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Want to set up Google Analytics for your self hosted WordPress blog, but not sure how? In this tutorial I show you how to set up Google Analytics 4 from scratch, with step by step instructions and screenshots.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google to help you track and analyse your website traffic. It offers a whole host of statistics which show how your website is performing.
With Google Analytics, you can find out information about your readers and discover how your readers find and interact with your blog.
You can also use it to track how many visitors and pageviews you are getting, how many views each individual blog post is getting, and which are your best (and worst) performing blog posts.
You can view this information over any time period you wish (today, last 30 days, last year etc.) and compare these figures to any other time period you choose (e.g. this month vs last month, this year vs last year).
But before you can use this wonderful data, you first need to set up a Google Analytics account and put a small piece of tracking code onto your blog. This is what Google will use to collect all the information it needs in order to show you all the statistics about your blog that will enable you to track your progress and grow your blog!
GA4 vs GA3
Before 1st July 2023, there were two versions of Google Analytics: Google Analytics 4 (abbreviated to GA4) and Universal Analytics (abbreviated to UA or GA3).
Universal Analytics (AKA GA3) was deprecated on 1st July 2023. (If you already have a UA property, this will still display historic data from before 1st July 2023, but it will no longer collect new data.)
From 1st July 2023 onwards, only GA4 properties are able to collect new data. For this reason, this tutorial will only cover GA4.
How to set up Google Analytics 4 from scratch
If you are completely new to Google Analytics and you do not currently have a Google Analytics Account, this tutorial is for you.
If you already have a Google Analytics Account (this may be because you have an old Universal Analytics property or because you already have a Google Analytics 4 property for a different website), please head over to this tutorial >>> How to set up Google Analytics 4 (if you already have a Google Analytics Account)
Step 1: Create a Google Analytics Account
To set up a Google Analytics account, go to analytics.google.com and click START MEASURING.
You will be prompted to create a Google Analytics account. Simply give your account a name, check you are happy with the Account Data Sharing Settings and then click NEXT.
NOTE: Your account name is the name of you whole Google Analytics account. If you have more than one website (or plan to have more than one website in the future), you will be able to use this one Google Analytics account for all of your websites. For this reason (and also to avoid confusion) you may want to give your account a different name from your website – perhaps your own name or the name of your business.
Step 2: Create a Google Analytics Property
Next you will be prompted to create a Google Analytics Property.
Simply give your property a name, check the time zone and currency are correct, and then click NEXT.
NOTE: Typically you will have one Google Analytics Property per website. So I recommend you give your Google Analytics Property the same name as your website.
Step 3: Describe Your Business
Next you will be asked a couple of details about your business. Simply select a business category from the drop down menu, then select a business size, and then click NEXT.
NOTE: Don’t worry about this section. It is not at all important!
Step 4: Select Your Business Objectives
Next you will be asked to select your business objectives. Select ‘Get Baseline Reports’ and click CREATE.
Step 5: Agree To The Terms of Service
Next you will get a Terms of Service Agreement popup. Simply check Google has selected the correct country, read the Terms of Service Agreement to make sure you are happy with it and click I AGREE.
Step 6: Set Up Data Collection
You will now be prompted to set up data collection for your website. Where it says CHOOSE A PLATFORM, simply select the ‘web’ option.
You will then be prompted to set up your Data Stream. Simply type in the URL of your website where it says WEBSITE URL and the name of your website where it says STREAM NAME and then click CREATE STREAM.
You will then be prompted to install your Google Tag. This is the tracking code that you must place on your site. This tracking code is what Google will use to collect data from your blog.
If you have either the MonsterInsights or SiteKit plugin, you can click on these options and you will get detailed instructions on how to install your Google Tag using via the plugin.
If you prefer to install your tracking code manually, select the INSTALL MANUALLY option and copy the tracking code.
For more information on how to install your tracking code, see How to install your Google Analytics 4 tracking code (and check it works!)
Step 7: Continue to Home
Once you have installed your tracking code, you can X out of the Install Your Google Tag screen and you’ll land on a page that says ‘Data Collection Is Pending’ – this is because it can take up to 48 hours before you property starts collecting data.
Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on CONTINUE TO HOME.
At this point, you may be prompted to select your email communication preferences.
Finally, you will land on the main Google Analytics home page. It will probably say ‘No data received from your website yet.’ But once data collection has started, this page will show data from your website.
Congratulations on setting up Google Analytics for your website! Now it’s time to discover how to actually use Google Analytics in my Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics 4.
- How to set up Google Analytics 4 (if you already have a Google Analytics account)
- How to install your Google Analytics 4 tracking code (and check it works!)
- Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics 4