up 20 goals using this process. From here, Google Analytics will begin tracking these goals. As data is collected around your goal, you can access goal reports under your Conversions section goals report.
6. Set up Google Analytics Segments
By setting up your segments, you filter your data by demographic information so that you can focus on your target audience. You can set up several different segments to ensure each audience is receiving a conversion-worthy experience on your website, including mobile, language, age, user visit frequency, new users, engagement level, content viewed, and other segments.
To set up Google Analytics segments, in Google Analytics, click on “Audience,” then on “Overview” from the left-hand menu.
Now, click +Add Segment” and check the segments you want to track. Then, click “Apply.”
You can create up to 20 segments to track. To do so, choose from the default segments listed, including mobile and tablet traffic, making a purchase, organic or paid traffic, returning users, and more; or you can create a custom segment. To create a segment not listed, click “New Segment,” name your segment, select the demographics that will comprise your segment, and click “Save.”
7. Create Custom Dashboards
Google Analytics has a ton of data reports, which is great, but many small businesses are only interested in a few of them. Custom dashboards allow you to create one view of the data you want to track, thereby filtering out all other data that are not pertinent to your business. To create a custom dashboard, choose the dashboard components you want to be included (widgets), how you want them displayed, and what metrics you want them to display.
To set up custom Google Analytics dashboards, under “Home,” select “Customization,” then “Dashboards. From there, click “Create.”
Choose between a “Blank Canvas” to create a dashboard from scratch, a “Starter Dashboard” to create a basic already-built dashboard, or “Import from Gallery” to import a dashboard created by another Google Analytics user.
On the bottom, left-hand corner, name your dashboard. Click the “Create Dashboard” button and click “Customize Dashboard.” Name the first report you’d like to include in your dashboard under “Widget Title.” Select the type of widget (report layout) you’d like to use from 6 options, including a pie table, geomap, timetable, and more, with standard (historical) or real-time data tracking.
Choose the metric you’d like to track. Examples of metrics you can choose include clicks, cost per transaction, cost per conversion, the goal you’d like to visualize (as we set up in step 6), number of sessions per user, return on investment (ROI), and many more.
Add the URL the metric is based on, if applicable. For example, if your metric is a page view of the purchase-confirmation page, add the URL of the confirmation page so Google can track its page views. Then, click “Save.”
Repeat this process to add more report widgets to your dashboard, and click “Add widget” to add another. You can also add segments to your reports by clicking the “Add Segment” button. Then, click “Customize Dashboard” to select how you want your dashboard widgets to be distributed. For example, you can choose to distribute your reports in two or three rows on your dashboard.
Who Google Analytics Is Right For
As a free option, Google Analytics is best for businesses that need to increase website sales as a primary source of sales. Businesses that should make Google Analytics a priority include e-commerce storefronts, online travel and hospitality businesses, virtual contractor businesses, and other web-based companies.
Here are a few businesses that would most benefit from setting up Google Analytics:
- eCommerce businesses: Because Google Analytics tracks website sales, e-commerce businesses should set up Google Analytics to understand how well their websites are producing sales, and how to boost revenue.
- Travel and hospitality businesses: Small travel and hospitality businesses that rely on websites to book flights, hotels, vacations, and more should use Google Analytics to track how well their websites lead visitors to buy.
- Virtual contract businesses: Small virtual contract businesses like graphic design, online marketing, freelancer, accounting, and even personal fitness coaching businesses should set up Google Analytics to learn how their websites are attracting and converting potential clients.
How to Set Up Google Analytics — Pro Tips
Using Google Analytics can be as basic or as advanced as you want it to be. For help getting the most out of this versatile tool, we tapped experts for their advice. From setting up goals to tracking campaigns with customized links and other Google Marketing products, these pros give you deeper insights into how you can use Google Analytics for better business results.
1. Set up Your Goals Carefully
“The most important step in using Google Analytics to optimize ROI is ensuring that your goals are set up correctly. Whether you’re looking for the user to join an email list, call your business, or purchase a product, it’s vital that you’re using the goals feature to see who’s converting on your site. Once the goals have been set up on the back end of your website — using a button click, URL change, or even time on page — you can focus on who is actually converting on your site — including what website they came from, how they found you, how they behaved on your site, and so much more.”
— Alisha Evanson, Digital Marketing Manager, Notifii
2. Use a URL Builder Tool to Track Your Campaigns
“Use the URL Builder tool from Google to add parameters to each URL that you share. This is massively valuable — albeit a bit time-consuming — for getting clean data in your analytics. Without doing this, most of your traffic will come in as direct if the traffic is coming from non-Google-owned properties like other social media. So, anytime you share a link on Facebook, go into the URL builder and add Facebook as the source and copy paste that link into your Facebook post. This will ensure that the data comes in clean into your Google Analytics — always.”
— Andrew Lee Miller, Founder & Marketing Consultant, AndrewStartups
3. Link Your Google Marketing Accounts Together for Complete Data
“When setting up Google Analytics, it is of the highest priority to make sure Google Ads and Google Search Console are linked to the account properly. With proper linking, you can see exactly which Google Ads campaigns and which search words give the best traffic to your site! You have your goals and conversions, remarketing, and lookalike audience from Google Analytics in your Google Ads account automatically.”
— Nicolai Thomassen, Co-founder, TimeOn
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Can I Do with Google Analytics?
Google Analytics allows small businesses to gather website data and interpret the data surrounding website visitors’ behaviors. It also shows how well a website is attracting qualified leads and converting them around business goals. From that information, businesses can learn needed website optimizations to boost conversions and sales.
How Much Does Google Analytics Cost?
Google Analytics is a free service provided through Google to track user behavior. As a small business, it is free to set up, and you can use it as long as you’d like. If you’d like someone else to set up your Google Analytics for you, there are Fiverr Google Analytics experts you can outsource the process to for as little as $50. Some even set up your goals and segments for you.
How Many Google Analytics Accounts Can I Have?
While it might make sense for small businesses with multiple websites to open multiple Google Accounts, for most, there’s no need. Within one Google Analytics account, businesses can track up to 50 websites.
How Do I Add Google Analytics to My Website?
The means by which businesses add Google Analytics to their accounts depends on the platform they’re using. For a WordPress website, for example, small businesses must add the Google Analytics tracking code to their header.php file. If they don’t want to take the risk of altering essential website files, they can instead use a plug-in like MonsterInsights to connect their websites to Google Analytics and begin gathering data.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to set up Google Analytics allows small businesses to track conversions, traffic sources, target market behavior, drop-off points, and more. This allows small businesses like e-commerce, travel and hospitality brands, and more to understand who their target markets are, how to reach them, and how to guide them to convert. For best results, businesses must create custom reports to track target markets and business goals easily.
For some small businesses, time and resource constraints keep them from investing in a custom Google Analytics setup. By searching “Set up Google Analytics” in Fiverr, small businesses gain access to affordable Google Analytics expertise to guide them on best Google Analytics setup or do it for them with a thorough understanding of business target markets and goals.