There is a good chance that you are using WordPress for your company’s website. If this is the case, you want to not only accurately track your site’s traffic, but also analyze it. This is where Google Analytics comes into play. Even if you are a small business or non-profit, don’t just assume that Analytics is only for larger firms. Your site might be only getting 50 to 100 visitors a day, but you also may have a very niche service that you offer to the public. It is not enough to merely get people to your site. More importantly, you want visitors to stay on your site, visit multiple pages and eventually take action, such as submitting a contact inquiry, purchasing a product, asking for a quote, filling out a survey and so on.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool to provide insight in regards to which pages are getting traffic on your site, how long each visitor stays on that page, where your visitors are coming from, the demographics of your site’s visitors and so on. There is a mountain of information about your website that can be deducted simply by spending at least a few minutes each day on analytics. Keep in mind that you do not have to be a specialist to benefit from the power of Google Analytics. Just being able to do a basic analysis, such as understanding the bounce rate will reveal valuable insights of your website. Once you have a better of understanding of how visitors on your site are behaving, it becomes easier to make pivotal improvements and adjustments.
Adding Google Analytics with a Plugin
I won’t go into much detail here mainly because I really do not like the idea of using a plugin to add Google Analytics. It is not that is won’t work probably. As far as receiving accurate numbers in your analytics report, it makes no difference whether you use a plugin or do it manually. I am against it because I strongly recommend keeping the number of plugins on your site to minimum. Five is a great number and really no more than eight or nine plugins. We all know that plugins are great and there is a plugin for just about everything, but too many will slow down your site and could cause it to malfunction as the code of one plugin may may not play nicely with your theme or another plugin. My advice is to reserve your plugin usage for functions that you simply cannot do or just don’t have the time for, such as building a contact form or a plugin to manage job listings. Adding Google Analytics without a plugin really is not that hard.
In the case that you do not know how to access your site via ftp or through your CPanel, then you will have to use a plugin to add Google Analytics. This is still better than simply not having it configured. Assuming you already have a Google Analytics account set up, I would recommend the MonsterInsights plugin. This is probably the most downloaded plugin for adding Google Analytics and it makes it fairly easy to set up. Again, I am only in favor of adding plugins unless it is absolutely necessary, but if you need to install one for analytics, I would go with MonsterInsights.
Adding Google Analytics manually
If you know how to use FTP or can access the files of your site via CPanel, then you can add analytics to your site manually. It is fairly easy and straightforward. The example below is from CPanel, but you could also open the
header.php file in your code editor and FTP it after you’ve added the tracking script. Again, I am assuming that you already have a Google Analytics account set up. If so, go into the admin section and look for tracking info, which should be located under property settings. Click on that and copy and paste the tracking script.
It is important to note that you do not have to add the Google Analytics tracking code to every page in WordPress. If you had a static HTML site, this would be the case, but since WordPress entails the looping together of template files, you only need to add it to the
header.php file. Go into your Cpanel and open your public_html folder. Then click on wp-content, followed by themes and open your
header.php file. Copy and paste the tracking script there anywhere within the parameters of the ‘head’ tags and hit save.
You can check that the code was probably implemented by looking at the source code in your browser. You might have to wait a few minutes, but it shouldn’t be long before you begin to see traffic displaying in your Google Analytics account. Remember that there are heaps of Youtube videos as well as blog posts on how to use Google Analytics. The best thing to do is play around with it for a while and get a feel for all of the available option. Also remember to filter out your own IP address. If not, your web traffic will be inaccurate since it will be displaying when you or a member of your organization is on the site.