How Google Analytics Can Help you Understand Your Online Customers (Part 1)

Part 1: Introduction and Installation

Your website is your virtual storefront. It's how people get to know your company and interact with your business from the comfort of their home or office. Unlike a physical location, you do not have direct contact with all of your customers. How do you know how many people visited? Did their visit lead to business for you? How did they find you? That's where Google Analytics comes in. Google Analytics allows you to review information about the visitors to your site, such as the amount of visits to your site, where these visitors are from and what they searched for that led them to your site. If they are a returning customer, and that is just the tip of the analytical iceberg. But before you can access all this glorious data, you need to install Google Analytics on your website.

Setting up your Google Analytics Account

Signup is easy, begin at www.google.com/analytics. From the main page, click "Create Account". This will run you through the registration process. After you've named your account and added your website, you will be assigned a Tracking ID (UA-XXXXXXXX-X) and the tracking code that needs to be installed on your site will be displayed at the bottom of the page.

Example of Google Analytics Code

In order to make it an effective tool, this code needs to be installed on every page of your site in the header section, immediately before the closing header (</head>) tag. After the tracking code is successfully installed on your site, you are ready to begin using Google Analytics! Logging in to your Google Analytics account will now take you to your reporting dashboard (shown below).

Example of the Google Analytics Dashboard

Don't be alarmed that there is no information on the screen. This screen lacks any data due to the simple fact that Google Analytics cannot track data from before the code was installed. When you check back on subsequent dates, this dashboard and the rest of Google Analytics will be full of data just waiting for you to analyze! But this is just the first step in understanding how your website is performing. Keep an eye out for the next post in this series: Setting up Goals and Funnels .

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