How to Set Up Google Analytics: A Beginner’s Guide

Do you have any idea how visitors or leads behave on your website?

Do you know which sites or search engines led them to your site or the content they came to see? In fact, can you tell to a large extent the general interaction of visitors with your website?

If you are not yet using Google Analytics, your reply may be “not much.” Even if you’re using clickthrough & conversion data from Google Adwords or other advertising platforms, you still require Analytics to gain relevant insights into:

  • Number of visitors on your site (live & overall)
  • The traffic of individual page (regular & unique visitors)
  • Amount of converted leads (conversions)
  • Websites the leads arrive from.
  • The device your leads came from (tab, mobile or desktop)
  • Where your visitors live (their demographic information)
  • Visitors coming from social platforms 

And you know what, the great part about this cool website monitoring tool is that it is COMPLETELY FREE and not so technical to use.

Once you’ve set up Google Analytics, you can periodically track and measure your website traffic goals to see what is working and strategies that aren’t working for your business. In addition, this tool helps you improve the ROI of your website and social media marketing, which means more cash for your business.

Aside from giving you vital information to fine-tune your digital marketing campaigns, Google Analytics even help in tracking traditional advertising like direct mail, print, radio, and TV.

Now that you’ve known all the awesome ways Google Analytics can improve your website, let’s dive into how it works and steps to set it up ASAP.

Google Analytics – How Exactly Does It Work And What Does It Track?

When you click on a webpage, and it loads, a JavaScript is triggered. This communicates with 5 cookies in your device and reports back to Google. The information Google receives is then stored in your Analytics account. 

Through this genius combination of cookies and JavaScript, Analytics is able to track any viewed page. By default, Google Analytics doesn’t track a page except it loads, so all non-pageview interactions (such as scrolling a webpage or playing a video) are not tracked.

Google Analytics doesn’t know who your visitors are or the things they looked at. It can’t tell how long visitors stayed on a page unless they enter another page and trigger your site’s JavaScript again. 

There’s so much this tool doesn’t track, but it’s still a great way to monitor visits and visitors’ behaviors. And for free for that matter.   

Now that you know what Google Analytics will show for you, let’s see the 16 things it won’t track for you.

  1. Anchor/jump links
  2. Carousel/slideshow advancing
  3. Rollover content
  4. Offsite links/social media icons
  5. Dropdown expanding
  6. Video plays
  7. Filters
  8. Livechat interactions
  9. Scrolling
  10. Tabs/accordion clicks
  11. Embedded map interactions
  12. Social sharing buttons
  13. Lightbox interactions
  14. Mail:to links
  15. Comment/review submissions
  16. PDF, PPT, word downloads

Well, there goes what Google Analytics will and won’t do for you. So let’s get right to how you can set it up for your business.

5 Easy Steps to Set Up Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics (GA) can be somewhat tricky. However, before you become discouraged along the way, remember the tons of invaluable free information you stand to gain when it is up and running. 

If you follow the simple steps we will be outlining soon, within 15 minutes, you’re done setting up your Google Analytics. You see, investing just a little amount of work now will net your business disproportionate rewards later on. 

Okay, that’s that. Here is the overview of the 5 steps you need to set up GA for your website. 

Step 1: Set up the Google Tag Manager

Step 2: Open a Google Analytics account

Step 3: Use the Google Tag Manager to set up the Analytics Tags 

Step 4: Set up your desired goals in Google analytics

Step 5: Link up Google Analytics with search Google search console 

Those are all the steps you need to get GA fully operational and working on your website. Let’s go into details on how to accomplish the listed steps.  

Step 1: Set Up the Google Tag Manager 

The way Google Tag Manager works is quite simple: It shares all the info on your website with other platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics). 

Google Tag Manager makes it easy to add and update tags to your GA code without the need to manually code anything on the back-end.

For instance, if you want to track the number of people that clicked on a “download PDF” link. If there’s no Google Tag Manager, you’ll have to go in and change every one of the download links manually.

However, if you’ve set up Google Tag Manager, all you’d have to do is add your new tag to the Tag Manager to monitor/track the downloads.  

To start with your Google Tag Manager setup,

  • Type in an account name
  • Enter the desired country, and
  • Click on continue.How to set up a new account on Google tag manager

Image Credit: Hootsuite

Next, you have to set up your container – we can liken this to a bucket that contains the tags, rules, and macros for your website.

