Every website owner should know how many visitors come to his or her website, which website pages or blog posts are the most popular, and other statistical data about website visitors.
This information is not available on most of content management systems (CMS) by default. No exception with WordPress too – there are no Google Analytics or similar services built-in. And that’s perfectly reasonable – there are huge number of Analytics providers, and there is no need to bloat CMS with multiple provider’s code.
The good thing is that now you can set up Google Analytics in just a few minutes, and you don’t need any coding skills to make it work. You just need to use a well built WordPress plugin.
Setting up Google Analytics for the first time might seem confusing for the first time. That’s why Google developers made a free WordPress plugin that lets you add your website to Google Analytics without any complicated forms or settings pages. So now you can add your site to Google Analytics in just a few checkboxes and Accept buttons clicked. Here’s what you’ll learn and accomplish with this tutorial:
- What information about your website and it’s visitors you’ll get with Google Analytics
- How much Google Analytics cost for WordPress users
- Which Google Analytics plugin is the best for WordPress
- One step before installing Google Analytics plugin in WordPress
- How to add your WordPress website to Google Search Console
- How to add Google Analytics to WordPress website
What information about your website and it’s visitors you’ll get with Google Analytics
Google Analytics can give you almost unlimited amount of statistical data both about your website and website visitors. Here’s some basics you can get directly in your WordPress website admin panel if you use Google Site Kit plugin:
- Total unique website visitors
- Total clicks and imporessions
- Average time on page
- Session duration
- Bounce rate
- Most popular pages on website
- Top acquisition channels (where visitors come from – organic search, social media, direct, etc.)
- Visitor countries
- Individual page or posts statistics – impressions, visitors, clicks, sessions.
Not enough stats? Once you get Google Analytics tracking code in your WordPress website (all Google Analytics WordPress plugins add it) you can get all the stats you might think by logging in directly to Google Analytics dashboard.
How much Google Analytics cost for WordPress users
There are no direct costs for using Google Analytics – it’s a free service unless you want to administrate hundreds of websites using a single account.
You just create a Google account (if you don’t have one yet), integrate Analytics to your WordPress website using free plugin, and you’re ready to go.
Which Google Analytics plugin is the best for WordPress
There are lots of WordPress plugins which can add Google Analytics to WordPress. I’ve tried some of the most popular but after Google released their own plugin I’ve stopped chasing “ideal” Google Analytics plugin. So my choice is always Google Site Kit.
Don’t get me wrong – there are great WordPress plugins for integrating and viewing Google Analytics. But most of the third party plugins which have similar functionality are paid, and I just can’t see the point to pay for any additional services or access just to get the website visitor stats which I’d get from Google Analytics anyway.
You may install most of the ppremium Google Analytics WordPress plugins and use their “free” version, but you end up with fairly limited functionality unless you upgrade.
If you just want to add Google Analytics tracking code to your WordPress site you can add it directly to your theme’s <head> section. But if you use Google Site Kit you can additionally view most important stats directly from WordPress admin panel.
But the one thing that attracts me to this plugin the most is ability to view website visits per page, for every single WordPress page or post.
One step before installing Google Analytics plugin in WordPress
To make Google Analytics setup as smooth as possible you should login to any of the Google services in the browser you’re currently using (if you’re not logged in yet). For example Gmail. So after installing plugin you’ll now longer need to login again.
If you don’t have Gmail account, or any other account associated with Google, you can create a Google account here. You can even create Google account using your non-google email address.
Once you create and/or login to your Google account, open your WordPress website admin panel, and go to the next step of this tutorial.
How to add your WordPress website to Google Search Console
If you want to use Google Analytics plugin, the first step is to install Google Site Kit plugin to your site, and add your site to Google Search console through it.
Let’s start – login to your WordPress admin panel, and go to Plugins >> Add New in the admin menu. Enter google site kit to search field at the top.
The first plugin in the list should be Site kit by Google. Install and activate it after the installation.
After plugin activation you’ll see Site kit greeting at the top of the page. Click Start setup to start your website’s registration in Google.
Next step – click Sign in with Google.
You’ll be asked to choose your Google Account. Select the one you want to associate with Google Analytics.
At first Google will register your WordPress website at Google Search console. Check all the checkboxes and to allow access and hit Continue.
Then hit Proceed button to verify site ownership.
Click Allow to let your website to access Google Account data.
Click Add site to add your WordPress website to Google Search Console.
If everything went well you’ll get a notification that your site is set up in Search console.
Click Go to my Dashboard to get back to WordPress admin panel.
How to add Google Analytics to WordPress website
If you’ve done all the previous steps then you’re almost finished. Now there are just a few steps ahead.
While you’re in Google Site Kit dashboard look for Analytics icon. Click Connect service.
Sign in to Google again.
Allow Site Kit to access Google Analytics data and click Continue.
After granting access you’ll be redirected back to Site Kit Dashboard in WordPress. Click Analytics >> Connect Service again.
Since you already granted access to Analytics you’ll see a different page than before – you’ll create a Google Analytics account directly from WordPress without needing to add Analytics code manually. Everything will be set up automatically for you.
Enter any account name you want, or leave it as is to use your website’s name. Select different country and timezone if needed. Then click Create Account.
Next – check both checkboxes to create Analytics automatically and hit Continue.
If everything goes successfully you’ll see a message that your Analytics account was successfully created. Click Go to my Dashboard to get back to WordPress.
That’s it – your Google Analytics account is ready to use in your WordPress site.
24 hours after creating your Analytics account you’ll start seeing first stats in Site Kit >> Dashboard and Site Kit >> Analytics pages. Before that you’ll get notifications that Analytics gathering data.
Most of those notifications will be replaced with real data automatically in a few days, and they’ll get more accurate in the long run.
By the way, simplified website visitor stats will also be shown in the main WordPress Admin Dashboard page.