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Quick & Easy Google Analytics for WordPress

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A Quick Guide To Google Analytics for WordPress

Launching a new blog can be tough especially since it’s all, well, new. A key part of making progress after you launch is being able to track and monitor your progress using measurable factors like traffic and audience metrics.

Surely you’ve heard the age old saying “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” This is true throughout life and in many circumstances, but it especially applies to WordPress traffic. You need to keep track of your stats, see what you’re doing right (or wrong) your website traffic and then make adjustments to boost traffic.

Why You Should Track Your Website Statistics

Analytics are a great way to see who is visiting your site, when they visit during the day (or night) and where in the world they come from. This is an important resource so you can really optimize your content by creating relevant and targeted articles for your audience to be released at the absolute best time.

Another important reason to use analytics is to see what your visitors are doing on your site and how your content is performing. Analytics make it possible for you to see which articles are getting the most views, how long your readers are staying on them, if/what links they are clicking and the related bounce rate (visitors who exit without reading). This are important tools so you can create better content that your audience will respond to.

Why Use Google Analytics?

One of the most common way to measure and keep tabs on traffic is with Google Analytics. Which makes sense – Google is the #1 search engine so naturally they have the ultimate tool to help users optimize their SEO methods. It’s also a completely free web analytics service you can use to track and interpret your website’s traffic. With this tool, you’ll be able to discover facts and trends related to your website that can help you better understand its performance.

There are a number of benefits to using Google Analytics, although it’s primarily a key tool for ascertaining how visitors use your site. As such you can better analyze your content’s performance, and also notice trends such as a high bounce rate.

What You Can Do with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a one stop shop for all things traffic and audience related. With this tool you can collect data on your traffic sources, devices, events, and more. Plus there are many reporting tools to help you view the data in an easy to understand format such as graphs, percentages, maps and timelines. This way you can see at a glance which posts are performing, where the majority of your readers are from or even how a customer goes from your homepage to a completed purchase.

There are tons of great features and reports, too many to go over right now. But you can learn more about Google Analytics by visiting their features page, and then dig into how to use them via their free Analytics Academy online courses.

How to Sign Up for Google Analytics?

Google Analytics SIgnup

Signing up for Google Analytics is quick, easy and free. You’ll just need a few things before you can signup:

  1. A free Google account to use for your analytics
  2. A Google Analytics plugin OR access to your WordPress website via FTP OR a compatible theme (like Total)

The first step is to click on the button to Sign Up. Make sure the new account option for “website” is selected. Then add an account name, website name, URL and your industry/timezone info. Then click on the blue button to get your tracking ID.

Next you’ll be presented with a tracking code for your website. Copy your code to paste into your preferred Google Analytics plugin (like one of the ones we share below).

If you’d rather not use a plugin that’s totally fine – some themes like the Total WordPress theme include built-in Google Analytics support. For example, Total has a custom action field where you can paste your code right in the WordPress dashboard (you can see more details in the documentation). Or if you’re more hands on (and know what you’re doing) you can paste the code into your functions.php files using the following snippet:

<?php
add_action('wp_footer', 'add_googleanalytics');
function add_googleanalytics() { ?>
// Paste your Google Analytics code from Step 4 here
<?php } ?>

The final step is to return to your Google Analytics account to save. Now you just have to wait a bit for Google to collect data from your website so you can start checking out your stats and reports.

Best Google Analytics Plugins

Of course you can log into your Google Analytics account and sift through all of the many (many, many) reports, graphs and other tools provided. To do that you would paste your tracking code into your theme or core WordPress files. Or you can make your life much easier by using a plugin. The following plugins bring Google Analytics right to your WordPress dashboard.

Google Site Kit

Google Site Kit for WordPress

When it comes to Google Analytics you can’t go wrong with the official Google Site Kit plugin. With it you can easily access all of your Google tools from your WordPress dashboard, which includes Analytics (along with Tag Manager, Search Console, PageSpeed Insights and more). Just install the plugin, click to Connect Service for Analytics, sign in with your Google account and confirm that you Allow Site Kit to access your Analytics. Then all you have to do is click the Configure Analytics button to finish up. Everything you would normally log into Analytics to view is conveniently displayed in your WordPress dashboard.

