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Analytics – What is it and Why you NEED it! – Part One - November 12, 2012

Do you currently have analytics on your website? If you are not sure then I want you to stop reading right now and ask yourself “Why don’t I know????.

A website is an investment in your company and yourself and like all investments we need to have measurable that can answer:

  • Where is my site weak?
  • Where is my site strong?
  • How can I improve?
  • Are visitors finding value in my site?
  • How are my visitors finding me?
  • Is my Social Media campaign successful?

Anyone that is business or in marketing understands the value of ROI (Return On Value), and the importance of measuring how successful our time and monetary investments are. There are some key steps you will need to take to understand how your site is being used, and also how you can ensure you site is meeting your marketing needs. Remember your site should be working for you 24/7 to sell/promote/inform/educate your visitors about you, your products, and your services.

You must make sure you have analytics in place on your site. If you are using a third party product get trained on it and understand what it can and can’t do for you.

I HIGHLY recommend Google Analytics. It is free, robust, and should meet most of your needs. It almost provides too much information for the casual user so don’t be alarmed if parts of it are confusing. Since I recommend and also use Google Analytics for my clients, as well as myself, I am going to cover that in this series. Let’s move forward as though we don’t have Google Analytics Installed and take the steps to get that done.

First you will need to sign up for an account. You can do that by going here: http://www.google.com/analytics/ and you will be prompted to either Sign In or Create an Account. Google has its own set of requirements and you will need to follow those. Currently you simply need to have a Gmail account, they are free to sign up for and you can do it right in this area.

Once that is done Sign in. You will then be forwarded onto your Account Home. This will list all of the sites you have created through Google Analytics and can be used to access your site(s) once we have Analytics created and installed. Since I have numerous accounts under my control I am going to give you the walkthrough you can use to create your new account.

  1. Click on the “Admin” button in the top right hand corner of your site.
  2. Click on the button that says “New Account
  3. You will be asked some questions, if you are stuck you can work with your developer to answer them but this list should work for you.
    1. You are tracking a Site
    2. Your Website Name can be your website or company name. This is important if you have more than one account so you can track the right accounts and access them easily in the future.
    3. Enter your Website url.
    4. Select your Industry Category.
    5. Make sure you time zone is correct.
    6. Enter in your Account Name and decide if you want to Share Data
      1. With other Google Products
      2. Anonymously with Google and others
  4. Click on the Blue button that says Get Tracking ID
  5. Read and then Accept the Terms of Service.
  6. The Page will re-load and you will see more options. Talk with your developer to ensure you know what you want to track but the default settings should work.
  7. You will see your Tracking Code, this is highly important. You should copy and paste this into an email and pass it onto your web developer to ensure they include it on your site. It needs to be on all of the pages you want to track so don’t include this in your Admin Area, for example, as this will track clicks and traffic on a restricted part of your site.

Fantastic, now we have created our Google Analytics account and tracking code! We have taken the first two steps to installing analytics on our site and pretty soon we will be able to see how are site is being used and what it means to us!

You can move to part two by clicking here.