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Analytics How-Tos

How to Setup Google Analytics On Your Free/Non-Paid Websites

Are you ready to take Google Analytics for a test drive? Whether you were recently inspired from our latest article to start a blog about (web) analytics or you already have a blog, it’s time to sit in the driver’s seat and take Google Analytics for a spin.

Before we go into detail about how to set up Google Analytics for each of the most popular free web hosted sites, make sure you have your Google Analytics driver’s license first. Without one, none of the following steps will work for you.

Now that you’re ready, let’s drive through various Google Analytics’ setups.

WordPress.com
Uh, oh! WordPress.COM is a dead-end for Google Analytics. Unfortunately, for those of you who have the free version of WordPress (.com instead of .org), Google Analytics is not yet available to you. Either you’ll have to stick with WordPress’s own statistics or use another tool/plugin for your website.

Tumblr.com
Depending on what theme you have on Tumblr, you’ll either have a smooth ride setting up Google Analytics or a slightly bumpy one. Tumblr has various themes on its site, so if you’re lucky enough to have the default theme or some of its select themes, all you have to do to set up Google Analytics is

1. Go to your dashboard on Tumblr
2. Click “Customize” on the far right column of information
3. Scroll all the way down on the left column
4. Under “Theme Options,” you’ll see “Google Analytics ID”
5. Enter your Google Analytics ID, save your changes, and you’re done

If you find that the previous five steps don’t work or aren’t available to you, check out Tumblr’s awesome guide on how to set up Google Analytics.

Wix.com
Aw, man. Another road block for free users. Wix, just like WordPress, does not allow a Google Analytics integration to its free sites. Free Wix users will have to upgrade their website to premium services, choose another platform to play with web analytics, or use other apps for website statistics (such as Addfreestats).

Blogger.com
Much like Tumblr, Blogger has any extremely easy way to add tracking to your blog. All you have to do is

  1. Go into your blog’s “Settings”
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the left navigation and click “Other”
  3. Scroll all the way down the page until you see Google Analytics
  4. Copy your Google Analytics Tracking ID into the box that says “Analytics Web Property ID”

Thankfully for Blogger, those four steps are a fool-proof method. No worrying about which theme you have or anything else. Straight forward and to the point.

Postach.io
Once you’re logged into Postach.io and have your Google Analytics ID copied, there are three simple steps to connecting to Google Analytics:

  1. Click the “Edit Site” icon (pencil) on your site’s dashboard
  2. Under “Details” (It defaults you to this section), scroll all the way down until you see “Google Analytics Code”
  3. Paste your Google Analytics ID in the box, and click “Update Site Details” at the bottom of the page

Setting up Google Analytics on these sites is starting to sound like a song on repeat.

Blog.com
Much like the last couple of sites, Blog.com has a straightforward and easy Google Analytics integration.

  1. Go into your Blog.com dashboard
  2. Click “Blog Stats” under the “Tools” section in the left nav
  3. Choose “Enabled” for Google Analytics Service
  4. Press “Authenticate Account”
  5. Paste your Google Analytics tracking ID into the “Tracking Code” box
  6. Save your changes

Simple, right?

HubPages.com
HubPages might have a drawn out process of setting up your Google Analytics account with your site, but let’s break it down and make it easy for you:

  1. Go to “My Account” under your name on the top nav
  2. Click “Earnings” at the top of the page (It’s right next to the default “Hubs”)
  3. Scroll down to “Reporting Settings”
  4. Click “Get started” for the Google Analytics program
  5. Check “Yes” for the question “Do you have a Google Analytics account?”
  6. Paste your Google Analytics tracking ID into the box and save

In case you skipped the step about setting up a Google Analytics account, HubPages, as nice as they are, give you links to tutorials on how to set up a Google Analytics Account and find the information you need to copy over to your HubPages account.

