5 Steps to Set Up Google Analytics on Your Website

How to Set Up Google Analytics

Content Last Updated: February 10, 2024

Picture this, you’re grabbing a glass of wine with your mentor or business coach to celebrate a new launch or campaign, and they ask you “where do you think those people found out about you?” and instead of “well I wrote a lot more blogs this month” or “I made some killer Reels” you say “My sales were pretty evenly distributed between SEO and social, but email marketing was the clear heavy-lifter contributing to over 40% of all sales”.

That may sound like a foreign language for you now, and that’s okay. That’s what you’re here for. The important thing to know is that Google Analytics is an important first step to understanding what is (and isn’t) working for your marketing. It can tell you where your website traffic is coming from, which marketing channels (that you’re investing time and money into) are actually bringing in sales and revenue, which pages on your site are working for you, and which ones need some fine tuning, and so much more.


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What is Google Analytics and why should you have it?

Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool that can be used to learn more about who the visitors on a website are, how those visitors got to the site, and what they did when they were on the site.

If you have a website, you should have Google Analytics set up

Setting up analytics should be one of the first things you do on your website. That means step 1: put the website live. Step 2: set up analytics.

Don’t put off setting it up until you think you need it because you can’t use the information until you have historical data to compare against. I recommend aiming for 3 months of data (or at least 100 days) before you make significant decisions based on it.

As a business owner, you want to make sure that every dollar you invest in your business will grow your business and drive sales. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of everything you do.

  • Did you hire a social media manager? Do you know if the work their doing is driving traffic to your website and if those people are joining your email list or buying from you?
  • Are you spending hours every month creating content for your blog or YouTube (or paying someone to do it for you)? How many of those content pieces bring in more leads or drive sales?

I’m not a fan of investing my time and money into things that I ‘think‘ are working, or throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

With data, we can measure what’s working, what’s not, and use that information to make changes so you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts.

More data = better decisions = better ROI on your marketing. And Google Analytics is a free, easy-to-set-up tool that you can use to get all the information you need.

5 steps to (correctly) set up Google Analytics

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as downloading a plugin for your site and plugging in the tracking code. I wish it was!

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you can confidently say that you have the important data you need to make decisions for your business.

Ally from Akari Digital Setting Up Analytics for a Clients Website

Looking at this guide and feeling overwhelmed? Worried you’re going to spend way too much of your valuable time stumbling through it? We can set this up for you (and even take it to the next level with some advanced features, custom tracking, and easy-to-use dashboards) so you can get back to doing the things you do best. Book a discovery call today, and we’ll discuss the setup you need, and get that all done for you!

Want to dig into it yourself? Read on, and we’ll walk you through it, step by step.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google Analytics Account

Create a Google Analytics account

Go to the Google Analytics website and it’ll prompt you to log in with your Google Account. Use whichever Google account you want all your business assets to be connected with.

Once you’re logged in, click the big blue “Start Measuring” button to get started.

Create your account and property

Every Google Analytics account has two levels: Account and Property.

  1. Account: Highest level. Each business should have one account.
  2. Property: Each website you have for the business, will have one UA property, and one GA4 property.
Create your account

Set an account name. For most businesses, this is your business name.

If you are a business that has multiple websites or smaller businesses under your umbrella, make one account named after this ‘umbrella business’ that will house all your sites as separate ‘properties’ (next step).

Create a property

This is really easy to do, just name your property (generally this is your website URL) and click Next.

And the last step, fill out the “More Info About Your Business” section and click “Create” this information isn’t as important, it’s just data for Google Analytics.

Wahoo! The first step is done and you’re now ready to connect your Google Analytics account to your website.

Step 2: Get Your Tracking Codes

Get your GA4 Tracking Code

In your Google Analytics window, click the gear icon in the bottom left which will take you to your admin panel.

If there is more than one property, make sure you’re in the right GA4 property. Do this by clicking the drop-down under “Property” and selecting the one that does NOT have “UA” at the beginning.