  • Give your container a name.
  • Pick the type of content you want the container to be associated with (e.g. iOS, web, AMP, or Android)
  • Once you’re done with that, click the create button, and agree to the Terms and Services. You will then be shown the installation code snippet of the container. How to set up a new container on Google tag manager

Image Credit: Hootsuite

The piece of code you’re given will look something like what we have below. That is what you’ll paste into the back-end of your website to manage your tags. 

Image Credit: Hootsuite
code snippet for Google Tag Manager

  • To paste your code, copy the two snippets of the code and paste it on all the pages of your site. According to the instruction, you have to paste the first code in the header while the second one comes after the body’s opening.

Step 2: Open a Google Analytics Account

Like Google Tag Manager, you’re going to want to create a Google Analytics account by signing up on the GA page.

Just like you did for Google Tag Manager, you’ll create a Google Analytics account by opening the GA page and signing up there.

Image Credit: Hootsuite
how to sign up for Google Analytics: step 1

Creating your Google Analytics Account

  • After clicking on “sign up,” enter your account and website details.
  • Add your website’s exact URL.
  • Pick the category your website falls in (or the industry)
  • Select the time zone you prefer your reporting to be in.  
  • Add other necessary information and accept the stated term and Services.

Image Credit: Hootsuitehow to sign up for Google Analytics: step 2

  • When the above stage clears off, you’ll be redirected to a page where a piece of code is given. Copy the code because that is your tracking ID.

Image Credit: Hootsuite
your tracking code and tracking ID in Google Analytics

Your tracking ID is this string of numbers that enables Google Analytics to send the analytics data to you. The number looks like UA-000000-2.

The 1st set or central number (000000) is your account ID, and the 2nd set (1) is the account’s property number. This tracking ID is unique to your personal data and website, so don’t share it with just anyone publicly. 

Tuck your Tracking ID in a safe place, and let’s jump to the next step.

Step 3: Use the Google Tag Manager to Set Up the Analytics Tags

In this stage, we’ll show you how to set up specific Google Analytics Tracking Tags for your site.

To begin, 

  • Go to the Google Tag Manager dashboard on your site and click on “Add a new tag” button.

Image Credit: Hootsuite
how to set up google analytics

You’ll be directed to another page where you’ll create a new tag for your website. On that page, you’ll notice that 2 aspects of your tags can be customized:

  1. Configuration: Where the data the tag collects will go.
  2. Triggering: This is where you specify the type of data you want to collect.
  • Click the “Tag Configuration” icon, and it’ll show you different types of tags. Select the one you want to create.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

  • Click on “Universal Analytics” in order to create the Google Analytics tag.

Image Credit: Hootsuite
Google analytics set up

  • After selecting the Universal Analytics options, choose the type of data you’ll like to track. 
  • Next, go to the Google Analytics Setting and pick “New Variable” from the dropdown menu.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

  • You’ll be redirected to a different window where you can type in your Google Analytics Tracking ID. This will take your website’s data right into Google Analytics, where you will see it later.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

  • Go on to the “Triggering” area to select the data you want to direct to Google Analytics.
  • After that, click on the “Triggering” icon and it’ll send you to the “Choose a trigger” page.
  • From there, click on “All pages” and this will send data from your web pages. Credit: Hootsuite

When you’re through with all your configurations, including saving it, the new tag setup should look like this:

Image Credit: Hootsuite

Step 4: Set Up Your Desired Goals in Google Analytics

While you most likely know the key performance indicators (KPI) for your website, Google Analytics has no clue. That is why you must tell GA or set up goals in GA.

When you set up goals, you’re helping Google Analytics know what success is for your brand and website. Examples of success for a site could be online purchases or converting visitors to leads, registrants, job applicants, subscribers, or donors.

To Set Up Google Analytics Goals

  • In your website’s Analytic account, click the “Admin” link on the top navigation menu.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

  • On the right hand menu, click on “Goals.” A setup wizard will appear, and it’ll walk you through the whole process.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

Step 5: Link Up Google Analytics With Search Google Search Console

Doing this generates SEO reports which reveal the strength of your website’s SEO. You also get to discover your visitor’s geographical data and keywords that are bringing traffic to your site. 

To connect with Google Console, go and register at

In your GA account, Select “Property Settings,” then scroll down to Search Console Settings. There you’ll see simple instructions to link up the two accounts.

Image Credit: Hootsuite

Hooray! You persevered and finished the Google Analytics setup process! 

No more guessing games with your marketing budget since you now have a helper to guide you on the marketing channels that are driving sales and leads 

Good luck as you start running your Analytics reports. 



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