Weebly.com
OK, now it’s time to change gears with Weebly for Google Analytics setup. While the free site will allow you use Google Analytics, it’s not as easy as copy-pasting your tracking ID into a box. So let’s go over in detail what you’ll need to do for Weebly:

  1. Login to your Google Analytics account and click “Admin” at the top of the page
  2. Make sure you see the account name and property associated with your website; otherwise, change both sections to reflect the appropriate website
  3. Click “Tracking Info” under Property (the second column)
  4. Select “Tracking Code”
  5. Copy paste all that’s in the box under “This is your tracking code. Copy and paste it into the code of every page you want to track.”
  6. Go to your Weebly Settings
  7. Click “SEO” on the left navigation
  8. Paste your tracking code into the box that says “Header Code”
  9. Save and publish your site

Now, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

http://kb.weebly.com/google-analytics.html

http://www.stepbysteppresentations.com/google-analytics-with-weebly.html

Webs.com
While you won’t be able to have too many pages on your free Webs account, if you do choose to have Google Analytics tracking on this site, it’s almost the exact same steps as Weebly.

  1. Do steps 1-5 from Weebly.com
  2. Click “Dashboard” on the top nav
  3. Click “Settings” on the left nav
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and paste your tracking code into the box that says “Google Analytics (optional)”
  5. Save your settings

So Webs’ Google Analytics setup IS like Weebly.

Medium.com
Last but not least, Medium. One of the newer and really popular blog sites out there, Medium surprisingly won’t let you connect Google Analytics to your account. I guess being connected to social accounts is enough to let you know what’s up with your content. We’ll get more on if focusing solely on social analytics and forgoing Google Analytics is what you should really be doing. But more on that in a later post.

To recap, most of the free blog sites fall into one of three categories: no access to Google Analytics (unless there’s a premium version of the site), simple access to Google Analytics by copy/pasting a Google Analytics ID, or copy/pasting tracking code into the header of your free blog site.

I hope this post helped those of you out there who wanted Google Analytics connected to your free hosted website. If I didn’t include a website on here that you’d like to know more about (for Google Analytics or other web analytics plugins/connections), let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Amplytics.

Are you ready to take Google Analytics for a drive? Thankfully for all of you who were inspired from

Google Analytics is free and so very well could b

Get ready to start your web analytics engine. Let the race to analyzing your website begin in 3…2…1. Wait.

Whether you were inspired to create your own blog for web analytics or you wanted to start analyzing web analytics for your free website, you’ve come to the right place. So let’s learn how to set up Google Analytics on the following free platforms for websites and blogs.

WordPress.com
Unfortunately, for those of you who have the free version of WordPress (.com instead of .org), Google Analytics is not yet available to you. Either you’ll have to stick with WordPress’s own statistics or use another tool for your free website.

Blogger.com

Tumblr.com
Depending on what theme you have, you’ll either have one of the easiest times connecting Google Analytics or a not-so-easy time. Given that you have the default or one of the many Tumblr themes that allows you to paste your Google Analytics ID directly into

Wix.com

Webs.com

Weebly.com

Medium.com

HubPages.com

Postach.io

Sett.com
Sett.com does allow free users to add Google Analytics tracking to their website through a javascript sandbox. At the time of posting this article, Sett.com proved to be buggy and functionality limited. If this site is accessible in the next couple of weeks, this section will be updated.

Blog.com

Categories
Analytics How-Tos

How to Learn How to Do Web Analytics

So you want to do web analytics. It sounds like the name of a game show or competition, and maybe the process to learn web analytics is like one. But no matter if you’re in school wanting to know what web analytics really is about or at a job wanting to know more about how to progress in web analytics, you’ve got to start somewhere. So let’s get to it!

