The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics for WordPress

Do you want to know how visitors find and see your website? The easy way to figure it out is by using Google Analytics on your site. In this complete beginner’s guide to Google Analytics, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Google Analytics, why it’s important for your website, and how to get started using it.

Understanding Google Analytics for Beginners

What is Google Analytics? Google Analytics is a free tracking tool that gives you detailed data on your website visitors and their actions on your site. It’s the most comprehensive analytics tool in the market.

With Google Analytics, you can easily make data-driven marketing decisions to grow your traffic and boost sales and revenue.

Below are a few benefits of using Google Analytics.

  • It’s free: It’s a freemium service and offers solutions for websites of all sizes.
  • It provides easy to understand reports: It gives you a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t on your site. Even if you’re not an analytics expert, you can easily interpret the data to improve customer experience on your site and boost revenue.
  • It’s comprehensive: It gives you everything you need to know about your visitors whether you’re a publisher, small business, eCommerce site owner, etc.

analytics data

Why Use Google Analytics?

While it’s certainly a nice feeling to know you’re getting traffic to your website, that isn’t the only reason to use Google Analytics.

In fact, Google Analytics give you a lot more information than just the number of your visitors.

You can also learn about:

  • Location: You can identify the geographical location of your site visitors.
  • Traffic source: You can identify what websites send traffic to your site.
  • Content: You can find the most popular blog posts and pages of your site.
  • eCommerce: You can identify the shopping behavior of your customers and get a report on sales and revenue.
  • And much more…

When you understand your site visitors, the content they like, and how they find your website, you can tailor your strategy to grow your traffic even more.

For example, after looking at your Google Analytics data, you might find that there’s a certain day and time when you get the most visitors on your blog. By publishing a new post at that time, you can reach more visitors with your content.

analytics time of day

Or, you might discover that despite spending hours each week updating your Facebook page, it doesn’t really send you much traffic at all. Then you can decide to invest your time in a social media platform that sends you more traffic, saving yourself some time and attracting more visitors.

social traffic

By basing your website strategy on insights you learn from Google Analytics, you can more effectively grow your traffic and save time in the process.

Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at how to set up Google Analytics on your WordPress site.

How to Install Google Analytics on Your Site

To set up Google Analytics on your site manually, you’ll need to copy the tracking code from your analytics account and add it to every page of your site.

But if you’re after an easy solution to set up Google Analytics, all you need to do is to install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin.

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics WordPress plugin that makes analytics setup easy and also allows you to take the full advantage of various powerful Google Analytics features.

monsterinsights-quick-easy-setup

The best thing is it lets you connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics in just a few clicks, without even having to touch the tracking code.

For a step by step guide, you can read how to connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics Reports

Upon installing Google Analytics on your site, it can take a few hours to start collecting your website data.

Once it starts collecting your website data, you can go to Insights » Dashboard in your WordPress dashboard to see how your website is doing. MonsterInsights gives you a quick overview of your traffic stats, so you don’t always have to log into your Google Analytics account to get an overview.

view your stats from your monsterinsights dashboard

However, if you need more detailed traffic stats, you can log into your Google Analytics account.

Let’s take a look at a few important traffic reports you can find in Google Analytics.

1. Google Analytics Home

The homepage of your Google Analytics profile gives you a quick overview of your traffic stats for a preselected timeframe. You can easily change the date range if you want.

analytics home

Here are a few stats you can find in the homepage of your Google Analytics account:

  • Audience overview: The number of people who visited your website during the selected date range.
  • Real-time report: It tells you how many visitors are on your site right at the moment.
  • How do you acquire users? You can see what websites your visitors are coming from.
  • How well do you retain users? It gives you an overview of returning visitors of your site.
  • And a lot more…

2. Audience Overview

The audience overview report is another important metric you find in your Google Analytics profile. It gives you an overview of the number of people who have visited your website. To find the report, you can navigate to Audience » Overview.

audience overview report

A few important metrics you’ll find in the Audience Overview report are:

  • Sessions: A session is defined as a group of interactions a visitor takes within a given time frame on your website. In simple terms, whatever a user does in a single visit, like browse multiple pages, purchase products, download resources, etc. is counted as a single session.
  • Users: The number of visitors who arrived at your site during a selected date range.
  • Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after just viewing one page. You can read more about bounce rate in Google Analytics.

