First thing I do anytime I spin up a new site is to add Google Analytics to it. This lets me see what is being used on the site, by who, how often…etc, and can be invaluable to any small business that wants to know more about its customers.
Site analytics are also useful for determining whether or not to pay for maintaining or developing certain parts of your website, or which can be leveraged for better returns. No sense in having a fancy workflow in your Contact Us form if most people are using Twitter to contact you!
The plugin I’m going to use for Google Analytics is called Google Analytics for WordPress. It has a good number of features, a lot of users, and decent feedback – so until I find this plugin doesn’t do something I want, it should suffice.
- Make sure you have a Google Analytics account – and have set up a web property – the end result should be you have a code (property id) that looks like this: UA-xxxxxxxx-x. Copy this to your clipboard, you’ll use it soon.
- In your WordPress admin site, go to Plugins -> Add New
- Search for “Google Analytics” – and choose the one you like – the one I’m using is called Google Analytics for WordPress
- Click “Install Now” – this should download the plugin and install it for you
- Now, you’ll be taken to configure the plugin – if not done automatically, just click “Plugins” on the left bar, and under Google Analytics for WordPress – either Activate or click “Settings” to set it up
- I chose to do a manual setup, so click the checkbox that says “Manually enter your UA code”, and pasted in my UA code from the step above – then Save the settings
- Default settings will be good for most configurations. I also chose to add Tags and All Categories under “Advanced Settings” so I could have reports that are a bit more granular
- Now, visit your website, then go to your Google Analytics dashboard and be sure to select today date in the date range – you should now see a data point representing your hit! (it can sometimes take a few minutes for the data to appear)
Congrats, you now have access to advanced analytics for your WordPress site at your fingertips!
Different ways a small business can leverage this new info is definitely an entire blog post on its own – so stay tuned!