Track how many people visit your site, where they live, how long they spend on a given page and what pages they prefer, among heaps of other things, using Google Analytics and our step-by-step guide to setting it up.
It’s vital to understand how your website is performing on a day-to-day basis and uncover any areas or issues that might need your attention. To do this, you need to monitor important metrics such as visits, conversions and the keywords that visitors are using to find your site.
Google Analytics is an absolute must-have for this. The good news: it’s free, and easy to set up and use.
The tool allows you to do everything from tracking visitor numbers and demographics, to conversions and transactions as ‘goals’.
If you don’t already have an account, use our step-by-step guide to setting one up.
Before you start
Set up a Google account if you don’t already have one.
Have a website that you want to track the performance of.
Have a think about what you want to start monitoring and what matters to you – visitor numbers, keywords that get people to your site via searches, where your traffic is coming from, popular pages, and so on.
Now let’s get started setting up Google Analytics
Step 1: Head to www.google.co.uk/analytics and sign in using your Google account (or set one up if you don’t have one). Once you’re in, click the ‘Sign up’ box’.
Step 2: Fill in the form that you’re presented with including your website name, URL, industry and time zone. If you’re planning to use a vanity URL (we haven’t just made that up, honest) instead of your Moonfruit address (i.e. example.com instead of example.moonfruit.com) then you can use that. If you’re planning on operating more than one website under a company umbrella, you may also wish to assign an account name.
Step 3: Google will ask if you want to share your analytics data with other Google products like AdWords, AdSense and Webmaster Tools. While this is completely optional, the more tools you use, the more insights you’ll have into your site.
Step 4: After you click ‘Get Tracking ID’ (and read and accept the Terms of Service) you’ll be given a unique tracking ID and some tracking code. There are other options that you can adapt, but unless you know a little about domains and sub-domains, for now you can just copy the code to your clipboard.
Step 5: Log into your Moonfruit account and enter the site editor. Select ‘Services’ from the main menu and hit the ‘Setup’ button under Google Analytics. You’ll see a box where you need to paste the code that you generated earlier. Do that, then click ‘Save’, and you’re done.
Step 6: Google Analytics is a goldmine of information and the best way to learn what to look for is to click around and look for the information that matters to you. Access ‘Google Analytics’, click on ‘All web site data’ and under ‘Standard Reporting’ you’ll find some of the key metrics to keep an eye on, including the number of visits (Audience>Overview) and where your traffic is coming from (Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic). The Google Analytics YouTube channel has some excellent tips to help you get started – http://www.youtube.com/user/googleanalytics
For every data request you make, ensure you’re selecting the time period you want to cover by adjusting the date information in the top-right. You can select from some pre-set date ranges, or enter your own custom date range, and you can also compare to other time periods.
Something else to try
If you’re running an e-commerce website, or any site with some form of enquiry, it makes sense to track transactions as ‘goals’ which allow you to see the various stages customers went through, from first click to final action. There’s an excellent walk-through on the Google Support site.
Want to create a free website with Moonfruit? Find out how on our homepage.
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