Easy Google Analytics WordPress Setup – No Coding Necessary!
When you first launch a new website, setting up Google Analytics tracking and making sure the site is submitted to search engines can be an intimidating task if you’ve never done it before. With WordPress sites, this process is a breeze thanks to a few simple plugins you can install and configure in just a few clicks.
Why Do I Need Google Analytics?
It may not seem like it at first, but the ability to gather statistics about who visits your site is incredibly useful. In addition to helping you understand how many people are visiting your site on an average day, week, or month, you can also track:
- Location: The specific countries and states from which people are visiting
- Browser: Are they using Safari, IE, Firefox, etc.
- OS: Are they using OSX, Windows, etc.
- Behavior: Are people visiting only 1 page, or many
- Keywords: What Google searches are causing people to find your site
Going more in-depth than that could encompass an entirely separate blog post, but needless to say, it is better to have analytics tracking on your site than not. The information gathered can help you to better tailor your site’s content and also understand what elements of the site might need adjustment.
Setting Up Google Analytics in Wordpress
Getting setup up with Google Analytics in WordPress is a simple 3-step process with a fantastic plugin called Google Analyticator. This tool allows you to sync your site with your Google Analytics account without having to edit any HTML code at all!
Step 1: Install Google Analyticator
Navigate to the “Plugins → Add New” section of your WordPress site. You can either install the plugin by downloading from the link above and then uploading it to your site, or by simply searching for “Google Analyticator” using the Search feature.
Step 2: Add Website to Google Analytics
Once your plugin is installed, head over to you Google Analytics Account and click on the “Add New Account” button. You’ll need to fill out a few fields, like the website’s name and URL. When you’re done click on the “Get Tracking ID” button at the button and you’re set!
Step 3: Sync Analyticator With Google
Head back over to your WordPress admin area and navigate to the new Settings → Google Analytics area. Here you’ll be prompted to authenticate with Google. Simply click the authenticate link, click the “Allow” button in the new window, then copy/paste the authentication code into the text area and click Save. You’ll be taken to a new page with a big red banner that says “Google Authentication is Currently DISABLED”. Set the dropdown menu just below to say “Enabled”, click “Save” and you’re done!
See, no code involved whatsoever! The plugin will automatically add the necessary tracking code to each page for you. Additionally, you will be able to see basic analytics on your “Dashboard” page thanks to an included widget.
No-Hassle Sitemap Submissions
Now, you may be asking, “What is a sitemap?” Put simply, it is a document that tells search engines the structure of your website, the importance of each page, and how often the site is updated in a single page to help them crawl your site more effectively. Sitemaps are typically in an .XML file format. It would take a lot of effort and coding knowledge to write one of these files from scratch, so instead we can use another WordPress plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast.
This setup process is even simpler than the Google Analytics one:
Step 1: Install the plugin
Again, visit the Plugins → Add New section of your site. You can either download the plugin from the link above then upload it, or simply search for “WordPress SEO by Yoast” in the search box.
Step 2: Generate Your Sitemap
Once the plugin is installed, there will be a new “SEO” section in your left-hand sidebar. Navigate to the “SEO → XML Sitemaps” section. Check the box next to “Check this box to enable XML sitemap functionality.” Then, simply click on the big “Generate” button and you’re done. The plugin automatically tells all the major search engines about your sitemap as well!
Some things to note: this plugin has a huge array of SEO and Social features, so after you’ve generated your sitemap, definitely take the time to explore the other settings as you may find other useful elements.
Using Google Webmaster Tools to Keep Your Site Healthy
A website has health? Yes, it most certainly does! While everything may look perfect on a site’s exterior, there are variables that can cause problems, such as small errors hiding in the code or a site update accidentally interfering with a search engine’s ability to crawl the site. With Google Webmaster Tools you can easily manage your site’s “health”. It will notify you if a page suddenly becomes unreadable by search engines, or if something unfortunate happens and your site becomes infected with malware.
Much like Google Analytics, you’ll need to setup an account for your website and configure it, but it’s very simple:
Step 1: Create Webmaster Tools Account
Visit your Webmaster Tools Dashboard and click on the red “Add A Site” button. You’ll need to enter your website’s URL, then click Continue. Next you’ll need to verify that you actually own the website. Since you already have Google Analytics installed on your site, select the “Google Analytics” option, then click “Verify”.
Step 2: Submit Sitemap
Now that your site is verified, click on it in your Dashboard, then click on the “Sitemaps” button on the right-hand side. Next, click on the big red “Add/Test Sitemap” button. In the text area, enter “page-sitemap.xml” then hit “Submit Sitemap”. **If your website also has a blog, you’ll need to submit a second sitemap, simply click on the “Add/Test Sitemap” button again and this time enter “post-sitemap.xml” then “Submit Sitemap” and you’re set!
Take some time to explore the other areas of Webmaster Tools. You’ll find a lot of very useful analysis tools, such as the Rich Snippets Testing Tool we blogged about a few weeks ago in addition to statistics on how Google is crawling and viewing your site.
As you can see, getting your website setup for search engines and analytics tracking doesn’t require any coding experience! This process will not only help you gather useful information about your site’s visitors, but sets your website up for long-term successful by establishing the proper structure for search engines. You’ll be seeing your site in search results, in no time!