If you have ever wondered how Google Analytics can help your blog or how to install Google Analytics on your WordPress website, then you have come to the right place.
In today’s post, I will walk you through some of the ways Google Analytics can supercharge your WordPress blog. I will also show some easy ways you can install Google Analytics in your blog.
But before we dive into the process of Google Analytics installation, let’s do a quick round up of the benefits if you still haven’t decided if it is worth the effort.
And here’s a handy list of contents in this post in case you wanted to jump to any specific section.
Benefits of using Google Analytics on your blog
As we would all agree, one of the key goals of a blog or any website for that matter is to bring in visitors. Making sure that the right audience is able to find and interact with our website is crucial. And this doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product, writing a blog, or simply offering a service. The end goal is the same, generating lots of lots of quality visits.
The mission for generating more visitors starts with a detailed understanding of how our website is performing first. What type of content works best for our audience. What style, colour schemes, menu system drives the most amount of engagement on our site. We can then rinse and repeat what works best leading to exponential growth.
This is exactly where Google Analytics comes in. From Fortune500 companies to blogs, Google Analytics has something for everyone.
And the biggest advantage Google Analytics has over all other web tracking platforms is that it is free. Backed up by colossal Google infrastructure and audience intel.
Questions Google Analytics can help answer for your blog
There’s virtually no limits to how you can customise and leverage Google Analytics to make data driven decisions for your blog.
In my career in advertising, I have worked on countless numbers of household brands and their web analytics systems and implementation. And you will be surprised to hear how so many of these companies rely on Google Analytics to derive granular actionable insights.
I will perhaps cover this in more detail on another post. I will look into writing a series on advanced Google Analytics tracking, but to stay on topic and for simplicity, here’s a list of areas Google Analytics can really benefit your blog.
Google Analytics can tell you which contents perform best on your blog and which ones don’t
I think most will agree that blogging by no means is an easy feat. Creating meaningful, useful content for your readers is never enough. We also need to make sure those 20 odd posts we wrote in the last 3 months were able to gain traction amongst our audience.
This is where Google Analytics can really shine. You are able to find out:
- Which topics generated most page views and engagement and which ones didn’t
- How long do your readers spend on each of your post
- Did the visitors bounce off from your site after landing on a post or they click through to other content on your blog. And if so, was it through your recent posts side bar widget or the main menu you have worked so hard to put together.
- Did they subscribe to your newsletter after reading a particular post because they felt really inspired by the topic and how you covered it (through events and goal tracking)
- Did they read the whole post or stopped half way (event tracking with viewability triggers)
Google Analytics can tell you where you visitors come from
If you have ever wondered which websites or traffic sources generate the most amount of traffic to your website, then Google Analytics can have all the answers and more. Even a basic Google Analytics implementation by default can give you a very detailed overview on the following:
- Visitors sources broken down by search, social, referral and direct (visitors who types your url directly on their browsers)
- You can then go in to each of the above and find exactly what site drove the traffic
- You will know which traffic source gives you the best quality of traffic in terms of time on page, click through to other pages, and low bounce rates
- You are also able to create custom segments on the default channel grouping to create custom reports on specific traffic sources
- You can start adding UTM links on any organic social activities that you carry out on social channels like Pinterest, Facebook/Instagram, Twitter etc and further identify by type of posts, content etc
Google Analytics can tell you gender and age group of your blog readers so you can understand you readership and demographics better
This is another area where Google Analytics can really help enhance your blog. By matching your web visitors to Google’s own database of marketing cookies, Google Analytics is able to tell you an estimate of age and gender data of your visitors.
Google Analytics can also tell you what locations (from your visitors’ IP addresses) your visitors are coming from, what device, browser etc they use.
If you enable “Demographics and Interest Reports” then Google will match your visitors with a tremendous amount of cookie and behavioural data they hold and tell you what gender and age group your visitor may fall under.
You can leverage this data by analysing which posts resonate more with what gender and age group. This will then enable you to tailor your topics, and perhaps add more content to a post as an update (updating old posts is always a good idea for SEO, so search engines know that you keep your content up to date, more on this another time)
Know the location of your blog readers from Google Analytics
You can look at a breakdown of all your blog visitors by locations such as cities and countries. This will enable you to understand which countries/cities your posts resonate with most. By looking at the engagement data on post level by locations, you are able to analyse which locations generate the most engaged audience for you. You can then tailor your post to that specific city/country even more if you wanted.
Google Analytics can tell you what devices your readers use to access your blog
By looking at engagement on your posts by device type, you can gauge if your website / blog performs equally as well on all devices. You can pin point if you have a low engagement from a specific device type i.e. mobiles, and then investigate to ensure your site is fully responsive.
With newsletter sign up goal tracking installed on your website or blog, you will be able to track and analyse which device and browser types generate more or less conversions. You can then investigate any anomalies.
The list can carry on and on, and I could perhaps start a whole new blog on benefits of installing Google Analytics on your blog.