Why Learn Web Analytics?
Why SHOULD you learn web analytics? Usually, you’re wanting to learn web analytics to solve a problem for your website. Instead of searching in the dark about how your website is performing, you’ve been hearing about how this strange concept of “web analytics” will fix it. Well, web analytics won’t automatically fix your problem of decreased visits to your site nor will it fix other site issues. Web analytics will give you data and various metrics to let you know what’s happening on your website. But you have to understand what those numbers mean to form conclusions as to why and how certain things are happening on your website. So taking just numbers to actual analysis is the reason you need to learn web analytics.

Where To Start With Web Analytics?
Most people usually don’t jump right into a project with foreign terminology and expect to learn it instantly (or very fast) and not make mistakes. Not every web analytics tool out there has an abundant amount of information about it, and you might not even know which analytics tool you want to use. So how do you go about learning web analytics if you don’t know where to start?

Get familiar with influencers in the web analytics realm and start reading their stuff! Usually every single one of these influencers have blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, and more about the basics of web analytics. Once you get the basics down, everything else they’re talking about will start to make sense.

Get Help From Popular Blogs/Influencers In The Industry
As mentioned before, to start understanding web analytics, you need to study the work of the people who know it best. Begin reviewing the following influencers’ work (and follow them on Twitter for even more web analytics goodies):

  • Avinash Kaushik – Avinash is the go to person about web analytics and digital marketing. He’s been writing about web analytics since 2006 on his blog and has published some best-selling web analytics books in the past nine years. No matter which post you read of his, you’ll learn something new each time.
  • Marshall Sponder – This web analytics and SEO/SEM expert writes a plethora of information on both web and social media analytics. After working with companies like IBM and Monster on their web analytics, you can trust that Marshall knows what he’s talking about.
  • Web Analytics Land – While this blog has been inactive since March 2013, it is one of the rare blogs that talks mostly about Adobe Analytics.
  • Usability Tools – Like its name indicates, if you’re itching to know more about analytics tools, check this blog out. It will show you which analytics tools you should look into for both desktop and mobile.
  • Data Set Go – While this blog hasn’t been around for very long, it will help you better understand web analytics and all its parts, especially if you are new to web analytics.
  • Anil Batra – Anil is another Google Analytics guru who provides insight to anything and everything digital marketing, digital analytics, web analytics, and more.
  • Gary Angel – Gary’s on top of new tools and resources for web analytics. What helps him be ahead of the industry is that he is the leader for Semphonic’s web analytics development.
  • Nathan Gilliatt – For all of you executives and business leaders who have no idea the value of web analytics, Nathan will make all of you become web analytics evangelists. Nathan explains all the complicated concepts of web analytics in simple terms, so anyone can learn from his blog posts.
  • Eric T. Peterson – Another go to person for web analytics, Eric has been involved in the analytics field since 1998 and also has a couple of books on web analytics that everyone should check out.

Take Classes and Get Certified
The next step after learning from the top web analytics influencers is to take classes and get certified. Here are some of the best and most detailed lessons and courses you can take to become an advanced analytics expert:

  • Google Analytics – All the lessons and practice tests you need to become certified in Google Analytics (FREE).
  • Lynda.com – Web analytics tutorials, specifically Google Analytics focused ($25-$37.50/month, $250-$375/year, or free with certain .edu email addresses)
  • Market Motive – Learn more than just web analytics. Lessons in web analytics, multi-channel analytics, social media analytics, Google-specific analytics, and more ($299/month with access to every class they offer)
  • The University of British Columbia – Learn everything about digital analytics, including metrics, statistics, measurements, and more ($2500-$2840 for the 5 month course; DAA members receive discounts)
  • Adobe Analytics – Get Adobe Analytics’ certification in 3 days ($3600)
  • Adobe Analytics (Adobe TV) – Get a basic tour of Adobe Analytics from the Adobe/Omniture team (FREE)
  • Coursera – Learn anything and everything to do with web analytics (FREE)

Applying What You’ve Learned From Web Analytics
After spending time every day for a while (however long it takes you to understand and consume this new information), it’s time to put your lessons to work. Apply what you’ve learned from web analytics industry leaders with

