Google Analytics

Anybody who has a blog or a website loves to know how many people visit their site. In early days of the web these took the form of simple counters, but they don’t really tell you a lot of information about your visitors.

I’ve been using Google Analytics for about 5 years or so now, and it’s very easy to implement on your site or blog and once set up you just look at the reports and data that Google collects on your behalf from your visitors from a cookie. It is a free to use service, I have it set up on a lot of sites, so I can look at them all at the same time.

To add Google Analytics to your site you need to sign up for an account, supply the address of the site you wish to monitor. This will then create a unique ID for your site and the code to use.

In the case of a website you need to add the code to each page, or on a blog add the code to a widget in the sidebar.

On Blogger it’s just a case of adding the the id on the Settings page, Basic, Google Analytics Web Property ID UA-10089870-1

In WordPress blogs you can add a plug-in (Google Analyticator) and just set it up with your id (UA-10089870-1) this will then add the required code to the blog template so that all pages will have the required code for Google Analytics.

Once set up you can check on Google Analytics to make sure that the code is set up correctly and it’s waiting to collect data.

Then it is just a case of letting it run for a few weeks/months before you can start to draw any conclusions.

I’ve been using Google Analytics on Philofaxy for over 2 years now and with that much data it has been possible to see which days are quiet days on the blog, which type of posts get read most, which sites are sending you the best readers. etc etc.

One of the things I use quite a bit on Google Analytics is the ability to add notes to the time line. So if you make a change to the blog or website you can add a note about that change and then in a few months time you can see if that change has had an impact in the number of visitors or pageviews. When we added the ‘you might also like’ related posts feature to Philofaxy our page views per visit had a step increase of about 25% so it was a worthwhile change.

Google Analytics won’t bring you more visitors, but it will help you focus your content on what brings back visitors for ‘more’

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments and I will try to respond.