Welcome to the first blog post in a series we are calling Help Thy Client. Think of this ongoing series as our Frequently Asked Questions, where we touch on those topics that clients most often ask about. Today post is about Google Analytics, probably the web’s most use data analysis service. Now, I will admit. I stared at the screen for a long time just thinking about where to begin. There are after all entire books written on how to use and leverage Google Analytics. So, I just decided to start at the very beginning.
Creating and Implementing your Google Analytics Account
Like all Google products, you must associate it with a user account. This is usually easy enough because by the time you need to implement Google Analytics, you probably already have another Google product that you are using (like Gmail, YouTube, or Adwords to name a few). If so, then you simply go HERE and log in with the same Google account credentials you already have. I highly recommend you (and by you I mean YOU the business owner/president/director/manager/worker bee) ONE) bundle as many Google products under the same log in that way you can easily navigate between them without having to repeatedly log out and log back in. And TWO) If you are in fact a business owner to create the account using an account YOU control. Often times business owners will allow another company (usually a web developer or marketing company) to create it for them. This generally means when they go (get fired, close their doors, go AWOL) they take your account and your data with them. Now, their are ways around this of course and I’m not saying to mistrust every business service company out there. But its always better to be safe then sorry.
Account Created – Now What?
So you’ve successfully created and logged into your Google Analytics account. Now you must create your first account within that overall dashboard. Simply click on the ADMIN button located in the upper right hand corner. This will open the specific account dashboard. If this is your first one that you are creating, then its really simple. In the far left column titled ACCOUNT, you should see a link (perhaps in a drop down) that says “Create New Account”. Click on that and follow the steps. Here are a few tips to remember.
Name the ACCOUNT accurately. The Account that you are able to create works much like a folder in Windows Explorer. Meaning, you can put multiple domains in that account. Let’s say you have a business website and a personal blog (both of which we are defining here as DOMAINS). You may want to separate them into separate ACCOUNTS, so you could name the first account after your business (Cool Business) and the second after your blog (Cool Blog). Or you can put them both under the same account (My Cool Stuff). Either way, its a good thing to keep in mind if you plan on having multiple domains in this one Google Account.
Another tip is to make sure you correctly identify your time zone. Its one of the last questions that Google asks and its marked “Reporting Time Zone”. This can’t be reversed later, so pay attention
Final tip at this stage is whether or not you really want Google to share in your data. You will notice you have three options before you submit your ACCOUNT. All three are basically asking you if Google (the corporation) can share your data between their products (to better serve you is what they are trying to sell). They also want your permission to anonymously send your data to Google Analytics so they can better track your market. And the final is if you will allow them to share your data with an Account Rep, will will theoretically keep an eye out just in case you need them. Now, I’m not conspiracy theorists, but it has been reported that Google will track your web data to see what the best converting keyword searches are (for you, and your industry) among other things. If you give them permission to share that data with Google Adwords (their Paid Search Service) than (again allegedly) Google will use that conversion data to charge you more per click for those very same keywords that generate you the most conversions. Bottom line, is if you are wanting to avoid Big Brother (good luck) then uncheck all the boxes for these three options. If not, continue on. After all, Google’s mission statement is “Don’t Be Evil.”
Success, you’ve created your first Domain Account, now on to the Google Script
This Java ain’t got no Caffeine and I’m suppose to Paste it inside my website’s Head. Whaaaa?
At this point, you can try to go implement (CUT and PASTE) your Tracking ID, or you can ask for help. If you are still friendly with your website designer or developer (and they already have the access they need!!!) then you can ask them to do it.
I hope this week’s installment of Help Thy Client (you have to read that with your best Monty Python voice). Give us a shout if you have an questions or you want Southern Tide Media to lend a hand. Until next time.