What Is Google Analytics?
This detailed guide on How To Add Google Analytics To WordPress Website will explain the several different ways to install the software on your WordPress website.
Google analytics is a website visitor tracking software suite which can be installed onto websites in many different ways. It allows webmasters to track visitor interaction and behaviour data and use this to help improve website performance.
Google analytics allows webmasters to track and store data across hundreds of different variables including:
- Number of visitors
- Session duration
- Bounce rate
- Location of visitor
- Browser and OS of visiting device
- Flow path of each visitor
- Source of traffic
- Page views
- Much much more
Why Should I Use Google Analytics?
There are several different website tracking software suites out there, but Google analytics is by far the most popular and most used across the web. This is because it is free to use, easy to setup and well trusted because it comes directly from Google.
Google analytics is the most powerful analytics platform that we at Red Box Website Design have used, and we have installed the platform on all our client websites since we launched.
Google analytics is very accurate in what it records and offers a very easy to use graphical interface which features simple graphs, charts and tables to display the data.
How To Add Google Analytics To Your WordPress Website – 2 Different Methods
There are several different methods to install Google analytics to your WordPress website so we will explain each one below.
If you want to jump to the most relevant method then simply click the link below to bounce to the relevant section, or read the whole article so you can install Google analytics like a boss!
- With the MonsterInsights WordPress plugin
- Without a plugin – add the Analytics code to your site
How To Create A Google Analytics Account
You can not add the analytics code to your website without a Google analytics account – makes sense really as you need to login to view the data.
So head on over to https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/ and click the blue “start for free” button if you do not already have an account.
If you do have an account then click on the “sign in to analytics” link.
In order to have a Google analytics account you must have a gmail.com email address – if you do not have this then you will need to register for one. We recommend having something like “firstname.lastname@example.org” as you can create this for free and then it is separate than any other email accounts you may have.
Add A New Website To Google Analytics
Once you have logged in to your account you will see a screen similar to the screen below. From here you can add your first analytics account.
Click the blue “create account” button and on the next screen give your account a name, enter the website address, choose your business sector, pick your time zone and agree to the analytics account terms.
Once you have done this it will take you to a new screen which will show your new Google Analytics tracking code, along with your tracking ID.
You do not need these for now, we will come back to them. These codes are used to identify your website and are unique to your site.
1. Add Google Analytics Code To WordPress Website Via Plugin
Ok now we are getting into the heart of what this tutorial article is all about, thanks for staying with us.
There are many ways to add the analytics tracking code to your WordPress website but the best way we can recommend is via the MonsterInsights Plugin.
To add this to your website follow these steps:
- Login to your WordPress dashboard
- Go to plugins from sidebar menu
- Click the “Add New” button at top of the screen
- Enter “Monsterinsights” in the search box to the right hand side of the screen
- When you see the results click the “install now” button
- Once it has installed then click on the blue “activate” button
- Your plugin is now installed
Once the plugin has been installed it is time to set it up. You can do this by clicking on the new “Insights” link in the WordPress sidebar menu – this is usually right at the bottom of the navigation list.
Or you can navigate back to the main plugins screen, find the MonsterInsights plugin from the list and click the blue “Settings” link.
Once you have clicked either option you will be brought to the main MonsterInsights settings screen. From here you need to link your Google analytics account to the website.
Click on the blue “Authenticate with your Google account” button. Once you press this it will take you to a Google account login screen.
Choose your Google account and continue with the login process.
When this screen appears, click the blue “Allow” button. This will allow the MonsterInsights plugin to talk to your Google analytics account and sync the data between each other. Without this connection the plugin can not get the tracking ID or retrieve the visitor data, so make sure you click allow – it is perfectly safe to do so.
After you have allowed the connection you will see this screen. From here you can select which Google analytics profile you want to use on your website.
You may have lots of accounts to chose from it you run many websites, or you may only have 1 account. Either way you can search through your analytics account and choose the correct one.
Once you have selected the right account, click the green “Complete Authentication” button to complete the process.
Perfect you have now installed Google analytics on to your website! Take a bow.
Extra MonsterInsights Settings
With the free version of the MonsterInsights plugin there are not many other settings to apply, however if you do want to adjust some options then these are our recommendations.
Disable reports? – If you do not want to see the Google analytics graphs and charts within the backend of WordPress then you can tick this box and the plugin will not create any reports. The reports are pretty basic so we would recommend ticking this box and then login to Google analytics dashboard to see the more detailed level of reporting. But if you find this too confusing or complicated then you can leave this unticked and view the basic reports.
