Everyone who owns or manages a website needs to set up Google Analytics on their account.  It's free and easy to use, and I'll walk you through how to get it set up.  Here we go.

Navigate over to google.com/analytics and you'll have two choices:

  • sign in or
  • create an account

If you already have a Google account (this includes YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Orkut, etc) you can sign in here.  If not, go ahead and setup your new Google account to get going.  Now you're ready to learn how to set up your Google Analytics account.

Adding an account in Google AnalyticsCredit: authorIn the upper right-hand corner, click 'Admin' and you'll be presented with the screen to the right:

Click on '+New Account' and fill out the form that follows.  Website Name will be the name of the website you want to track.    Web Site URL is the one key item here.  It's easy, but critical, so be careful.  Industry Category doesn't matter much, but try to get close; and Reporting Time Zone tells Google Analytics where you are so it can give you accurate visitor information in its reporting.  Lastly, Account Name is whatever you want it to be.  I happened to set up my InfoBarrel profile as one of my accounts so I can track visits and click-throughs to my InfoBarrel profile.  Click 'Get Tracking ID' and accept the terms Google presents you with, and you should be golden.

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The next step in setting up your Google Analytics account is to install the tracking code on your website.  You can do this the easy way, or you can do this the hard way.  Your choice.  

I Love WordpressCredit: Flickr user cinefiloIf you're running WordPress, you get to do this the easy way.  First, log in to your website's admin page.  Under Settings, choose Google Analytics.  Insert the full Tracking ID (including the UA) into the Web Property ID field, and save changes.  Bam!  Just like that, you're done.

If you're still running your website on pure HTML, bummer for you.  You obviously like to do things the hard way, though, so this should be no problem for you.  By the time you're done inserting the 'tracking code' on every... single... page... of your website, you may not be wondering "How do I set up Google Analytics" but "Why am I still using HTML for creating my website?"  Just copy and paste the 'tracking code' on every single page of your website that you want to track.  Have fun.  :)

Get started with WordPress super-quick!

If you are using a CMS like Magento to manage your web content and e-commerce, installing the 'Tracking ID' is easy.  Just go to System > Configuration > Google API > Google Analytics and enter your 'Tracking ID.'  Done.  You are now free to move about the Internet.

For those of you who are selling things online but aren't using Magento, I have one question for you:  Why not?  It's the simplest ecommerce platform out there, and there are hordes of plugins available to help you with your ecommerce needs.  

Google Analytics has special instructions for site owners that use PHP scripting language:

Create a PHP file named "analyticstracking.php" with your 'tracking code' and include it on each PHP template page. Then, add the following line to each template page immediately after the opening  tag:

 <?php include_once("analyticstracking.php") ?>

If you know PHP, you already know how simple it must to set up Google Analytics on your website.  

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After you have followed the above steps to set up Google Analytics account, you can begin measuring traffic to your website.  There are many guides for learning how to use Google Analytics to measure site traffic, but it's incredibly easy if you know the basics.  

There's no excuse for not knowing how to measure traffic to your site, and if you take a little bit of time now to learn how simple it really is, you'll be glad you did.  I cover measuring traffic to your website in the article titled How Do I Measure Traffic To My Website? as a second part in this series.  

Once you have set up a Google Analytics account for your website(s), it never has to be done again.  Google is free, and wants web administrators to use their tools.  Mostly for obvious reasons, but also because they put a lot of intelligent thought into bringing simplicity to such a complex, challenging task of measuring site traffic on your web domains.  No matter your level of experience, pick up one of these great resources for web administrators on Amazon.com.

I don't know everything about websites or marketing, but I do enjoy learning about it and find that the more I share my knowledge the more I am able to retain for future usage.  Ans this was my attempt at creating more neural pathways in my brain around how to set up Google Analytics.  I hope this helped you out.  

Leave a comment below if you have any questions; I answer all of them!