How to Analyze Different Traffic Reports

Google Analytics gives you lots of different traffic reports to analyze.

For the sake of an example, let’s take a look at the all traffic report. We’ll show you how to analyze this report with different views in your Analytics account.

You can find the all traffic report by navigating to Acquisition » All Traffic » Source/Medium. It reveals where your traffic comes from.

all traffic report

The report displays the raw data of all traffic in a tabular view. To interpret data with ease, you can change the view of the report by clicking on any of these icons on the top right hand corner of the table to view the data as a pie chart, bar chart, and more.

change report view

How to Track Visitor Interactions in Google Analytics

If you’re looking to measure different user interactions with your site such as file downloads, mobile ad clicks, form submissions, and more, you’ll have to manually set up events tracking in Google Analytics. If you’re setting it up manually, you’ll need to upload extra code snippets for different events on your website.

With MonsterInsights, tracking various user interactions is a breeze. In most cases, you don’t have to manually set up an event because our plugin tracks them out of the box.

Now let’s take a look at how to measure various user interactions on your site as events.

1. Track file downloads

If you’re offering downloadable resources to your visitors, you’ll need to know if they’re actually downloading them. Out of the box, Google Analytics doesn’t support file downloads tracking. But with the MonsterInsights plugin, you can easily enable file downloads tracking in Google Analytics without having to touch a single line of code.

All you need to do is to install and activate MonsterInsights. Upon activation of the plugin, every download will be tracked without any further configuration.

To track downloads of more file extensions, you can go to Insights » Settings » Tracking » File Downloads and change the settings.

download tracking

For more details, read how to track and view file downloads in Google Analytics.

2. Track Form Submissions

Your email list is the single most important asset of your online business. If you’re looking to grow your email list, you need to optimize your list building campaign and track how well your optin forms are converting.

With MonsterInsights, you can easily track form submissions. You just need to install the MonsterInsights Forms addon. Once it is installed, no settings or configurations are required.

The Forms addon works with any contact form plugin, so it’s easy to see your WPForms and Gravity Forms analytics, or any other WordPress form plugin.

3. Other Events Tracking

With MonsterInsights, the possibilities to track various user interactions are endless. For example, out of the box, MonsterInsights also tracks affiliate link clicks and outbound link clicks.

How to Create a Goal in Google Analytics

Goals in Google Analytics allow you to measure how often users complete specific actions, like form submissions, product purchases, ebook downloads, and more.

When a website visitor performs the specific action that you’ve defined as a goal, Google Analytics records that as a conversion.

You can create four different goal types in Google Analytics:

  • Destination: You can choose this goal type if you want to treat a pageview or screenview as a conversion.
  • Duration: You can measure user engagement by treating time spent on a page as a conversion.
  • Pages/Screens per session: This is another way to measure user engagement. You can measure the number of pageviews per session as a conversion.
  • Event: You can treat user interaction like button click, video play, ebook download as a conversion.

For more details on setting up your first goal, read how to create a goal in Google Analytics.

How to Track eCommerce Sales in Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you detailed insights into your customers’ shopping behavior. You can easily view the number of transactions and revenue your website generated in Google Analytics.

Enhanced eCommerce shopping behavior analysis

To keep track the performance of your sales and revenue and to make more data-driven decisions to improve your sales, you need to set up eCommerce tracking on your site.

With eCommerce tracking, you can easily find various key performance indicators of your online shop such as the number of transactions, revenue, conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment, etc.

You can read how to track eCommerce sales in Google Analytics.

We hope this beginner’s guide to Google Analytics helped you learn how to use Google Analytics to grow your website.

If you’ve not set up Google Analytics on your site yet, you may read how to set up Google Analytics in WordPress.

What are you waiting for? Get started with the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more Google Analytics tutorials.

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