Google Analytics Setup Checklist

This checklist will help you:

  • Track your progress through a basic Google Analytics setup
  • Identify specialty and advanced set-up options, such as Ecommerce setup and integration with AdWords, AdSense and Google Search Console
  • Identify custom tracking that may be required to more completely track your website so that the data is complete enough, meaningful and useful

Preliminary Set-up:

Sign up for a Google Analytics Account at google.com/analytics.  Use a login ID that is already a working Google Account.  Follow the on-screen instructions.

Create your Google Analytics account by entering your website name, time zone, country and accepting Google’s terms of use.

Installation:

Option 1:  Install the Google Analytics Code Snippet directly on your site
The original method  – antiquated but still works

Get your Tracking Code.  Get your tracking code snippet by going to the ‘Admin’ tab and looking under “Tracking Info”

Install the Tracking Code on all pages your website before the closing </head> tag.

Option 2:  Install Google Analytics tracking using Google Tag Manager
Our recommended and preferred method, we don’t install Google Analytics without Google Tag Manager, unless there’s a technical barrier.  Read more about the benefits of Tag Management.

Get your Property ID.  Find and note the property ID, which has a format UA-XXXXXXXX-N, where “XXXXXXXX” is a unique account number and “N” is the property number

Install Google Analytics within Google Tag Manager Google has provided a Google Analytics in Tag Manager setup guide and has an Analytics Academy course.  If you are interested in hands-on instruction, perhaps this course might be of interest to you.

Must-do Configuration:

Enable “Bot Filtering”.  Google is helping in the war against referral, bot and “ghost” spam.  Make sure you turn on Bot Filtering checkbox in “View Settings”

Check that data is being collected. Look at reports in Google Analytics by logging into Google Analytics.  In the Home tab, click on the hyperlink containing your Google Analytics account number (starts with ‘UA’) and your website URL.  Look at your Real time Reports, which show data immediately

  • No data in non-real time Standard reports?  If you set up the account today, the date range defaults to the last 30 days.  Click on the date range shown and select today’s date.  Click [Apply].
  • Still no data?  On most days, data will appear within a couple of hours, but has been known to take a full day.  Check back later.  If you still don’t have any data, either the code is not on your site or you may have problems on your website interfering with code collection.  Ask your website developer to take a look using these debugging tools or contact us for help if you don’t have tech support available.

Import Google Search Console data into Google Analytics Search Engine Optimization standard reports\ by linking your Search Console account with Google Analytics.  Note that your Google Search Console account login must have Google Analytics “Edit” level access.

Set up Goals to track your site’s and your visitors’ successes.

  • Click on the [Admin] tab and, if you are an Administrator, you’ll see the link to set up “Goals” in the middle of the page.  You have 20 goals for the profile you have just set up.
  • Not sure what to set up as goals?  Think about the reason your website exists.  What do your visitors want to do?  For example, If you have a contact form or email newsletter signup form, set the confirmation pages up as goals.

Should-do Steps:

The above are the steps we feel are the mandatories for all websites. Depending on your situation, here are some other areas you should setup to get maximum benefit from Google Analytics:

Track your inbound campaigns – If you have email, banner ads or other third party traffic acquisition campaigns, add additional tracking to these destination URLs for your campaigns. It can be tedious work but it’s worth it.  Campaign data will show up in Campaign standard reports.  You’ll be able to weed out poor performing campaigns and spend more on the champions.  Review our detailed instructions about custom marketing campaign tagging, with examples.

Setup Ecommerce Tracking –  If you sell products on your website, you’ll need to add additional coding on your website to track product SKUs sold, orders and revenue.  Review Google’s detailed ecommerce tracking instructions

Track social activities on your YouTube channel or your Google+ page.  Click on the “Social Settings” tab and add your website domains that you have social plugins on, as well as your YouTube channel and other.

Integrate AdWords data – If you advertise on AdWords link your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts.

Integrate AdSense data – If your website hosts ads from the AdSense network, import your revenue and activity data into the Google Analytics standard reports by linking your AdSense and Google Analytics Accounts

Special Situations – Custom Coding

What else might you need beyond the basics listed above?  Google Analytics tracks a lot ‘out of the box’.  However, if you have the following situations on your site, additional custom coding or custom Google Tag Manager configuration may be required:

  • Accordian-like on-page expansions, dynamic forms, modal windows, mouseovers or any other rich media client-side interaction where a click does not cause the URL in the address bar to change.
  • Downloads (PDFs or other documents)
  • Videos
  • Mail-to links
  • Clicks on links to other websites that you want to track – partner sites, social netswork

Contact us if you require assistance implementing any of the above.

Once set-up is reasonably complete, start slicing and dicing your data to optimize your content, campaigns and keywords.