Click “Setup Assistant” and then “Tag Installation”. Then click “Add Stream” and “Web”.

Enter your website URL and name your stream, then click “Create Stream”

Under “Tagging Instructions” expand the section for “Global site tag (gtag.js)” and copy the code it provides you by clicking the overlapping boxes in the right of the panel.

Great! Paste that code into your blank notes or word doc for quick reference later or leave this tab open so you can find it later.

Step 3: Installing Google Analytics On Your Website

Now we have tracking codes, time to put them on our website so it can start collecting data. If you’re using a popular content management system (CMS), this is relatively straightforward. I’ve highlighted instructions for the most common platforms I see; WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.

If you’re using a CMS that isn’t listed here, open a new tab and google “Install Google Analytics on X” and replace the “X” with whichever platform you’re using. Once you have it installed come back here and skip to Step 4: Essentials to set up in Google Analytics.

Jump To:

Installing Google Analytics for WordPress

You can do this manually in your theme editor, or by using a plugin. I’ll cover instructions for simple installation with a plugin here.

Download Your Plugin

Navigate to your Plugins page in the admin dashboard, and click “Add New”. There are lots of different plugins you can use to install Google Analytics, I always use the “Head, Footer and Post Injections” plugin on WordPress sites I work on. This plugin is frequently updated, has lots of active installations and strong reviews, and I’ve never had any issues with it.

Press “Install Now” and then once it’s installed, click “Activate”.

Paste Your Tracking Code Into The Plugin

Now, you should be able to find the plugin in your admin dashboard under “Settings”

For WordPress, paste the tracking script that you found in Step 2 in the “<Head> Page Section Injection” “On Every Page” box which should be in the top left.

(Lost your tracking codes? Jump back to this step).

Again, paste your code into this box. It should look something like the image below. Don’t forget to press “Save” when you’re done!

Success! Your website and Google Analytics are officially connected and talking to each other. The most important part is over, but now let’s check that it’s working, and set up some essential settings so that your data is accurate and usable. Skip to the next step.

Installing Google Analytics for Squarespace

Squarespace has a built-in integration for Google Analytics, but it doesn’t work for both GA4 and UA, so I recommend adding the code manually.

First, go into Squarespace Setting > Advanced > Code Injection > Header.

You can then paste your code into this box. Don’t forget to press “Save Settings” when you’re done!

Success! Your website and Google Analytics are officially connected and talking to each other. The most important part is over, but now let’s check that it’s working, and set up some essential settings so that your data is accurate and usable. Skip to the next step.

Installing Google Analytics for Wix

Wix has an integration for Google Analytics, but it doesn’t work with GA4 right now, so we’re going to embed custom code manually.

Go to “Settings” in your site’s dashboard.

Click the “Custom Code” tab under “Advanced Settings.

Click the “Add Custom Code” button

You can then paste your code into this box. Name them something like “Google Analytics” so you know exactly what the custom code is later, and make sure it’s loading on all pages in the header (as outlined in the screenshot below).

Don’t forget to press “Apply” when done!

Success! Your website and Google Analytics are officially connected and talking to each other. The most important part is over, but now let’s check that it’s working, and set up some essential settings so that your data is accurate and usable.

Step 4: Check to see if it’s working!

Hopefully, you’re not at the point that you want to smash your computer in half… but if you are— take a quick break, go for a stroll outside, or take some deep breaths to reset.

You’ve just crossed a major milestone for your business marketing, and it was something completely foreign to you. I try to make these walkthroughs as straightforward as possible, but this stuff isn’t easy and you are rocking it.

Now, let’s go double-check that everything is running smoothly.

In your Google Analytics, your property to make sure that it can detect you visiting your website.

How to check if your GA4 property setup is working

In Google Analytics, navigate to your GA4 property.

Then click “Realtime” on the left-hand bar.

In another tab (or from your phone) go to your website. You may have to wait a few seconds and click around a bit, but you should see a session pop up! And it’ll show you on the map where the session is logging in from, which should match where you are in the world.

