Google Analytics and You

By this point in time we should all have conceded to the fact that Google in almost any form is exceedingly helpful when trying to run an online business. Whether it’s helping us determine the trends we may want to use or helping us with our site’s search engine optimization, Google can do no wrong. In fact, it’s always right and to not take advantage of Google and its tools would be folly. There are countless tools that you can utilize, but this article is going to focus on Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

Metrics are very important factors when it comes to e-commerce. You definitely need to know the parameters of your business. What pages do consumers visit most? How long do they stay there? What do they search for when visiting your site? These are questions that Google Analytics can help answer. Just as the Google Search Console enables you to optimize your search engine visibility, Google Analytics, allows you to analyze your site's desirable metrics.

By showing you the play-by-play of what works for your site and what doesn't Google is, once again, giving you the keys to the back door. You can only stand to gain from using this tool. Knowing what works and what doesn't can literally make or break you.

Getting Started

First and foremost, you'll need to make sure that you have a Google account. Without a Google account, you won't be able to even create an Analytics account. Also, if you don't have a Google account, you've probably got bigger problems than not being able to access Analytics. So long as you have a Google account, you can head on over the the Google Analytics page where you can create an account for free.

Once you've hit the blue button to get started, you'll be brought to a whole new page that briefly outlines the sign up process. Fairly easy as 1, 2, 3.

After you've selected the gray "Sign up" button, you'll need to enter some basic information about your site (i.e. the site's name, URL, industry type) in order to continue. Once you've signed up and entered this information (step 1), you'll go on to the tracking info (step 2).

In order for Google Analytics to do its job, which is tracking information and metrics for you, it needs to be able to track your site. When you're given the tracking code (yours will be unique to your site), you need to enter the tracking code onto the header of each page you want to monitor. There are different ways to allow the tracking code to work. One is the aforementioned code entry. Other ways include the innovation of sites like shopify or tumblr. They have sections specifically designated for your code.

Once you have your code and have set it up, you're on to the third and final step: "Learn about your audience." There are a multitude of ways to do this within the Analytics console. Once way to accomplish this could be by allowing analytics to set up site search. This is handy because it will allow you to determine everything that is searched on your site.

You're also going to want to set up goals, or which pages you want to ensure are visited/navigated the most frequently. For many sites, the goal will be the "Thank You" landing page that is usually seen after purchases. This obviously does not have to be the only goal, but it's definitely among the most important. Who doesn't want to see how many people are landing on that page versus how many visitors one gets?

When setting up a goal, there are a few ways to do this. You can use a template, set up a custom goal, or smart goals. Chances are that you'll select "custom" as it will be more tailored to your liking. The templates are all default options and the smart goals option enables you to determine which visits are more likely to lead to a conversion. This has a lot to do with advertising and marketing.

It is possible to have multiple parameters established when setting up your goals, as well as having multiple goals in general. For example, let's say that you want to determine how long visitors linger on a certain page. You would select the "duration" option and edit the name. You would set this as "Goal 1." If, for example, you wanted to monitor the "Thank you" page, you would select "destination" and make that a separate goal.

The goal details section is where you would elaborate on the above selections. The different combinations for the goals are as endless as your own goals.


Now you're set up with Google Analytics! Initially, there won't be any, or much, information viewable. This can take some time to generate, but don't worry. So long as your SEO is on point, Google will be gathering information in no time. Once you're all set up, there are countless things to explore within the analytics tool itself, so jump in while you're waiting for the results. It may all seem a bit scary, but remember: no pain, no gain.

Tags: howto, ecommerce, seo, ecommerce tips, analytics