Do you want to install Google Analytics in WordPress? Knowing how your audience interacts with your website is crucial for your success. The best way to know your audience is through your traffic stats, and this is what Google Analytics provide for FREE. In this article, we will share why Google Analytics is important, and how you can install Google Analytics in your WordPress blog (step by step).
Why is Google Analytics Important for Bloggers?
Once you start a blog, your #1 goal is to get more traffic and subscribers. Google Analytics help you make data-driven decisions by showing you the stats that matter. You can see:
Who visits your website?
This data is extremely useful, and it can help in numerous ways. When getting a custom design, you can use the user data to make sure that your site will be compatible with your audience.
If most of your users don’t have Flash support, then you should avoid adding flash element in your site. If most of your users are on 1280 screen resolutions, then make sure that your design is compatible with that resolution or smaller.
What do people do when they are on your website?
You can track where the user is going on your website, how long do they stay on your website, and what is the bounce rate (the percent of users exit your site on the first visit).
By using this information, you can decrease the bounce rate and increase your pageviews.
When do people visit your website?
By looking at the hottest hours in the day for your site, you can pick the time when you publish your post. If that time zone is not compatible with yours, then you can schedule your post to meet that hour.
How do people find your website?
This section of the analytics show you where did the user come from (for example: Search Engines, Direct Links, Referral links from another site).
It also shows you what percentage of your visitors came from each of these sources. Google analytics gives you the breakdown of each of these categories. If it is the search engine category, then it shows you which search engine got you the most traffic, Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.
The breakdown of referral sources show you which sites you need to work with the most. If your top referral source is Facebook, then you need to have exclusive Facebook content to make your Twitter audience feel special.
If your top referral source is an external website, then you might want to consider having a partnership with that website (guest post exchange or something else).
How do people interact with your content?
Google analytics shows how your users interact with your site’s content. It shows you what percent of the user clicked on which link on your site and much more.
You can run A/B split tests by creating content experiments in Google Analytics to understand what works best to meet your goals.
By seeing the user interactivity, you can work your content around your users. By seeing the answers to the questions above, you can focus on the strategies that work for your site and eliminate the strategies that don’t work.
Simply put, eliminate the guess work and focus on stats that matter, so you can make data driven-decisions.
How to Signup with Google Analytics
Step 1: First you need to create a Google Analytics account. To do this, visit Google Analytics Signup Page.
You will see a screen like the one below. If you already have a Google or Gmail account, then you can use that to sign-in. If you do not have a Gmail account, then you would have to create an account for yourself.
Step 2: Once you sign-in with your Gmail account, you will be prompted to a screen like the one below. This is where you will signup for Google analytics with your Gmail account.
Step 3: On the next screen, you will be given choice to choose between a website or mobile app. Make sure you select website.
After that you need to enter account name (It will be the Google Analytics profile name for this website), Website name, website’s URL, country, and the time zone.
Once you have entered this information, click on the Get Tracking ID button. You will be presented with Google Analytics terms and service which you must agree to, so click on I Agree button.
Step 4: Now you will be presented with your Google Analytics tracking code. You can copy this tracking code because you will need to enter it in your WordPress site depending on the method you use below.
We suggest leaving the analytics browser tab open as you may need to revisit it, once you have installed the code on your WordPress site.
Now that you have setup a Google Analytics account, lets take a look at how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.
How to Install Google Analytics in WordPress
There are many different ways to setup Google Analytics in WordPress. We will show you three different methods where the first option is the easiest and the last being the hardest.
You can choose the one that best suits your needs.
1. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
MonsterInsights is the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Over 1 million websites use it including the likes of Bloomberg, PlayStation, Zillow, and more.
It is the easiest and by far the best way to add Google Analytics to WordPress (for all users beginners and experts).
MonsterInsights has both a free version and the Pro version. In this tutorial, we will be using the MonsterInsights free version.
You can use the MonsterInsights Pro version if you want more advanced features like Ecommerce tracking, Ads tracking, Author tracking, etc. The process of setting them up is the same.
Let’s get started.
The first thing you need to do is install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation the plugin will add a new menu item labeled ‘Insights’ to your WordPress admin menu. You need to visit Insights » Settings to configure the plugin settings.
On this screen, you need to click on ‘Authenticate with your Google account’ button to connect Google Analytics with your WordPress site.
This will bring up a popup where you will be able to authenticate with your Google Account.
Click on ‘Next’ to continue.
Now you need to click on ‘Click to get Google code’ button.
This will bring up another popup with the message ‘MonsterInsights would like access to your Google Analytics data’.
Click on the ‘Allow’ button to continue.
The authentication popup will now show you a line of code which you need to copy.
Next, you need to enter this code in the MonsterInsights popup and then click on ‘Next’ to continue.
The final step is to select the profile you want to track. You need to select your website here and then click on the next button to continue.
That’s all you have successfully installed and setup Google Analytics on your WordPress site.
Remember, it will take Google Analytics sometime before showing your stats.
The best part about MonsterInsights is that you can view your Google Analytics report inside your WordPress dashboard. Simply visit Insights » Reports page to checkout a quick overview of your analytics data.
You can go also go in the Tracking tab to customize the tracking settings based on your needs:
Note: MonsterInsights was formerly known as Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast. WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, acquired the plugin in 2016 and rebranded it to MonsterInsights. Now it is part of our family of premium WordPress plugins.
2. Insert Headers and Footers Plugin
This method is not as not as good as MonsterInsights because you will not be able to do advanced tracking configuration, and you will not be able to view Google Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard.
First, you need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footerspage. Here you need to paste the Google Analytics code that you copied in step 4 into the headers section.
Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.
3. Install Google Analytics in WordPress Theme
This method is for advanced users only who are familiar with code. It is somewhat unreliable because your code will disappear if you switch or update the theme. We almost never recommend using this method.
If this is your first time adding code to your WordPress files, then you should check out our guide on how to copy paste code snippets in WordPress.
Add code in header.php file
Simply edit the header.php file in your WordPress theme and paste the code you copied in step 4 right after the <body> tag.
Don’t forget to save your changes and upload the file back to your server.
Add via Functions File
You can also add Google Analytics tracking code to WordPress functions file. It will then automatically add code to every page on your WordPress site.
You will need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file.
Viewing Reports on Google Analytics Website
Google Analytics is capable of showing you a treasure of data collected from your stats. You can view this data by visiting your Google Analytics dashboard and clicking on the reporting tab.
You will see the built-in Google Analytics reports in the left column. Each section is divided into different tabs and clicking on a tab will expand it to show more options.
- Audience tab will show reports to help you understand your users.
- Acquisition reports explore where your users came from.
- Behavior reports summarize what your users do after they arrive on your site.
- Conversion reports show how well you’re doing against your goals.