Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics WordPress LogoGoogle Analytics for WordPress answers the age-old question, “I built it, did they come?”  Every web server creates a log file that tracks details about the visitors to a web site.   The challenge becomes getting access to that file and then having the tools to process the raw data to get meaningful information.  It all sounds very complicated and it was, but not anymore.  Furthermore, traditional web visitor log file analysis was very generic and not optimized for Content Managed Web sites such as WordPress.

Is there an easier way?  Yes, Google Analytics for WordPress.  (Note:  Google Analytics can be implemented on any web site even though the scope of this article is specific to WordPress.)

Google Analytics for WordPress is a plugin that instantly reports back the activity on your site to the Google Analytics Engine for analysis and reporting.

Google Analytics Pie ChartInformation includes Analytics on:

Content – The parts of the web site that had the most activity.

Social – Determines the interaction with Social Media platforms such as Google +1 and many others.

Mobile – Activity/Visitors using devices such as iPads, Tablets, and Smartphones.

Conversion – Response rate to Ad campaigns, direct response, and eCommerce – as applicable.

Advertising – How well social, mobile, search and display ads are working at bringing traffic to the site.

Google Analytics LogoTo view the information being communicated to the Google Analytics Engine, you need to sign up for a Basic Account, which is free, at the Google Analytics website at http://www.google.com/analytics.  (If you already have a Gmail or other Google Site account, you can simply activate Google Analytics for your account.)  Once you have an account, you need to perform a few simple steps to validate your web site domain (i.e.  JasonPalmer.com ) to prove to Google Analytics that you are authorized to collect information on the domain.  You can do this by manually entering your Google Analytics account number also called the “UA Code” in to the settings section of the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin.  Or, if you are using Google WebMaster Tools, you can authenticate the site via an entry in the Zone file of the Domain Name Server (DNS) that is Authoritative for your domain.  (Note: If you understand the term DNS, and you know who you are, this will be the easier method.  For those that do not, Google WebMaster Tools will be discussed in another post shortly.)

Google Analytics ChartOnce everything is fully configured and connected, it may take up to twenty-four hours for Google Analytics to start creating reports from the collected visitor data.  These reports will be extremely beneficial in helping you understanding the activity on your web site.  The reports will break down your visitors by geography, language, location; are they new or returning visitors?;  the frequency of their visits and how long they stay on the site;  which web browser and operating system did they user – (Internet Explorer or FireFox or Safari) and are they Mac, PC, Android, IOS, etc.; source of traffic such as Google or a Social media site; analysis of the content for speed, page visits, page response time; internal search; and numerous other variations on the major reporting areas listed.

Sign up for a Google Analytics Account at:
http://www.google.com/analytics

Learn more about Google Analytics for WordPress at:
http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics

The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin at WordPress.org:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress

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