Why You Need Google Analytics for Your Blog & How to Set it Up

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure.

Knowing how to set up Google Analytics for your blog as well as Google Search console is really important.

You want to be using these tools even as a beginner blogger.

If you haven’t yet connected your blog to Google Analytics or Search Console, then I will walk you through the steps of doing so.

Why Do You Need Google Analytics for Your Blog?

I know a lot of bloggers that do not use these tools because they are overwhelmed by them.

However, they really aren’t difficult to use and the more that you use them the better you’ll get at remembering how to access certain data.

Before we get into the “how” of setting up the Google tools, let’s first talk about why you want them.

You Can Learn How to Track Blog Traffic in Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you the ability to track your blog traffic accurately.

There are other tools available out there that will track your blog traffic, but they are often vastly inaccurate.

Why?

Because Google Analytics filters out all the bot traffic.

If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it is basically traffic from computers and not real people.

They’ll often show up as coming from a specific domain in an attempt to get you to click over and check them out.

It is spam, plain and simple and Google Analytics gets rid of the vast majority of that for you.

Not only will you get access to your blog traffic results, but you’ll also be able to break that down into the kind of detail that you need in order to really analyze and use it.

This is imperative as you establish your blogging strategy and figure out who your audience is and what they enjoy on your blog.

Related: How to Choose a Blogging Niche in 5 Easy Steps

As an example, here are several things that I use Google Analytics for on a daily basis:

  • Checking my total traffic for the day
  • Checking user behavior
  • Checking acquisition (where the traffic is coming from)
  • Finding my best performing Pinterest images
  • Checking bounce rate & time on page

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Wooden keyboard, iphone, and drink

I use the data from all of these things to decide what I’m going to focus my time on.

Do I need to better optimize certain posts in order to better the bounce rate?

Related: How to Write Killer Content that Your Readers Will Love

Could I write more content that is related to the most popular posts?

Which pins are performing best and is there a certain style that stands out?

Google Analytics is FULL of helpful information and if you’re serious about blogging then you absolutely need to have it connected to your blog.

Oh, and one of my favorite uses for Google Analytics is to know when my audience is online.

For me, my traffic peaks from 8-10 PM (EST).

graph in google analytics

This makes sense because I have a blog that is directed at moms and many kids are down for the night around 7-8 PM.

Knowing this helps me to plan when to post stuff on all my marketing platforms.

I might get other peaks during the day, but that is when I can count on my traffic to jump during the day.

Why is Google Search Console Important?

I didn’t even look at Google Search Console until a while after I had connected Google Analytics.

I didn’t know what it was, but then I also had no clue about SEO.

You might not either, so I highly recommend checking out my post about some simple SEO tips that you can start using immediately.

You see, while certain social media platforms (such as Pinterest) are really great for getting your blog off the ground, Google is where it is at.

Related: How to Set Up Pinterest to Explode Your Blog Traffic

You want to diversify your traffic so that if one platform bottoms out, you’re not left with zero incoming traffic.

Google tends to be more stable than many other platforms out there.

Plus, it is super passive once you’ve done the initial work of getting your content to rank.

How does all this relate to Google Search Console?

Quite simply, Search Console tells you all about what ranks on your blog, how much traffic you’re getting from it, how many people are seeing it and where it ranks (i.e which page of Google it shows up on).

This information is gold and I refer to it all. of. the. time.

It’ll give you what you need to start choosing which topics are worth focusing on, where you can improve and what is just not worth pursuing.

Computer with Google Analytics on the screen

Is Google Analytics Free?

Yes. So is Google Search Console.

You can connect them both to your blog and use them absolutely free of charge.

Pretty cool, huh?

There is a Google Analytics App

The other thing to take note of is that there is a Google Analytics app that you can download and use on your smart devices.

This is particularly helpful if you’re on the go but still wish to be able to check your stats.

You may have to adjust some settings and I’m fairly sure that you won’t have the full range of options that you’ll find on desktop, but it is still super helpful.