If you’d like to learn more, we have a full Google Site Kit guide to help you get the plugin up and running on your WordPress site.

Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics by MonsterInsights is a popular free solution for integrating Google Analytics with your WordPress Installation. Just add your Google tracking code and start learning about your traffic! There are additional options to track demographics, record outbound links as page views, customize tracking of internal links and more. Plus for even more features  (and support) you can upgrade to premium to add more reports and e-commerce tracking.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP Plugin

The free Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin enables you to display key analytics metrics directly on your WordPress dashboard. Some of the reports include the number of visits, visitors, and page views you receive, your bounce rates, and many others.

Of course, the biggest advantage of using the plugin is the ability to view your key metrics entirely within WordPress rather than logging into Google Analytics directly. This plugin includes various options so you can view your real-time Google statistics from your dashboard. View many of the standard Google reports for your visitors, sessions, page views, bounce rates and more. It’s quicker, and enables you to hone in on those metrics that are really important to you, rather than wading through a myriad of other (less important) reports.

How to Interpret Your Google Analytics Reports

Of course, having access to your analytics reports is all for nothing unless you know how to use them. Some of the key reports you’ll likely want to view are:

  • Pageviews. One of the simplest reports Google Analytics generates, this simply tells you how many times a page has been viewed. With this information, you can learn what’s popular on your website, and what could do with some work. Of course, this doesn’t tell you the whole story, and you’ll likely use it in conjunction with other reports.
  • Traffic SourcesGoogle Analytics can track where visitors are coming from, both on the web, and their geographical location. This metric can be key in measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  • Bounce Rate. This measures how many visitors browsed to your home page, then immediately left without interacting with it. A high bounce rate indicates that people are not sticking around to view your content (which is bad!). However, once you’re aware of this, you can explore why it’s happening.

There are plenty of other reports to view in Google Analytics, and this article can’t even begin to cover them all! You’ll likely want to conduct your own research into what’s on offer, and consult a handy Google Analytics guide or two along the way.

Is There an Alternative to Track Site Stats?

Maybe you don’t want to go through all the hoops to setup Google Analytics, or perhaps you simply don’t like relying on third party websites. No problem – you can still keep track of basic website traffic statistics on your own. Checkout our recent Matomo Analytics guide to see how you can keep track of your stats all on your own.


Google Analytics can be used to generate a plethora of information about your site’s visitors and their behavior. Having this information can help you to better gauge how your site is performing, and enable you to set more specific site goals.

Do you have any questions about how to integrate Google Analytics with WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

google-analytics-wordpress
Article by Kyla WPExplorer.com staff
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5 Comments

  1. Emily

    Thank you for the suggestions. I am always trying to get more from analytics.

  2. James Hipkin

    If you are looking for a simple way to add the GA script and your theme doesn’t accommodate this, consider Tracking Scripts Manager (https://wordpress.org/plugins/tracking-script-manager/). We developed this plugin for use in the custom themes we build. Our customers found it very useful. We released it to the plugin repository so that others can use it. You can use the plugin to add all kinds of scripts in addition to the GA script. Facebook retargeting, marketing automation, media tracking scripts, etc.

  3. Rachael

    Thanks for post. I have been using Google Analytics Counter Tracker for my website data statistics for 4 months now. It is easy to use and also free. I have no difficulties or regrets. It is the best so far.

  4. Betty Linn

    This is really helpful,I use Google Analytics Counter Tracker plugin on WordPress for my blog, and i can say its awesome! It is Very simple and easy to use. When you Connect your Google Analytics account and get Google Analytics stats;Group stats by hour, day, month and year;See data for different time periods in your reports, just to mention a few function.

  5. Marketip

    A well-detailed post, thanks for sharing your insight about google analytics, a nice job.

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