Google_Analytics_Sample_DashboardIf you've been around the blogging world – even for a minute or two – you've heard about Google Analytics. It is the definitive way to track what's happening with your website. It's also kind of confusing. If you want to learn how to set up Google Analytics without panic, here's a simple way to do it.

First Steps

  1. Go to google.com/analytics
  2. Sign up for a new account and fill out the form
  3. Check out the new form that's in front of you.

Next Steps

You can add multiple URLs with Analytics.

  1. Add the URL of your first site in the space provided.
  2. Add timezone and country and click the ‘Continue' button.
  3. Use the code that Google provides, and follow the directions for installing that code on your website.

Understanding Traffic

Once your Analytics page has been set up, you'll have to figure out what you're looking at when you log into your Analytics dashboard.

The first thing you will see are ‘Traffic Sources.' After that, you will be given the choice between ‘Overview' and ‘Sources.'

Overview: this provides a generalized overview (as the name suggests) of your account. You will see the number of visits, type of traffic (direct, referral, or search), and then you will have the option to select ‘Sources.'

Sources Traffic

Here's where the real meat of Analytics is. You'll want to know where your traffic is coming from, so that you can perfect those marketing areas. Here's a quick breakdown of what those different types of sources actually mean.

  • Direct Traffic: this is traffic that has been driven to your site directly from a URL type-in, a link in an email, or other link. These people did not find your site through a search.
  • Search Traffic: this is the type of traffic that is driven to your site through a basic search. Search traffic is why keywords are important.
  • Referral Traffic: users that wind up on your site through referral traffic do so after clicking on a banner link or any other link that sends that user directly to your website. Referral traffic really depends on where your links are located.

More to Learn

There's lots more to learn about Google Analytics, but these are the basic things that you need to know in order to get started. From there, you can set up specifics, learn to delve deep into your site traffic, and really see where your clients are coming from (this will, in turn, help you with your marketing and content efforts).

Those people in your company that control your content, SEO, or other vital aspects should all have access to your Analytics dashboard, so that everyone can be responsible for what they do as a part of your company. We know that you have more Analytics questions, so feel free to let us know what you need to find out – or, let us know if you'd like to see a few of these guides down the road!

Photo Take from Wikimedia Creative Commons

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