  • Your own blog – Set up a Google Analytics account and connect it to your blog. Start playing around with the metrics in Google Analytics and test yourself as you’re going through each of the metrics. What do they mean? Are they actionable metrics? Pretend you’re a business leader, and ask yourself what a company leader wants to see from web analytics. Then start creating reports so that you can write about them on your blog. Besides it giving you practice with web analytics and justifying what the numbers mean, it can give you content to publish on your blog, too.
  • Custom analytics – Take advantage of Google Analytics’ reports, segments, and tags. Create customized versions of each to take your understanding of advanced analytics to a new level.
  • A different web analytics tool – Are you getting a bit comfortable with Google Analytics? Give yourself a challenge with a different analytics tool. Check out Piwik, Open Web Analytics, and CloudFare for some free web analytics tools to get started!
  • Your own web analytics articles – Any the above three exercises will give you inspiration for blog posts, but you’re not limited to just those exercises. Try commenting on recent web analytics news or giving your audience thoughts on what you think of [web analytics’ guru]’s recent blog post.
  • Social media – Social media is one of the biggest ways to get your name out there, connect, and chat with other web analysts. Join Twitter chats and start sending your blog content regularly through social media channels.

Continuing With Web Analytics/The Future of Web Analytics
Web analytics is constantly changing, so there are plenty of things to read and watch out for in the coming years. Talks of more sophisticated web analytics tools and solutions that resolve the context problems with numbers; the disconnect between social, web, and internal information; the overload of big data; and the web analytics communication silos across departments in companies are already being talked about, so get in on that conversation. Let us know about your journey with web analytics in the comments below or on Twitter @Amplytics.

Categories
Analytics How-Tos

How to Build a Great Web Analytics Metric

Let me begin by telling you a story about shark attacks. The summer of 2001 was christened the “summer of the shark” by Time Magazine because the focus was on shark attacks that year. This story was then picked up and further propagated by other news channels. Before we knew it, the big story that summer was about an unexpected increase in shark attacks that year.

Before I go on, let me say that I do not intend to minimize the gravity of shark attacks on anyone during that time or any other time. The shark is a top predator of the ocean and behaves as such. The point I want to make is this – the media used a useless metric (number of shark attacks) as a way to drum up interest in a pre-9/11 summer. If they had actually put it in the context of relative measure such as the number of shark attacks in 2000, they might have opted to focus on the lifecycle of the ant instead.

This brings me to the first rule of creating a great metric. That’s what you are here to read, right?

The First Rule

Numbers without context are notoriously poor measures of performance. Performance is best understood in relation to another quantity. So the next time someone throws out a metric “number of blah blah blah,” your first question should be “In relation to what?”

Here’s the first rule about building a great metric – It should be a relative measure.

Let’s work through a few examples:

  1. There were 3,000 visitors to bayleafdigital.com in Jan 2015.
    1. eCommerce firm ACME made $5 million in income in Q4 2014.
    1. AAPL stock was trading at $119 on Feb 5, 2015.

Do you know the action you can take based on these statements? None. Nada. Here’s why – There is no comparison for any of the numbers listed above. Bay Leaf Digital’s visitors were 3,000 in January compared to what? Was that a good thing or a bad thing? Do I need to panic or celebrate??? Apple’s stock was at $119. Was that an increase because of the recent earnings call? Or was that pretty much a flat day compared to the day before? So metrics make sense only in relation to something else.

That relative measure can be the same metric for a different time or a directly related metric for the same time. For example (using Bay Leaf Digital’s 3,000 visitors in Jan 2015):

Root MeasurementInteresting MetricType of Comparison
3,000 visitors in Jan 2015 vs 2,200 visitors in Jan 2014800 more visitors in Jan YOYTime series for the same metric
3,000 visitors of which 2,500 were new visitors5x new visitors compared to returning visitorsRatio comparison
3,000 visitors of which 1,800 saw more than 1 page.60% visitors are engagedPercent based comparison to a directly related metric

The relative measures above provide contexts to these metrics. Now we know the visitor count in January changed for the better. Or that we are getting more new visitors than repeats. Or that there is a small and interesting segment of highly engaged visitors. Now we have something to chew on. In web analytics, relative measures are way more useful than absolute measures.

