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Creating a Google Analytics Account

posted on Sep 21, 2017
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If you have an organization these days, you need a website. And if you have a website, you need analytics. What are analytics? Read our previous blog post to find out, and also to learn why Google Analytics is far and away your best choice. I’ll wait until you get back.

Welcome back! Okay, now that you are convinced, the next step is to get set up with Google Analytics.

Step 1: Create a Google Account

First, you will need a Google account. You’ll probably want to set up a new account which is linked to your organization, rather than personally to you. That way, if you move on to a different job, the Analytics stays with the organization.

Pro Tip: Do not let anyone (like your web designer or web host) create your site’s Google Analytics account under their own Google account, so that they can “manage” it for you. If you and that person part ways, then you will lose all that data and need to start again. By all means, get help with monitoring Analytics if you want, but make sure it is YOUR ORGANIZATION’s account.

Step 2: Sign up with Google Analytics

Now go to Google Analytics. Scroll down to their “products” section. At the time of writing, this section is about 1/3 of the way down the page. Click “sign up for free”.

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Your next screen will look like this. Click “sign up”

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Step 3: Create your Account

It is actually possible to have up to 100 Google Analytics accounts per Google ID. This can be useful for people who manage multiple websites, such as one for work, one for their personal life, and maybe one for their goldfish. Most of us, though, are fine with just one Google Analytics account. The top of the account setup screen looks like this:

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The bottom of the setup screen, when you scroll down, looks like this:

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What would you like to track?

This defaults to Website. If you have your own mobile app and that is what you want to track, then you would click Mobile app, at the top of the screen. This series of posts will deal with tracking a website.

Account Name

This will likely be the name of your organization. At Volunteer Ottawa, the account name is Volunteer Ottawa.

Website Name

Use a name for the website. At Volunteer Ottawa, we currently maintain two websites: our main website, which you are visiting now, and one for the 150 For 150 Volunteer Challenge. Each of these can be set up as a different property under the Volunteer Ottawa account. (We’ll get into properties in a future blog post.) In the example above, I entered in Main VO Website as the Website Name.

Website URL

This needs to be the URL which is associated with the website you named. The URL for VO’s main website is http://volunteerottawa.ca

Industry Category

Google uses this information to monitor how people from different industries use Analytics, so that they can suggest particular report types which are useful to others in the same industry. It does not affect the actual data which is collected.

Reporting Time Zone

You should set this to the time zone where most of your site visitors live. Most of the people who visit our Volunteer Ottawa site live in the Ottawa area, so I set this to Ottawa time.

Data Sharing Settings

You can choose to share your data or not. Google will use any data it collects to (1) make money and (2) improve its products. It’s your call. Sharing or not sharing data will have no effect on the functionality of Analytics for you compared with anyone else.

Click Get Tracking ID.

Step 4: Embed your Tracking ID

Your Tracking ID is a string of HTML code which is unique to that particular website and property. If you have access to the HTML code of your website, and feel confident, then copy and paste the code directly into the HTML: just before the closing head tag.

The rest of us will copy and paste this text into an email and send it to the web developer, who will embed it into the HTML for us.

Allow up to 24 hours for Google to begin tracking your website data.

What next?

There is no end of useful data which you can collect from Google Analytics. To learn how to make the most of it, come to our upcoming workshop.

Click here to register Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

[1] K. Hines, "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics," Moz, 24 June 2015. [Online]. Available: https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics. [Accessed 21 September 2017]. [2] WikiHow community, "How to Add Google Analytics to your Website," WikiHow, [Online]. Available: http://www.wikihow.com/Add-Google-Analytics-to-Your-Website. [Accessed 21 Sept 2017]. [3] Google Team, "Example Account Structures," Google Analytics Help, [Online]. Available: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1102152?hl=en. [Accessed 21 September 2017].
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