Google Analytics can be very overwhelming. There is a myriad of reports you can run and customize. It can get to the point where you almost don’t know what you are looking at anymore. However, used properly it can really help you to target your audience and ensure that your marketing time and dollars are being spent in the right places.
So if you already have Google Analytics installed on your site you can skip this first step, which is getting it all set up to start tracking your website traffic.
First, we are going to install the Yoast PlugIn from within your website dashboard you are going to go to plug-in and then install the new plugin.
Search for Yoast and install the Google Analytics plugin. The have another plugin for SEO that is also great, but that is a different monster altogether.
Next you will need to log into Google Analytics and add your website.
You will want to select Admin and then Accounts.
Enter all of your website information. Then click on the Get Code Button.
Now you are going to want to go back into the backend of your website and activate the Yoast Plugin. Once activated go to your dashboard and the Analytics icon should be right under the dashboard on the left sidebar. Click on setting and you will be prompted to set up your analytics tracking code. If you don’t have a Gmail account you may be prompted to set up the code manually. You can get the full instructions here in case you get stuck: Yoast Install Guide.
So at this point it isn’t going to show you much for data. It needs time to track your traffic. You will see some data in the first week, but I would recommend waiting a week before really trying to decipher what you are looking at.
The Yoast plugin will give you some very basic data and traffic results, but it is within Google Analytics that you will be able to really dissect your traffic sources.
Now let me take a step back for a moment. I recommend using Yoast because it is the quick easy and free. You can do it manually but, from my experience, it is difficult and time-consuming.
Ok moving on.
So now that you have Google Analytics install and you have waited a week or so you can start to take a look at the data. Now keep in mind that it is best if you keep an eye on the data for several weeks before making any decisions in regards to your marketing.
Ok so you can look at a ton of data within Google Analytics, but the three biggest ones that I look at are under Acquisition. Primarily I look at All Traffic, Adwords, and Social.
The image below shows a basic overview of how much traffic a website is getting.
If you want to take a look at some basic demographics you can do that simply by pulling up the demographics information on the left sidebar.
Adwords accounts are a whole nother monster. You will have to check into A/B testing and all that jazz, but you can compare how your AdWords campaigns are performing against other traffic that comes to your site.
So I think that is as simple as I can make it.