How to use Google analytics to monitor your website traffic.

After you have created your website, you should be very interested in the amount of visitors you get. In the beginning you won't have to much visitors, but after you create your content and grow your page count, the visitor count should increase. The problem is, how do you  monitor your traffic?

There are many ways to monitor web traffic to your site. Most website builders such as Yola, and hosting organizations have built in traffic viewers to monitor your traffic. Yola's site traffic page gives you limited info if you have a free or bronze account.

It will only show you the number of visitors per day to your site. If you upgrade your account, you can see more traffic stats. If think most web hosting companies work like this. The more you pay, the more you see.   

Lucky for us, Google has a great tool to monitor your website traffic. It's called Google analytics. It's not too difficult to use and it has some really great features. The best thing is, it's free.

How do you use it?
  • Sign up for an account
You first have to sign up for an account on the Google analytics web site. Just click on "Create an account" in the top right of the page.
  • Customize account
Then you have to setup your account properties to customize your account. You can set up your analytics account in such a way that you can monitor two websites with a single tracking code, or you can create different tracking codes for different sites. You can also group sites together under a single profile, or create a profile for every site. It depends on what you want to do. 

I will not go into detail on this point. There is comprehensive help on the analytics site. They also guide you every step of the way. My advise, keep it simple.
  • Get your tracking code
Google analytics uses a tracking code to monitor your website traffic. This is a piece of code that you have to place on all your web pages. It must be included between the head (<head></head>) tags. Some web sites have common pages that appear on every web page on your site. If this is the case then you only need to paste the code once on this page. It differs from site to site. 

You don't need to worry about analyzing the code or anything like that. Just copy it into your web pages. I usually place it at the bottom of my pages. Then I know where to look for it if I need to delete or update it. Some people like to place it at the top of their pages. It doesn't matter as long as you put it between the head tag. 
  • Paste your tracking code on your web pages
I use Yola to build my websites so I will talk about how to do it with Yola. 

Drag and drop the HTML widget at the bottom of your page where you want to insert the tracking code. Copy the tracking code from the analytics website and paste it in the HTML widget. Click save. Easy peasy. Below is a screenshot.

Click image to enlarge

Don't worry about what the code does or anything like that. The clever guys at Google writes the code to monitor your website traffic.

That's basically all there is to it. After this you can login to analytics and choose the website to monitor. Below is a partial screenshot of what the monitor screen looks like. 
Click image to enlarge

There is a lot of information that can help you monitor your website traffic. The first screen gives you a nice overview of what the traffic is like. I always pay special interest to the new visitors count. This tells me that people are searching for my keywords and Google is making my pages available. 

The above screenshot is the daily view for a month. You can also customize it for weekly or monthly stats. 

I really like this tool. It's comprehensive, easy to use and it's free. If you have problems or don't understand the setup, then go to the analytics page and use the help pages. There is such a lot of information that will help you.