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The success of any website depends on reaching the right people and giving them the content that they’re looking for. But, to do that you need to know some essential information about who visits your site and what they do there. Using Google Analytics with WordPress can help. To assist you in making smart marketing decisions that further your site’s goals, this free tool from Google collects detailed data about your website’s traffic and visitor behavior – and it’s easy to set up and use with our WordPress hosting.

Why Your Site Needs Analytics

Whether you’re making a WordPress site for a personal blog, an e-commerce site for your small business, or handling the complex website of a large corporation, the goal is to bring in traffic. You can also use your site to share your content, and engage visitors who become regular readers, customers, and clients. Reaching those goals means optimizing all the elements of your site with your target audience in mind. Marketing strategies, like building an email list, making your site friendly for search engines and mobile-responsive can help, but without tracking data, it can be difficult to know which of your tactics are working.

To gain the kind of insights into visitor behavior that can shape the direction of a personal or business website, WordPress users can choose from a variety of free and paid analytics plugins and tools such as Kissmetrics and SE Ranking that measure various aspects of a site’s performance. But Google Analytics leads the pack, with completely free, comprehensive and customizable reporting on [all aspects of your site’s performance].

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a website analytics tool from Google, the force behind the world’s most widely used search engine and master arbiter of website rankings. Once you’ve activated a Google Analytics account and added its tracking code to the pages of your website, Google Analytics can capture data from every visitor to your site, according to the parameters you establish.

What Google Analytics Tracks

Who visits the site

Google Analytics can collect very detailed information about website visitors, such as their location, language, the browser they use, if they came to your website from organic search or a paid advertisement, and even whether their computer supports applications like Adobe’s Flash player.

The behavior of visitors on the site

Google Analytics can track data about which pages a visitor accesses, how long they stay on the site, and what links they click. Analytics also allows site owners to see their site’s “bounce rate” – the percentage of first-time visitors who leave the site and never return.

How visitors interact with the site’s content

Google Analytics can also reveal whether visitors respond to a given call to action with the desired response, such as clicking a button or leaving an email address.

Times when people are visiting

Google Analytics reveals the site’s hottest hours – the times and time zones when most people are on the site. This can help users to decide when to publish new content or schedule posts to reach peak traffic in other time zones.

Traffic sources

Google Analytics can also show all sources of a site’s traffic, such as search engines, referral links from other sites, and direct links. This can provide key insights for site owners who need to make decisions about where to advertise, which social sites to use for boosting brand awareness, and which influencers to engage with.

Along with these standard metrics, Google Analytics also allows users to add other kinds of tracking, such as in-page analytics for e-commerce or specific marketing campaigns. Users can [set the analytics] they want to track in the Google Analytics account settings.

Setting up Google Analytics for any WordPress site is fast and free, with options for WordPress users of any skill level.

How to Set Up Google Analytics With WordPress

Getting started with Google Analytics for WordPress requires a Gmail account, which is free. If you don’t already use Gmail, sign up for an account before you begin setting up analytics. Then, select analytics from your account’s display of available Google services.

To set up analytics tracking for the website of your choice, you’ll need to select “Website” on the setup screen and then enter its name and URL under “Property.” This tells Google Analytics what site to track. Then, click the “Get Tracking ID” button. Google will generate a unique tracking code that you can add to every website page that you want to track. Copy this code to add it to your site. Once installed, this tracking ID allows Google to search these pages for the relevant data.

Adding the Tracking ID to Your Website

Whether you are a beginner with no experience working with site files, or an experienced user who is comfortable with manipulating code, there’s a method for adding the Google Analytics tracking code to any WordPress website.

Use a Plugin

For new users or anyone who simply craves convenience, a Google Analytics plugin such as Google Analytics+ and MonsterInsights have been developed to support Google Analytics. Available from the WordPress plugin directory, as well as many third-party developers, these must-have WordPress plugins, handle tasks like setting the tracking ID and customizing your settings directly from the plugin itself.

To install Google Analytics via a plugin, select and install the Google Analytics WordPress plugin of your choice on your site and connect with your Google Analytics account to complete the setup. Paste your tracking ID into the plugin and allow a few hours for Google to begin tracking. Analytics for all specified pages will be reported on your Google Analytics dashboard.

Set the Tracking ID Manually

If you are comfortable working with code and your site’s files, you can also copy your tracking ID and paste it directly into the site’s “functions.php” file in the site’s “wp-content” folder. Once the tracking ID is installed there, it’s added to every page, so that Google can collect data from the entire website.

After your tracking ID becomes active, all data collected from your site is viewable from the dashboard of your Google Analytics account. Simply select the tabs for the type of data you’re interested in, or set additional metrics from the Advanced options.  

Whether you’re hoping to build a readership for your blog, draw customers to your online store, or build brand awareness around the globe, installing analytics is a key marketing strategy. Free, versatile, and endlessly scalable, Google Analytics with WordPress works to deliver all the stats that matter for your site.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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  1. Thanks for sharing basic information of using Google analytics. However, Can you share some advanced tips like Setting up goals?
    Goal for to check bounce rate or help bloggers to monitor bounce rate measures to reduce it?

  2. Kristen Wayne Reply

    Hi ,Desiree Johnson
    Thanks for sharing such an informative article about the Google Analytics. I am pleased to read it.

    • Desiree Johnson, Content Specialist Reply

      Greetings Kirsten,
      I am happy to hear you found it helpful, best wishes in your analytics journey!

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