Love it or hate it, you really should be using Google Analytics on your WordPress site.
Even though the dark overlords at Google have restricted a lot of the data that used to be available in Analytics, it’s still an extremely valuable tool for gathering intelligence on your site visitors. Analytics can show you where they landed, what they read, how long they stayed, what they were searching for, and a heap of other valuable stuff.
As a serious WordPress blogger who aspires to greatness, you really can’t afford to be without it. This article shows you how to add Google Analytics to WordPress with minimal fuss and very little effort.
Step One: Get a Google Analytics account
If you haven’t already signed up for analytics, you’ll need to venture over to Google and get hooked up with a free account. Don’t worry, it’s quick and painless.
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Step Two: Add the Google Analytics code to your WordPress theme
To do this, you’ll need to open up the footer.php file of your WordPress theme. You can either use an FTP client to access your server, or edit your theme files directly from the WordPress dashboard. Your file editor is located under the ‘Appearance’ tab in the sidebar menu.
In the list of template files to the right of the text editor, find footer.php and open it. To add Google Analytics to WordPress, you now just need to copy and paste your code immediately before the closing </body> tag. Like so:
Make sure you save your footer.php file once you’ve pasted in the new code. Google Analytics should now be able to track every page of your WordPress site and provide you with that sweet juicy data.
Step Three: Double check that your analytics is working
To make sure that the script has installed correctly, go back to your Google Analytics home page and click the admin panel in the top right corner of the screen. Open the relevant account, and click the ‘tracking code’ panel. If the Tracking Status is ‘Receiving Data’, then you’ve successfully added Google Analytics to your WordPress site.
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Alternatively, use a Google Analytics plugin
If you’re not comfortable hacking around in your WordPress template files, or you want to explore some additional options and functionality, you can also add Google Analytics to WordPress with the use of a plugin. These plugins will typically give you an interface in your WordPress dashboard where you can add the code directly, without having to delve into your theme files.
There are quite a few Google Analytics plugins to choose from, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the others. Have a look for yourself in the WordPress plugin directory. If you have a multi-site solution, I would also suggest checking out WPMU Dev’s Multisite Google Analytics plugin.
Photo courtesy of Flood.