If you’re a website owner and are not using Google Analytics (GA), you’re missing out on one of the most powerful revenue-boosting tools out there.
Fortunately, you’re not alone.
Many of our contractor clients are wary of this software, and no wonder. If you don’t have experience with Google Analytics or aren’t particularly tech-savvy, all those graphs, reports, and numbers can look intimidating.
While it’s true that you’ll probably need some time and training to become a confident user, navigating GA isn’t rocket science.
Read on to learn how to get started with the tool and make Google Analytics work for you and your contractor business.
First Things First: What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that can monitor and analyze website traffic and performance.
The tool is part of Google’s suite of marketing and advertising products, which also includes Google Ads, Data Studio, and Search Console.
There are currently two versions of Google Analytics:
- Universal Analytics: If you created your GA account pre-October 2020, you likely have Universal Analytics.
- GA4: GA4 features an updated user interface and upgraded features. If you set up your account after October 2020, you probably have GA4.
How Much Does Google Analytics Cost?
Google Analytics has a free and paid version.
The paid service, Analytics 360, starts at $150,000 per year and increases once your website reaches one billion monthly hits.
Don’t let the price shock you, though; if you run a small or mid-sized company, the free GA will likely meet all your needs.
Why You Should Get Google Analytics
GA is a fantastic tool for tracking the success of digital marketing campaigns such as social media posts or Google ads.
You’ll be able to see at a glance the number of users visiting your website, the traffic sources they come from, and how they engage with your content and services.
GA can also help you gauge the effectiveness of your search engine optimization efforts by letting you know how many organic users you’re attracting.
How Does Google Analytics Work?
Google Analytics works via an embedded tracking code on your website. Once installed, the tracking code monitors the behavior and attributes of your website visitors, including their age, gender, and interests.
Once a visitor exits your website, the tracking code sends their data to the GA server, which aggregates and reports back various metrics and dimensions, such as:
- Customer type
- Geographical location
- Device and browser type
- Page views
- Session duration
- Landing page
- Bounce rates
How To Set Up Google Analytics for Your Website
Google Analytics includes a lot of amazing features that can transform your business, but you need to set it up correctly.
Below, you’ll find our quick guide to setting up Google Analytics. It has everything you need to know to hit the ground running, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our team — we’d love to help you out!
1. Set Up a Google Analytics Account
To start, you’ll need a Google Account with an email and a password. You can use your existing Gmail or create a new one for your business.
Note: Having a Google Account doesn’t give you automatic access to Google Analytics — you’ll need a separate GA registration in addition to your Google account.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a GA account isn’t the same as a user account.
Multiple users from within your organization can sign into the same GA account using their personal Gmail and password.
Different users can also have different permissions. For instance, one user can view a single View or Data Stream in a Property, the whole Property, or the entire GA account.
2. Enter Your Website’s URL, Name, and Industry
Next, sign into GA and choose which Google Account you want to add your Property to.
Note: In GA lingo, a Property is a website or application you will monitor.
Follow the on-screen instructions to create your Property.
Enter the website’s name and URL, as well as your industry and time zone.
You can assign one or multiple Properties to each GA account. The maximum is 50 Properties per account.
The choice of whether to set up a new GA account for each Property or add multiple Properties to the same account will depend on your needs and business goals.
For instance, if you have one website with three subdirectories, such as a blog, media resources, and a careers section, you’ll need to create a Property for each subdirectory.
Then, you may want to link them to the same GA account for easy viewing and to be able to assess the Properties’ performance in the larger context of the website.
However, if you have a second website that is solely dedicated to your organization’s collaboration with another business, you probably don’t need (or want) to view its data along with the data for all your other subdirectories.
In such cases, it might be best to set up a new GA account for this Property.
3. Add a View or Data Stream to Your Property
Views and Data Streams are data flows that give you insights into your website’s performance across different operating systems.
You’ll need to add a View to your Property if you use Universal Analytics.
You can have up to 25 views to one Property, but you need to have at least two — one with no configured settings and another with filters that exclude bots, spam traffic, and traffic from within your organization.
Keep in mind that once you delete a view, you’ll lose all the data forever.
To add a View, go to the account and Property, open the “Create a View” menu, and follow the instructions to name your View, choose a View type (web or app), and enter some other key information.
If you have a GA4 account, you’ll have to add a Data Stream, as the new version no longer supports Views. You can choose between three preset Data Streams — web, iOS, or Android — or create a custom Data Stream.
To set up a Data Stream, head over to the account and Property and open the Data Stream menu. Follow the prompts to select an existing stream or add a new one, then save the changes.
4. Embed a Tracking Code
When you set up a new Property, the system will generate a unique tracking ID and a global site tag, which is a code you must add to each page you’ll be tracking.
To do that, copy and paste the global site tag into the header HTML code on each web page.
You’ll also need to select the type of site — dynamic, static, web hosting, or Google Tag Manager — for GA to be able to set up the data collection properly.
But what if you have 30 pages on your site? Do you need to manually add the tag to every single one of them?
Thankfully, the answer is no. You don’t need to add the code to every page, just to the header modules of every page template.
Once you add the tag, GA will automatically apply it to all pages using that template. The fewer templates you have, the easier it will be to set them up.
5. Check That the Tracking Code Is Working
To finish setting up your GA account, you’ll need to open your GA portal and double-check that the tracking code is working.
An easy way to do this is to open your website in a different browser tab or on another device, such as your phone.
Then, start clicking around your website as you keep an eye on the Real-Time reports section in the GA portal. The report should show at least one user currently browsing the site.
Is Google Analytics Right for You?
Google Analytics is a powerhouse, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.
You may be a good candidate for GA if you want a lot of raw data but also have the time and skills to analyze and translate it into actionable insights for your business.
If you aren’t that tech-savvy — or just don’t have the time and resources to learn how to set up, use, and maintain GA — Google Analytics may not be the best option for you.
Instead, you should consider exploring alternative solutions such as HubSpot, which can deliver more or less the same data but with less work.
Unlock the Power of Google Analytics With Contractor Growth Network
Are you still not sure how to use Google Analytics or whether it’s the right fit for you?
No need to give up on GA just yet. At Contractor Growth Network, we’ve helped hundreds of contractors set up and manage their Google Analytics and unlock the tool’s full business potential.
Let us take care of the boring techie stuff while you focus on what you do best: growing your contractor business and delivering phenomenal services to your clients.
Call (980) 449-4384 or fill out our contact form to tell us more about your business and its needs. We’ll take it from there.