Automatic updates? – Enabling automatic updates may sound good as it saves you time and makes sure the plugin is always up-to-date, however this can cause problems. Updating WordPress plugins is always a risky job as you never know if there is going to be a compatibility error which could break your site. Generally the MonsterInsights plugin is pretty solid and shouldn’t break your site but we would recommend choosing the “None” option and doing any updates manually yourself.
Allow usage tracking? – This is to allow the plugin developers access to error logs and bug reports which can help with future development of the plugin. However if you are little worried about giving 3rd party developers information about your website and whatever else they maybe tracking you can leave this unticked. We would always NOT allow usage tracking.
Upgrade To MonsterInsights Pro
As with a lot of WordPress plugins there is a free version which does the basic stuff you need it to do, and then there is a premium version which is all bells and whistles. MonsterInsights is no different, and it too offers a premium version.
You can view the premium version here -> https://www.monsterinsights.com/lite/.
Now there is a lot of differences between the free and premium versions as you can see from the comparison chart above. However the main benefit of having the premium versions are:
- Improved reports and widgets within WordPress dashboard
- Priority support
- Improved e-commerce tracking
- Form conversion tracking
- Google AMP installation
- Facebook instant article tracking
- Google optimise integration
The only downside to the premium MonsterInsights version is that it is quiet expensive, as you can see from the price chart below.
In order to get the full package of every add-on you need to go for the “Pro” account. This account gives you everything the plugin has to offer and also gives you 50 site licenses, so you can use it on multiple sites at once.
You can compare packages here -> https://www.monsterinsights.com/lite-pricing/
2. Add Google Analytics To WordPress Website Without A Plugin
Adding Google analytics to a WordPress website without a plugin is very easy – if you know what you are doing. So this installation method should only be used if you are comfortable editing the code of your website. If you are not then do not attempt this as you may break your website.
The following guide presumes you have already done the above steps in relation to creating an analytics account and setting up your first website property. If not then jump back to the top of the page and complete these steps first.
But if you are knowledgable about basic html then this should be a breeze, so let’s get to it.
Grab Your Google Analytics Tracking Code
Login to your analytics account via this link -> https://analytics.google.com/ and you will land on your main dashboard.
Navigate to the website you are working on by clicking on the website name the top left hand corner of the screen. If you have more than 1 website in your account you will be able to search through them to get to the correct property.
Once you are viewing the correct website property click on the “admin” link in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
This opens up a screen with a lot of options on it and it can be quiet confusing. We won’t go into the details of how best to setup and customise your Google analytics account in this blog, but there are a lot of powerful options you can use to get better data and results.
We are looking for the tracking info section on this page as this is where the installation code is located, so find this link and click on it, and then from the drop down links select “tracking code”again.
Login To Your Website Dashboard
Now there are many ways to add this code to your website:
- Editing your theme file locally and pushing to server via FTP
- Editing your theme file via backend of WordPress dashboard
- Editing your theme file locally and pushing to git repo and pulling down on server
- Inserting the code via an option within your WordPress theme
We are not going to run through them all, we are instead going to show you the easy option which is adding the code via the backend of WordPress through the code editor.
So once you are inside your website dashboard navigate to the “Appearance” menu tab from the sidebar, and then click on the “Editor” link.
Here you will be taken to a code editor within WordPress – it may bring up a warning saying “Are you sure you want to edit these files?” – you can say yes.
Add The Google Analytics Tracking Code To Website Files
Now if you created the WordPress theme or you know what you are doing in relation to setting up a child theme, then you can carry on with the the tutorial. If you did not create the them and do not know how to create a child theme or edit the files we would suggest stopping here and installing the MonsterInsights plugin we mention above…
Navigate to your header.php file (or if you have named it something different for some reason navigate here instead) and open this file in the WordPress editor.
Find the piece of code that looks like this </head> and then paste the Google analytics tracking code in BEFORE this code and click the blue “update file” button to save the changes.
You have now installed Google analytics on your WordPress website without using a plugin! Congratulations. Wow that was easy!
Final Wrap Up
So there you have it a detailed guide as to how to add Google analytics to WordPress website.
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Article written by Rob Mackley -
Small Business Web Expert, Founder of Red Box Web Design and creator of the pay monthly website package RED BOX ALL-IN™
If you would like a chat to see if one of our pay monthly websites can help you, please drop me an email email@example.com to arrange a call.