When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.

– Lord Kelvin

What kind of traffic are you generating? Which websites are benefitting you the most – and which ones are having no effect at all? Where do your marketing efforts most need to improve?

These are rhetorical questions, of course. But if you’re going to find legitimate answers to them, it starts with website measurement. You need a way to gauge your web traffic and make sense of all the noise.

And if you don’t have Google Analytics already installed, it’s safe to say you probably aren’t measuring your traffic at all.

But as Lord Kelvin said, the simple act of measuring something – putting real numbers to your hunches – means you know something about it. That’s why it’s so important that you set up Google Analytics and get an idea about your web presence.

Step 1: Setting Up Google Analytics

First things first – if you’re going to set up Google Analytics, you’ll need the following:

If you already have a Google account, you can simply sign in to Google Analytics and you’re off to the races. If you don’t have an account – do yourself a favor and sign up for one.

Once you’re in, your next mission is to set up a property, as Google’s website calls it. Here, you’ll enter in your relevant website information and then create a way to demonstrate to Google that you are, in fact, the legitimate webmaster of said domain.

With all of the relevant information entered, click Get Tracking ID. This is the tracking tool your website will use to capture all of the important data you’re after. If it all seems a little wonky, follow these specific steps for setting up your website tracking.

You might want to wait a little while at this point to make sure that data is being fed to your Google Analytics account. If anything’s going wrong, Google Analytics will tell you from your account that you’re not receiving any data, and what to do from there.

Step 2: Configuring Google Analytics for Your Goals

Now you’re tracking your data – Lord Kelvin would be proud. But if you want to make the most of your Google Analytics, you’ll have to configure a few options to go beyond raw data and tailor to your specific goals.

What those specific goals are, we can only guess. But here are a few tips that will help you get moving:

Once you have a better handle on Google Analytics, the data will accrue over time, giving you a larger sample size from which to gauge your success.

But one more question remains: why does it matter?

Why Google Analytics?

Maybe your website isn’t quite ready yet. Why should you care who visits it, where they’re coming from, or which keywords they’re typing in to find you? The benefits might not be apparent when you’re still in startup mode, but there are plenty of features that make it worth the initial setup:

In short, Google Analytics is one of the most powerful free tools on the web for bolstering your digital marketing efforts. If you’re not measuring your traffic, then you not only stay in the dark about your numbers, but you stay in the dark about what’s important about those numbers.

google analytics cta box

Have you used Google Analytics in your website? Share some of your favorite discoveries about your own website below.