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Google Analytics – a Starter Guide

If you have gone to the trouble of creating a blog and publish stuff, at some point you will probably wonder if anybody is actually reading your posts. If you are looking for more followers your next immediate questions will be:

“Who, what and why are they watching?”

The base install of wordpress will not tell you this, but fortunately there are several reporting tools available. I chose Google Analytics because it’s greatly recommended, very comprehensive and last but not least – it’s free. 

This guide will help you install Google Analytics on your wordpress.org powered site.

First things first, you will need a Google account. If you don’t allready have one go to www.google.com and create one.

Next go to www.google.com/analytics and choose “create account”.

You will be met with the following page

 

Smash the sign up button, this will bring you to the page depicted below, the first part is fairly self explanatory and all has to do with your site. Just fill in the required fields (click images for full version).

google analytics page 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second part deals with data sharing with Google for various purposes (click to enlarge).

google analytics page 3

 

 

 

 

 

Reading through the options none of them struck me as particularly problematic for our purposes, so in the spirit of giving back (Google is providing the service free of charge), we allowed Google full access to our analytics data. If the illusion of privacy is important to you, you can go ahead and uncheck the options you find too invasive. However rest assured that whenever you interact with the internet, somewhere, somehow, someone is watching.

Paranoia aside, once you press the “get your tracking id” button you will get a unique google tracking id that must be inserted in the html code of the pages you want to track. Exactly how this is done will vary depending on your webpage setup, and for that reason I will not delve further into specifics regarding tracking id implementation on different setups. For wordpress.org sites you can install a plugin that automatically inserts the tracking id in every post and page you create. There are several to choose from but we are using a plugin called: “Google Analytics” by Kevin Sylvestre. Once you have Analytics installed on your site you can log into your Analytics account and start looking at all the data from your site. How you might use all this data is a topic for a later post.

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