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How to Use Google Analytics On Your Hosted WordPress Site

WordPress has finally given it's premium members access to Google Analytics? Why is this such a big deal for your website? How can Google Analytics teach you more about your audience? Click here to find out.

Have you heard the news? WordPress.com premium users now have access to Google Analytics!

Until recently this feature was only available to people who were on the business plan.

Now, anyone with a premium plan can add Google Analytics to their website!

If you can’t tell I’m kinda excited about this new development. 

According to all of the big bloggers on the web, Google Analytics is a must-have for anyone whose serious about making money from their blog.  

As a relatively new blogger, I’ve been itching to get Google Analytics on my site just so I can see if it’s as great as everyone else says it is and how it stacks up to the wordpress.com stats page. 

But before I get any further into this topic lets cover some of the basics. 

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website analytics tracker that shows you how users find your website and interact with it. 

What does that mean?

It means that it can tell you how many visitors you’ve had to your site, the number of page views, what pages were visited, what country they’re from, and how they got to your site (Google, Pinterest, etc.).

You can get the same information from your wordpress.com stats page. 

Should You Add Google Analytics to Your WordPress.com Site?

Yes, yes you should. 

Why? Because Google Analytics can give you so much more information than the standard WordPress stats page!

How Do I Add Google Analytics to My WordPress.com Site?

First, you will need to set up your Google Analytics account. 

You must have a google account to use Google Analytics. If you don’t have one, then you will need to create one. 

Once you’ve done that go to Google Analytics and follow the prompts to set-up your account. 

If you want detailed instructions you can go to this site. If your using wordpress.com stop after step 1 and come back here to complete the rest of the process.

How to Add Your Google Analytics Tracking Code on WordPress.com

At this point, you should have your tracking code. 

Go to your wordpress.com dashboard and click on plan.

It should take you to your Premium plan features screen. The second block on the left should say Google Analytics.

Click on the connect Google Analytics button. 

Your screen should look like this:

Scroll down until you see the Google Analytics section.

There will be a spot for you to paste your tracking code. 

Add your tracking code, click save and you’re done. 

You can also get to this section in the dashboard by clicking on tools–>marketing–>traffic tab.

Going through the plan tab saves you a few extra clicks. 

What’s So Great About Google Analytics?

I’ve only been using this feature for a day and let me tell you those features that I mentioned before just scratch the surface of what Google Analytics can do. 

For the sake of brevity and now wanting to overwhelm you, I’m just going to stick with the basics.  

When you log into your Google Analytics account your home screen will automatically show the following information: 

  • audience overview, 
  • real-time report, 
  • acquisition report, 
  • more insights, 
  • active users report, 
  • cohort analysis report, 
  • time of day, 
  • location overview, 
  • mobile overview, 
  • and pages visited. 

Depending on how much traffic you get to your site you might see numbers in your real-time report a few minutes after you place your tracking code on your site. 

That’s right you can get live results! 

What is happening on your site at this exact moment! 

Your other reports won’t show any information unless you change the date range to today. 

What You Can Learn About Your Visitors From WordPress Stats and Google Analytics

I love my WordPress Stats page. I can see how many visitors I’ve had, what country they’re from, and what pages they’ve visited.

Visitors to your site are referred to as users in Google Analytics.

In addition to showing you how many visitors/users you’ve had to your site, you can see:

  •  New visitors – the number of new people visiting your site.
  • Sessions- number of visits people have made to your site within the specified time frame. 
  • Pageviews- how many pages have been viewed
  • Number of Sessions per user- the average number of visits (sessions) per user.
  •  Pages/Session- the average number of pages your users visit on your site. 
  • Session duration- how long people spend on your site.
  • Bounce rate- how much interaction your site gets from your visitors.

As a blogger you want new people to come to your site, but you also want people to return and continue to read your posts. 

You also want people to spend more time on your site especially if you’re selling a product or marketing service. 

Knowing your bounce rate can be an eye-opening experience. If you want people to click around on your blog then, you want your bounce rate to be relatively low. 

This can be affected by where your traffic comes from. 

For instance, I use Facebook groups and Pinterest to promote my blog posts. 

Normally, when you promote your blog in a facebook group you are requesting that the members perform a specific action ( comment, pin, like, etc).

Once you’ve completed the request your off to the next task on your to-do list. 

This causes me to have a high bounce rate because they’re not sticking around to explore my other posts. 

I’ve heard that having a high bounce rate is bad for SEO, but I’ll have to look into that a little more. 

You can’t get this information from the WordPress stats page. 

Demographics

On WordPress, the only demographic information you can learn about your audience is the country that they’re from. 

In Google Analytics you can learn:

  • country
  • city
  • language

If you go to the demographic report you can also learn about your audience’s gender and age. 

This is important if your target audience is women ages 20-35. You can see if you are actually attracting the right people to your blog. 

One of the ways to increase your blog traffic is by giving your audience the ability to translate your blog to their native language.

Do you have a lot of visitors from different countries? Or that speak different languages?

Check out your results to see if translating your blog is worth it. 

What Content Is My Audience Reading?

Both WordPress and Google Analytics will tell you what your top blog posts are based on views.

Google Analytics tells you: 

  • average time on page- how long users actually spent on a specific post. 
  • entrances- how many visitors came to your site from a specific page. 
  • bounce rate
  • % exit- how many people left your site from this page

Temporary Setbacks 

There is a learning curve to using Google Analytics. I’ve only talked about the basic things that you can do and find from the home dashboard. 

But there is so much more information that you can gather about your visitors and website using Google Analytics. 

Additionally, If you’ve been blogging on wordpress.com for awhile this data won’t be very accurate because it can’t pull your historical data. 

Right now anyone who comes to your site will be considered a new user. 

You will also need to exclude your IP address from the results or else every time you visit your site it will count you as a visitor. 

How to exclude your Ip address:

  1. Go to your Google Analytics page. 
  2. Go to admin (the cog at the bottom on the right)
  3. Under Account click on filters.
  4. Click All filters.
  5. Add a name to your filter (ie home computer, etc), then click select filter type–> exclude. 
  6. In the next section select traffic from IP address.
  7. Open a new tab and type in what’s my IP address in the search bar. Copy and paste your IP address into Google Analytics. 
  8. Click save and you’re all done!

 Now, that you’ve excluded your self from the search results, they’ll be more accurate. 

Final Thoughts

I’m very excited about learning how to use Google Analytics and the wealth of information it can tell me about my site and the people that visit it. 

Do you need Google Analytics to run help run your site?

Well that depends on why your blogging?

If your doing it as a hobby, then I would say no.

If your blogging because you want to make money from your site and have an engaged audience, then my answer is Yes.

As with anything else, it’s just another tool to help you better understand your audience and manage your site. 

Don’t get caught up in checking your analytics every day or even every week for that matter. 

It can be tempting to want to login in to see what your real-time results look like. 

If you just want a quick overview of what’s going on with your site the WordPress stats page is more than enough to meet your needs. 

If you want to dig deeper into those stats then Google Analytics has got you covered. 

Hopefully, WordPress doesn’t up the price of the premium membership because of this new feature.

It would be really great if they would throw in the Yoast SEO plug in as well (hint hint).

Now it’s your turn.

Are you going to install Google Analytics on your wordpress.com site? What do you hope to gain from using it?

Until Next Time,

EJ

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