Your heart races as you sit there, staring at your computer with sweaty palms and bated breath. You are painfully aware that your website could benefit from the powerful, FREE, digital marketing tool that is Google Analytics, however, the dread of setting it up seems daunting and is going to once again keep you from taking your site to the next level.
Well, fear not! We here at Omnifonic understand all the apprehensions that come with analytics induced anxiety which is why we have come up with an easy step-by-step guide to setting up Google Analytics like a pro! So take a deep breath, let us help you alleviate your worries, and soon you will be monitoring and analyzing your website’s traffic in no time!
Before we take a swan dive into the tutorial, we want to assure you that we aren’t handing out some untested directions that we regurgitated off of a Google search. This is the same process that we use for our clients here at Omnifonic. It usually gets more complicated from here, but this is the foundation that we rely on. Feel a little better knowing that you are in some safe hands? Of course you do!
Now, first thing is first: you’re going to need a Google Account if you don’t have one already. So go ahead and get that account set up if you need to. We can wait.
Alright, now that you have a Google Account, you’re going to create a Google Analytics account by simply signing up on the Google Analytics page.
Once you’ve logged in, click Sign Up to set up your NEW ACCOUNT. Now, just follow these short, simple steps as directed:
- WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRACK: Select “Website”
- ACCOUNT NAME: this will be your business name (i.e. Omnifonic)
- WEBSITE NAME: this will be the name of your website (i.e. Omnifonic.com)
- WEBSITE URL: this will be your actual website address (i.e. www.omnifonic.com) BE SURE TO SELECT “HTTP://“ or HTTPS:// whatever is appropriate
- INDUSTRY CATEGORY: Select the MOST appropriate category for your business.
- REPORTING TIME ZONE: Select the Country and the Time Zone where your business is located
WOOHOO! You have now set up your Google Analytics account and have been gifted with a highly important TRACKING ID NUMBER (the set of numbers that look like UA-000000-1) and TRACKING CODE (the block of code under Website Tracking that begins with <script> and ends with </script>)
These codes are unique to your website and should be added to the heading of every page on your site. We recommend setting up Google Tag Manager in order to add these codes to your website, which you should go ahead and do right now.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Let’s shed off some more self-doubt, and move on to the next step!
It is time to ensure that we have set up Google Analytics properly, and for what it’s worth, I am absolutely CERTAIN you set it up swimmingly!
- On your Google Analytics dashboard, click REAL-TIME on the left-hand menu.
- In the drop-down, click OVERVIEW
- Now, open up another tab (Command + T for you Mac users; Ctrl + T for PC users) enter the URL for your website and go to the homepage.
- Head back to your Google Analytics dashboard which will still be on the real-time page.
- Wait a minute…
If all went well, you should now see at least one visitor (this would be you) on your page.
SUCCESS! Look how far you’ve come! You’re on your way to running analytics like a pro! Take a victory lap, and when you get back, let’s set up some filters, and views and refine this mutha. Onward, my digital marketing friends!
Setting up Google Analytics was a breeze, eh? Well, why stop there? There are some extra steps you should take to ensure your account is stellar and right now we are going to focus on creating “views” in Analytics so that you can get more accurate data.
Setting up a filtered view in Analytics will ensure that you are getting that prized accurate data every good digital marketing pro strives for.
A filtered view will remove any internal traffic (you and your company’s employees) and any spam traffic (the fake visitors, bots and other BS traffic that will skew information and muck up your site’s performance…so it’s obvious now why we set one up, huh? Yup.)
Now, there should ALWAYS be at least two views: your filtered view (what we are setting up now) and a regular view (the initial view) that is pristine and untouched. Info that is going to be captured will start when the filter is activated and you won’t be able to retroactively add or remove the filters at a later time.
Now, let’s go ahead and get the filters fired up!
- Head over to the ADMIN section in you Google Analytics Account (this will be the little Wheel/Gear looking icon on the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu…this one)
2. Once you click the ADMIN icon, it will open up a page for you that looks like this.
- Click on the blue CREATE VIEW button over in the top right.
- Under REPORTING VIEW NAME, name your view (we usually will just name it “Filtered View” followed with the date that the view was set up.)
- Select your business’ Time Zone
- Click CREATE VIEW
Congrats! You’ve just set up a filtered view! Now let’s….
The easiest way to do this is as follows:
- From the ADMIN menu, under the CREATE VIEW column, click on FILTERS
2. Click +ADD FILTER
- Choose CREATE NEW FILTER
- Under FILTER NAME enter something like “Office IP ADDRESS” or “My Home IP ADDRESS” (whichever location of the IP address you will be excluding)
- Under FILTERED TYPE choose CUSTOM.
- Make sure the EXCLUDE button is selected.
- Under the FILTERED FIELD dropdown, select IP ADDRESS
- Enter your IP ADDRESS in the field (you can get this info by Googling “My IP Address”)
- Click SAVE
This one will be similar in setup to the last step we just did.
