Looking for a way to add Google Analytics to your WordPress website without a plugin? Adding Google Analytics to your site helps you track your website traffic and gives valuable insights about your visitors. Let’s take a look at how to add Analytics tracking code to your site without a plugin.
Is It Best to Add Google Analytics With or Without a Plugin?
You might think that the fewer plugins you use on your site the better, but that’s not always necessarily true.
It’s true that badly coded plugins could add bloat and slow down your site.
But a well-made, lightweight plugin can save you a lot of time and hassle, without any ill effects.
In fact, the number of plugins on a WordPress site has actually next to no direct correlation with your site’s speed and performance. It’s all about the quality of the plugins installed.
Best WordPress plugins, like MonsterInsights, which have millions of installs, are more tested and optimized for speed. They have no impact on site load speed whatsoever.
You can read more about how plugins affect your site’s speed here.
Before we jump in, let’s take a look at why you should add Google Analytics to WordPress site without a plugin may not be the best choice for your site.
- Not as easy: Adding Google Analytics to your site without a plugin is not as easy as with a plugin. With MonsterInsights, the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, you can easily set up Analytics with just a few clicks.
- You may lose tracking code: When you switch your themes, you may forget to add the Analytics tracking code again to your new theme. In the period of time before you add your tracking code again, your visitors won’t be tracked. With a plugin, you won’t miss out on that data.
- You miss powerful Analytics features: You’ll miss powerful features like events tracking, custom dimensions, file download tracking, and more. Without a plugin, it’s very time consuming to set up these features on your WordPress site.
If you’re looking for an easy way to set up Google Analytics on your WordPress site, you may use MonsterInsights, instead.
With MonsterInsights, you can easily set up these advanced tracking features with just a few clicks:
- Enhanced eCommerce tracking for your WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads stores
- Google AdSense tracking so you can see who’s clicking on your ads
- File download tracking to see how many times each file is downloaded
- Popular post tracking so you can see which posts are most popular with your audience
…and much more – see the full list of features here.
You can read how to properly set up Google Analytics in WordPress with MonsterInsights.
If you’d rather set up Google Analytics without a plugin, follow the step-step-guide below.
Add Google Analytics to WordPress Without a Plugin
Before we get started, make sure to backup your WordPress theme, so in case something goes wrong, you can easily revert it back.
You’ll be directly editing the code that outputs your site, so a mistake as small as a misplaced comma could bring down your whole site. Be sure to make a backup just in case.
Step 1: Get Your Google Analytics Tracking Code
Log into your Google Analytics account and select the website for which you need the tracking code.
Click on Admin in the left taskbar.
In the property column, click Tracking Info, and then Tracking Code.
Now you can get the tracking code under the Website tracking section. Just copy it.
Step 2: Add the Tracking Code to the header.php file
Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance » Editor. Now click the header.php file on the right-hand side below the Templates section.
Paste the tracking code you just copied from your Analytics profile before the closing </head> tag.
Then click Update File.
You’ve just learned how to add Google Analytics to WordPress without a plugin.
But if you’re looking for a simpler method, then using plugins for Google Analytics WordPress can help out. MonsterInsights makes it super simple to connect your site with Analytics.
And if you’re still wondering whether it’s a good idea to install Analytics without a plugin, you should check out our post on is MonsterInsights worth it.
After installing Google Analytics, you might also want to stop Google Analytics from tracking logged in WordPress users. And if you want, you can also check out our amazing guide on how to create an email newsletter and Mailchimp alternatives.