The Second Rule

Of the above relative measures, the percentage based metric feels the most intuitive because of its use in everyday life. From announcing sales (50% off!) to discussing interest rates (11% APR), the use of a percent based metric is widespread. That brings us to the second rule of a great metric.

The second rule about building a great metric – It should to be simple to understand.

This rule “It should be simple to understand” sounds easy, but there’s a lot more to it than you may imagine. By simple, I mean it should have the following characteristics:

  1. A great metric should be easy to communicate. In a conversation, you should not have to pause to explain what it means. In the example above, if we said “60% of our visitors saw more than 1 page on the site,” people will get it. There is little room for misinterpretation.
  • It should be linear. When a change occurs, the size of the change is directly related to the impact on the business goal. In other words, the metric should not have a complex exponential or a logarithmic relationship to the goal. Below is a simple example of how linear and non-linear metrics behave with respect to a business goal.
  • It should be directionally intuitive. An increase/up is good. A decrease/down is bad. This is how we have grown up to understand life. Keep it that way.

The Third Rule

The third key characteristic of a great metric is that is can be applied in a variety of contexts. These could be time, marketing channels, visitor type, content, etc. So the greater the ability of the metric to be universally applicable, the better the metric is.

We are going to continue using our earlier example of the percent based engagement rate metric to explain further:

Context – TimeInteresting Metric – Engagement RateDerived Metric – Rate of change Context – Visitor TypeInteresting Metric – Engagement RateDerived Metric – % difference
Nov 201457% First Time50% 
Dec 201453%-7% Repeat75%50%
Jan 201460%13%    

In the above two tables, we have applied the context of time and visitor type to the engagement metric. In both cases, the reports make a lot of sense. We see that engagement rate was higher in January compared to December and that repeat visitors have a higher engagement rate compared to first time visitors.

Because we were able to apply these contexts, we have even more information about the factors affecting engagement rate.

So here’s the third rule about building a great metric – It should have universal applicability

A great metric can transcend the silos of teams in an organization. It can be used as a universal language across marketing, operations, design, and many other teams. Think about a designer looking about engagement rate of the home page before and after an upgrade. Now think about the SEO expert analyzing engagement rates of her highest performing pages compared to the engagement rate of her channel as a whole. And across all these teams, the definition of the metric remains unchanged, but yet it is widely accepted and applicable.

The Fourth Rule

The most important characteristic that sets great metrics apart from poor metrics is their actionability. The report you generate should drive action from its recipients. The simple question to ask yourself or the person requesting the report is “What action are you going to take when there is a change in this metric?” If the answer is vague, then you know this is not a great metric. It might not even be a good metric. More on that topic in my article on how to identify poor metrics.

So here’s the fourth rule about building a great metric – It has to be actionable

By actionable, I mean a change in this metric should spur further segmentation and analysis to identify possibly causation. One more thing about being actionable, a great metric is closely tied to an organization’s business goal. So when it is time to action, the actions have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to achieve its business goal.

This fourth rule wraps up the key rules to be used when building great metrics. Remember, all four rules are needed to build a great metric. Satisfy three and you have a good metric. Satisfy four and you’ll get a great metric.

A Last Word

Remember every metric you build will not be a great metric and every report will not be a great report. However, you should have the one report that becomes the reference report across the organization. And that report should have all your great metrics.

To recap, here are the four rules to create a great web analytics metric:

  1. It should be relative
  2. It should be simple
  3. It should be universally applicable
  4. It has to be actionable

What are your thoughts on how to create great web metrics? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Amplytics.