It’s not difficult to install Google Analytics on your WordPress blog but it can FEEL overwhelming. When I was creating a lesson for my Kick Your Blog in the Butt year-long course, one of the lessons required you to look at some data in Google Analytics and as I was sharing this with a friend, they told me they didn’t HAVE Google Analytics on their blog yet. Because it seemed really hard to do. YIKES!
I’m going to help you get set up.
First you’ll want to go to Google Analytics Standard website and sign in. If you have a gmail account already use that. If you don’t, you’ll need to create a gmail account.
Once you get all signed up and are in Google Analytics you’ll want to make your way to the Settings > Admin area. I have several properties linked to this Google Analytics profile but you can see in this dropdown menu how I can “Create a New Property”. That’s where you’ll put your website.
Now you’ll come to the screen where you will put your new website’s information. In this case I’m making a site for my local homeschool group so I put “Transformers Homeschool” as the site name (description that appears in the list) and then put the website URL in the next area. Choose the general category of the type of site (in this case Education) and you’re good!
Once you click that “Get Tracking ID” blue button the crazy weird tech stuff happens. You come to the property’s tracking page with all the overwhelming scripty-ness.
Now you can handle this a few ways.
1. Install it Directly into WordPress.
With some themes this is the way you might have to go if you’re maxed out on plugins and your theme doesn’t have a script section to make it easy (See #3), you can install it directly. I do not recommend this method if other methods are available. Having said that, here’s what you do.
Click on Appearance > Editor and then select Header (header.php).
Add the code right after the <head> tag and then update the file. TADA! You will see Google Analytics information appear in the next 24 hours or so.
2. Use a Nifty GA Plugin
Sometimes plugins are well worth using. This is one of those occasions when, if you need more than the very basics, a plugin can save you a ton of time and energy. If you just need to install Google Analytics and don’t need a ton of additional features, you might consider this Google Analytics plugin that simply puts the right code in the right place for you so you don’t have to edit the code of your site. It won’t slow your site down much at all.
If you want a more robust Google Analytics plugin that has more features, try the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin. I use this on Untrained Housewife, for example, so that I can track analytics by the author variable (to see total page views by author), by category variable, and by year variable. This is really helpful for me with the large collaborative site that has multiple users and has been around for a long time. You may or may not need these features.
3. Theme Settings
This is my preferred way to install Google Analytics since it doesn’t require an additional plugin or editing the theme files directly. Some premium themes make it super simple for you to add these custom scripts. This is one of the things I love about Genesis themes because I can go directly to the theme’s settings area. In this case Genesis > Theme Settings. There’s a section for scripts and you can add Header Scripts or Footer Scripts as needed.
This is super easy because you just paste the code in the “Header Scripts” section and then save it. Boom done. That’s my favorite way but as I said it’s usually the premium themes that offer this feature compared to the free themes.
And that’s it! Once you’ve installed the code Google will be able to track traffic and activity on your website. And that information will begin to appear very soon.