How to Connect Google Analytics to Your Blog

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to head on over to the Google Analytics website and create an account if you haven’t already done so.

screenshot of google analytics sign up form

Once you have made an account it’ll give you the option to sign up for Analytics.

Go ahead and click on that button.

screenshot of google analytics sign up process

Next you’ll want to fill out your account name, blog name, blog URL and other details.

When it asks what your reporting time zone should be, I suggest that you make it wherever the majority of your audience is.

I’m based in New Zealand, but I have my main view set to report in EST.

You can set up multiple timezone views, but for now just use what makes sense to you.

If you’re just starting your blog then keep it in your timezone until you have an established audience.

Once you’ve filled out your details and accepted their terms and conditions, you’ll be given the tag that you need to put on your WordPress site.

screenshot of google analytics tracking code

If for whatever reason you click out of that window or can’t figure out where to find the tab, just head over to Admin >>> Tracking info >>> Tracking code and you’ll find it right there.

I know this bit might seem scary, but trust me, it is super easy.

Don’t let the mention of coding overwhelm you. What we’re gonna do here is literally just copy and paste.

So, next you want to head on over to your WordPress account and make sure that you’re logged in.

Just to clarify, I’m talking about wordpress.org, NOT wordpress.com.

Once you’ve logging into your dashboard, go to Appearances >>> Theme Editor.

screenshot of wordpress menu

Look on the right-hand side of your screen and you should see the header section. Click on that and that is where you want to put your code or tag.

screenshot of wordpress theme editor

All you have to do is copy the tracking code from Google Analytics and paste it into the coding.

screenshot of google analytics tracking code

The only thing that you need to make sure you do is to put it in BEFORE the closing </header> code.

screenshot of wordpress code
screenshot of header code

Click save and you’re done.

It may take a little while, but Google Analytics will start tracking your traffic and recording all of your data.

Removing Your IP from Google Analytics

One thing that I would suggest doing is removing your own IP address from your Google Analytics.

That way you’re getting more accurate results.

Here’s how to easily do it:

Head to Admin >>> All Filters

screenshot of Google analytics filter option

Click on that and you’ll be given the option to add a filter.

screenshot of add filter button

Click on the button and then you can fill out the fields for your filter.

screenshot of google analytics filter set up

You can name your filter something like “My IP Blocked”.

For selecting the filter type you want to choose Exclude.

For the source or destination you want to pick Traffic from the IP Address.

A box will appear for you to put your IP address into. If you don’t know your IP address just do a quick Google search for “what’s my IP address” and it’ll tell you.

Handy, huh?

Once you’ve done that, your expression should be that are equal to.

Next, add All Web Data over to selected views.

Click save and you’re done!

Now you won’t see yourself in amongst your Google Analytics results.

How to Connect Google Search Console to Your Blog

As with Google Analytics, the first thing that you want to do is create a Google Search Console account and add your blog to it.

Make sure that you submit your full URL. For example, mine would be https://www.raisingkidsmakingmoney.

screenshot of Google Search Console Sign Up

Now, you want to have already connected Google Analytics to your blog for this method to work, so make sure you’ve done that first.

They’re going to ask you to verify your site.

What you want to do is to choose Google Analytics as your method.

Choose that and click “verify”.

screenshot of verification options for Google Search Console

And that’s it. You’re all connected.

If you do have trouble with that for whatever reason, you’ll see that there are several other verification methods that you can also use.

Once you’ve verified your site, you’ll want to submit other variations of your URL.

For instance:

  • www.raisingkidsmakingmoney.com
  • https://raisingkidsmakingmoney.com

Easy, right?

However, there is one more step that I highly recommend you take and that is to submit your blog’s sitemap to Google Search Console.

I recommend using Yoast’s plugin for this. Here are their step-by-step instructions on how to submit your sitemap.

Once you have both of these Google tools all connected to your blog it’ll take a little while for the data to populate.

However, before you know it, you’ll have a thorough resource from which to base your blogging strategy around.

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