Not showing up? Sometimes traffic can take up to 24 hours to work, set a reminder to check things out tomorrow. If it’s still not there, you may have made an error when installing your code. Walkthrough those steps over again to see if your code is missing or incorrect. If you’re stumped feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and I’ll see if I can help!

Advanced Analytics Settings

I won’t take you through each item here because they require a bit more expertise in Google Analytics or a tool like Google Tag Manager, but some additional things you may want to consider:

  • Are you running Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn ads? You want to make sure that you can separate the traffic that you’re paying for, versus the traffic that your regular social media content is bringing in so you can calculate a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). To do this, you need to use campaign tagging. To get you started, this is a very comprehensive article from Annielytics.
  • Are you running Google Ads? Unless if you are working with a specialist who advises you otherwise for your specific situation, I recommend always turning on autotagging so you can see which keywords, ads, etc converted best in Google Analytics. To do this, here’s the Google Ads help article.
  • Do you send email newsletters or have automated email sequences? By default, your traffic from email is not tracked in Google Analytics, but many email marketing software programs make this simple for you. You can google “Google Analytics tracking X” and replace X with the email software you use. Here are some quick links to platforms my clients use often: Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Active Campaign.
  • Do you have a booking platform, course, or membership area that you send people to from your website (Kajabi, Thinkific, JaneApp, ClickFunnels, and Acuity are ones I see frequently)? It can be helpful to see how traffic flows from your website to these platforms and whether they buy or not! For this, you’ll need cross-domain tracking which you’ll probably want help from an expert to set up.
  • And last, but certainly not least, do you want to track conversions, sales, or leads on your website? Yes? You need to set up goals. Depending on your CMS, and your website this looks a little bit different for everyone so it’s recommended to reach out to an analytics specialist for specific advice for you. When this is set up, you can measure an exact conversion rate of your site or landing page, track ROAS or ROI on your marketing spend, see which blog posts your readers are downloading your lead magnets on, and much more!

If any of this is something that you want support setting up, we can help! We can make sure your Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Search Console, Ad Platforms, and more are set up correctly, are connected together, and you’ll even get some custom dashboards that make it easy to see exactly how your marketing is performing at a glance. Book a complimentary consultation and we’ll walk you through how it works!

Essential setup complete! What now?

Now we sit back, relax, and wait for the data to roll in 🥂.

But you’re probably wondering “okay, well when I do have data to look at, what exactly am I supposed to do with it?” We’ve got you. Bookmark our How to Use Google Analytics for Small Businesses post and set a reminder for yourself in a month or two.

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Get data-driven marketing insights and exclusive resources right to your inbox.

Don’t just market more. Market better. Get exclusive access to resources and insights that introduce you to the once-confusing world of data-backed marketing.


Frequently asked questions about Google Analytics

Do you need an expert to set up Google Analytics for your business?

For basic set up, not always! If you have a relatively simple website, you use a standard CMS, you are tech savvy, and you only have simple conversions to set up— you can probably set things up on your own. If you want to set up some more complex goals, you send traffic to a third-party platform for bookings or payments, or if you want to track product sales on your site, you will likely need help from an expert.

I open up the platform and I’m so overwhelmed, how do I know what to look for?

It can definitely be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the program. We have a post that walks you through the 4 key reports to check and what to look for, but you could also talk to an analytics expert to set up some custom dashboards or to help you navigate! FYI we offer services like that customized for small businesses! Let’s chat about your needs and how we can help.

How much does Google Analytics cost?

Google Analytics itself is free! You can pay to have an expert set it up for you, or to monitor it for you, but the platform itself is free.

How often should you check your Google Analytics?

Ideally, you check it monthly and track your key metrics over time so you know what’s improving, what’s not, and you can make data-informed decisions for your business. If you’re not measuring your marketing, you can’t improve it. If monthly isn’t realistic for you, set aside time quarterly to dig into it.

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