Google Analytics offers an easy charge-free way for tracking and analyzing users who visit your website. Be it thousands or millions of visitors every month, if you don’t know a thing about users who visit your page, they are practically meaningless. With its robust web analytics and reporting tools, Google Analytics can help you make the most out of visitors and potentially turn them into customers.

Google Analytics provides key insights into how your website is performing and what you can do to meet your goals. This is in addition to keeping a proper track of the number of visitors you have. You get to track everything from how much traffic your website gets to where it comes from and how the visitors behave. You can even monitor social media activities, track mobile app traffic, identify trends and integrate other data sources to help you make well-informed business decisions.

Here’s how to use Google Analytics for your website.

Google Analytics Basics

Here’s a rundown of how to set up Google Analytics on your website:

•   Sign in to Google Analytics with your Google account

•   Click the Admin button on the bottom left sidebar of your dashboard

•   Select an account or create an account

•   Click on the dropdown menu to create a property

•   Click on Website and add your site’s name and URL

•   Choose your industry

•   Choose your time zone

•   Click on Get Tracking ID

•   Install Tracking ID on your website

Here are also a few terms you should know:

  Account — You can set up multiple properties in one account or have multiple accounts for different properties. It is where each property lives in your dashboard. 

Property — is the website or mobile app you want to have tracked.

Tracking ID — which is a unique code is added to your site so Google Analytics can track it.

Conversion — these are the number of visitors who at the long run get to turn into customers or potential customers.

Channel/Traffic source — this shows your traffic source, such as referrals or links from other sites, search engines, social media and emails.

Session duration — this gives details on how long visitors spend on your site.

Bounce rate — it’s the percentage of visitors that view only a single page before they get to leave.

Event — this is the specific visitor behavior. It covers moments such as when a visitor clicks on an ad, watches or stops a video, downloads a file and more.

Landing page — this is the first page a visitor sees when they click your website’s link – come visiting.

Organic search — these are the visitors who visit your site from a link on a search results page.

Segment — it’s a way to filter data, such as by category and types of visitors.

And the types of reports you shouldn’t miss:

Acquisition — this right here shows you where traffic comes from. Such as search engines, social media, email marketing campaigns and links from other websites. This can be found under the Acquisition tab.

Keywords — it tells you what search words visitors used to find your website on a search engine. You’ll find this report in the Behavior tab, under Site Search.

Conversions — it tracks how many visitors get converted into newsletter subscribers, shoppers and actual customers. Click on the Conversions tab and choose a type or category of conversion to view a report.

Lifetime value — this which is currently in beta, reports track visitors throughout their lifetime. It starts from their first visit to conversions, return visits, future purchases and beyond. It helps you figure out what turned these visitors into customers and what has them coming back, so you can implement changes. Lifetime value is located under the Audience tab.

Landing page — this shows you which pages are the most frequent landing pages, so you can track where your visitors are coming from and what is on those pages that attracts customers. You’ll find this across different reports under the landing page column.

Active users — monitors how many visitors are actually active on your site within a specific time period, such as the past week, 14 days or month. This will show you what pages the most active users are visiting so you can figure out what’s keeping their attention and apply it to the rest of your website. You can find the active users report in the Audience tab under Active Users.

Now that you have the basics down, here’s more on using Google Analytics as a small business.

Sign up for a Google Analytics account

To use Google Analytics, you will need a Google account. Go to Click on Sign in or Create an Account on the upper left corner. If you’re already signed in, click on Access Google Analytics. Fill in the required information – account name, website name, URL, industry, time zone and data-sharing settings.

Click on Get Tracking ID to finish setting up your account.

Set up Google Analytics on your website

A <script> tracking code is required to track your website. You’ll be taken directly to the Tracking Code section after setting up your account. The tracking code must be on every page you wish to track. There are a few ways to do this:

•   Copy and paste the code directly into your website template.

•   Check your web host, website builder or blog platform for Google Analytics integration. For instance, there are several plug-ins on WordPress that will automatically add the tracking code to every page. Some website builders have a specific page or field where you simply enter your tracking ID. Others — such as Blogger and Squarespace — require only your Google Analytics web property ID or account number, a string of numbers prefixed with the letters UA that identify your website.

Star tracking

One beautiful thing about Google Analytics is that it offers a range of metrics which users can customize to fit their needs. All of Google Analytics’ features can be accessed and configured from the left sidebar.

Here are three features that matter most to small businesses.

Traffic sources

This finds out where visitors and customers come from. With a click on the Acquisitions tab on the left sidebar, you’ll be able to view all traffic sources, such as channels, referrals and organic searches.

You’ll also get to find which search terms visitors used to get to your website. Google Analytics automatically scans more than 20 major search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and, of course, all of Google’s properties. It also includes searches from international search engines like Baidu as well as searches from major websites like CNN.

Custom reports

Metrics can be configured on Custom reports based on your own categories that are not included in the default settings. If you own an online store, this section helps you track traffic based on things such as size, color and product SKUs. You can also integrate external data sources, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Just click on the Customization tab and create your metrics.

Social settings

Not only should you run a social media marketing campaign, you should track your results too. Google Analytics is good at this. They can help by integrating social media into your tracking metrics. Although you can’t add your Google Analytics tracking code to your social media accounts, what you can do is add them under Social Settings. Let’s say you own a YouTube channel, you can track activities by adding your account using your YouTube URL.

To track social media campaigns, click on Acquisition on the left sidebar. Here you can add campaigns, track landing pages, monitor conversions and more.

4. Add users

If you want your team members to view your Google Analytics account, you’ll need their email addresses. Click on the Admin tab in the left sidebar, choose an account and click on User Management. You can add new users and set permissions from here. You can limit users to reading and analyzing traffic or give them admin-level access to do things like edit your settings. Adding users also makes it easy to present reports and get to collaborate.