You can visit Google Analytics academy page for further information and online training which are free and will give you crash course on Google Analytics in no time: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/
But again, to reign myself back in, I will now focus on how to install Google Analytics on your blog.
How to sign up for a Google Analytics account for your blog
If you want Google Analytics to tell you all about your website or blog data like a wizard, obviously you will need to give Google Analytics access to your site first.
For this, you will need to generate a snippet of code from Google Analytics which you will have to place in your site so Google can start collecting all the data.
And in order to get the Google Analytics code, you will need to sign up for a Google Analytics account first. So now that we know the basics, let’s find out how we can create a Google Analytics account.
Visit https://analytics.google.com/ and you will be asked to sign in. If you do not have a Google or Gmail account, then you will have to sign up for one by clicking “Create account” or you can go to Google account sign up page here – https://accounts.google.com/signup
Once you log in (after you create a new gmail email address or by using an existing one) you will land on a Google Analytics intro page. From here, you can click “Set up for free”. Please see below:
You then add an account name to your liking. Please note that you can create multiple “accounts” within your Google Analytics console and within each account you can have multiple websites. You will definitely get the hang of it later once you are all set up. So for now, simply add a descriptive account name that matches your blog broadly.
In this step, you will also be presented with data sharing options for your Google Analytics account. Please read all the options carefully and tick / or untick as you see fit. Then hit “Next”.
Here, you will have to select what type of web property you want to use Google Analytics for. Select “web” and hit next again unless you happen to have an IOS or Android app to go with your blog.
In this step, you will enter your website name and URL of the website.
You can also select an industry category (if you wanted to benchmark your blog against other websites by industry which can be quite broad). You can select the closest category as you see fit and then your reporting time zone depending on where you are in the world.
You will now be presented with a Terms of Service Agreement which you have to read carefully and tick appropriate boxes. There may also be additional data sharing terms you need to agree which may vary region to region.
Once you are happy, click “I Accept” and go to next step.
How to get Google Analytics code for your WordPress blog
You will now be taken directly inside your Google Analytics console and to a specific section where you will find your tracking code.
At this point, you can copy the code from the box on a notepad / or leave the browser tab open so you can come back to it later in a few minutes.
You can always access this page any time by clicking admin > Property column > Tracking info > Tracking code
How to place Google Analytics tracking code on your wordpress blog
Now that we have created our Google Analytics account and we have also generated our Google Analytics tracking code, the last step left is to add the script to our website so Google Analytics can start collecting data for us.
There are quite a few different ways to install Google Analytics on a wordpress website.
Installing Google Analytics using Insert Headers and Footers plugin for wordpress
This is one of the easiest ways of installing Google Analytics on your blog. Insert Headers and Footers plugin enables you to practically add any code you like to the header and footer section of your wordpress website in quick easy steps.
And the good thing about Headers and Footers plugin is that you don’t have to worry about breaking Google Analytics when you make changes to your website. Unlike option 3 further below, you can update or change your theme any time, but all the codes you add to the header section of the website will always stay the same as this plugin is independent of the theme you use.
Google Analytics setup using a WordPress SEO plugin like Monster Insights
This is also another easy way of installing Google analytics on your website. For this method, you will need to install Monster Insights plugin on your wordpress blog first. Monster Insights as a plugin comes with a tonne of features of its own. It can pull in Google Analytics data directly into your WordPress dashboard.
Monster Insights can also help you set up advanced tracking with Google Analytics with ease such as affiliate link click tracking, custom dimensions for your Google Analytics reports etc.
Installing Google Analytics by manually placing the code on your WordPress theme’s header.php file
This method will require some editing on the backend of your website and not really recommended unless you are comfortable with codes and editing your WordPress theme files. This method is also not very flexible and not future proof in the sense that if you were to ever update your theme or switch themes, the Google Analytics code will disappear from your site and stop collecting data.
How to install Google Analytics on wordpress blog using Insert Headers and Footers plugin
First of all, you will need to head over to your WordPress dashboard and install the plugin. For this, you will need to go to Plugins > Add new > and then search for “Insert Headers and Footers”
You will then need to click Install and then click “Activate” to enable the plugin.
Next step is to open the Insert Headers and Footers plugin from your WordPress dashboard > Settings:
Settings > Insert Headers and Footers as below
You will then need to go back to your browser tab you left open with your Google Analytics tracking code. Copy the Global Site Tag from Google Analytics and paste in the “Scripts in Header” section as shown above.
Then hit save. And you’re done!
Easy way to test if Google Analytics is working on your WordPress blog:
To test if Google Analytics script is firing on your site, you can simply head over to Google Analytics again. Then from the tracking code page, click “Home” and then “Real Time” as shown below:
I hope this article was able to show you one of the quickest ways of installing Google Analytics on your wordpress blog. Now you also know the benefits of installing Google Analytics and how to derive key insights from it to make your blog even better. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions using the Get in touch form.
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Thank you and speak soon!
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