- From the ADMIN menu, under the CREATE VIEW column, click on FILTER again.
- Click +ADD FILTER
- Choose CREATE NEW FILTER
- Name this filter something along the lines of “Domain Spam Killer”
- Under FILTERED TYPE choose CUSTOM
- Now make sure the INCLUDE button is selected this time
- Under the FILTERED FIELD dropdown select HOSTNAME
- Enter your HOSTNAME (this will be your DOMAIN NAME. Ours, for example, is omnifonic.com)
- Click SAVE
There is a second step to this one, and that is making sure that the bot and spider filter is turned on. Then it is all smooth sailing afterward!
- Okaaaaay, once again, back to the ADMIN menu, under the CREATE VIEW column, but this time you’re going to click VIEW SETTINGS.
- Just down a bit, there will be a button under BOT FILTERING that reads EXCLUDE ALL HITS FROM KNOWN BOTS AND SPIDERS. Click that.
- Click Save
NeilPatel has some great tips on filtering out referral spam as well here.
And though it’s ability to complete the task has been spotty for a long time now, when it works, the adwords robot referral spam filter is pretty sweet.
Now, when you are looking at your reports for data, your freshly minted Google Analytics account won’t be showing the full URL by default. Having that full URL is will help you figure out if that site visit came in to yourdomain.com vs. blog.yourdomain.com .
In order to get around this default behavior, you will need to set a new filter. Adding this filter is rather painless, but you need to make sure you enter the information listed below correctly.
- From the ADMIN screen you are going to go to FILTERS then select +ADD FILTER (this part is becoming second nature to you now, huh?)
- Under FILTER NAME, put in something simple like “Full URL Filter”
- Under FILTER TYPE select CUSTOM then click ADVANCED
- For FIELD A, select HOSTNAME from the dropdown and put (.*) in the text field
- For FIELD B, select REQUEST URL from the dropdown and put (.*) in the text field
- For OUTPUT TO, select REQUEST URL from the dropdown and put $A1$B1 in the text field
- Your setup should look exactly like this now:
8. Click Save
Of course, showing full URLs is a must in any report, but there is still a chance we could get some inaccurate data as some platforms will show that a URL will have a forward slash (one of these “/” guys) at the end of the URL, where others do not.
This confuses poor Google into thinking that there are TWO different URLs even when they are the same one. ARRGGHHH! So in order to remedy this, you will need to create a new filter (I know, I know…another filter) to add trailing slashes.
Once again, just follow these steps accordingly and everything will be coming up aces!
- From ADMIN, to FILTERS, select +ADD FILTER
- Under FILTER NAME, title this one something along the lines of “Add Trailing Slash to All URLs”
- Select CUSTOM, then click ADVANCED
- For FIELD A select REQUEST URL from the dropdown menu
- In this text field you will need to enter the following regex text as-is: ^(/[a-z0–9/_\-]*[^/])$
- For FIELD B leave it empty and make no changes
- For OUTPUT TO select REQUEST URL from the dropdown menu, then enter $A1/ in the text field.
- It will look like this when entered correctly.
- Click SAVE
WHEW! And just like that, your filters have been set!
We are almost there! The last step of this entire journey is to get your Google Search Console up so that you can link it to your Google Analytics view. If you’re feeling a little fatigued, take a stretch, think of calm blue oceans, look at a pic of a cute puppy, and once you’ve centered yourself, let’s go ahead and head on over to Google Webmasters Tool because we are going to…
- Sign-in to Google Webmaster Tool with your Google username and password.
- Under ADD PROPERTY, select WEBSITE from the dropdown menu.
- Enter your FULL WEBSITE URL (and be sure to note whether or not your website uses www. or not, and enter it correctly in this field) then click ADD
- On the new page, click on the ALTERNATE METHODS tab
- Select the GOOGLE TAG MANAGER button then click VERIFY
- If all went well (it no doubt did) your site will be verified with Google Search Console.
Follow these steps now, and you will be successfully connected:
- Let’s head back over to Google Analytics.
- Click the BAD REFERRERS AND KNOWN BOTS REMOVED view for your website. This is going to take you to your Analytics dashboard.
- On the left side you will see ACQUISITIONS. Go ahead and click that.
- Click SEARCH CONSOLE under the ACQUISITIONS tab.
- Now click QUERIES under SEARCH CONSOLE
- Click SETUP SEARCH CONSOLE DATA SHARING in the next window.
- On the next page it directs you to, scroll to the bottom and click ADJUST SEARCH CONSOLE
- Click EDIT under the SEARCH CONSOLE heading.
- Select your Search Console site and then click SAVE.
WE ARE ALL SET!
Wow! Look at you! You’ve come a long, long way from when we first started! Now we strongly recommend following up all of this by setting up a Google Search Console account so that you will get the maximum benefits, but other than that you have now successfully set up your Google Analytics and you are a Noob no more! Per Aspera ad Astra!