Google Analytics is a powerful online tool that provides detailed, comprehensive data about your website. Enabling Google Analytics is quick and easy, and once it's installed, Google will start to collect all kinds of useful information about visitors, page views and more.
Choosing a Webhost
Plenty of affordable web hosting providers offer the features described in this article. If you're looking for a new host, or ready to switch, remember to evaluate hosting company ratings and host user reviews on hosting review websites before making a purchasing decision.
Web host ratings, and impartial reviews from web host users, will help you narrow down your search for a new host, safe in the knowledge that your provider offers all the tools you need.
Setting Up Google Analytics
To get started with Google Analytics, you'll need to create an account for your website. You can do this very quickly at, Google Analalytics. If you have an existing Gmail or Google Apps login, it's a good idea to use that; you can also create a new account if you prefer.
- Under Account Administration, click New Account.
- Fill in the form with your website details, and give your new account a memorable name.
When you submit the form, your site will be assigned a unique tracking ID in the format UA-XXXXXXXX-X.
Copy and paste this unique ID into a text file so you can easily refer to it later.
Integrating Google Analytics
Enabling Google Analytics is quick and easy. There are various ways to integrate it into your website, including:
- Using a free plugin to integrate Google Analytics (if your blogging tool, ecommerce software or CMS supports this).
- Editing the source code and manually pasting the Google Analytics tracking code into the footer of each page (or the footer template, if you have one).
- Adding Google Analytics to an entire domain through your hosting control panel.
Since this guide is for web hosting customers specifically, we'll look at option 3.
Enabling Google Analytics in a Control Panel
Adding Google Analytics to cPanel is the quickest way for non-technical users to harness the power of Analytics. We're going to use cPanel as an example, since it normally supports this feature.
Note: If your host doesn't offer cPanel, or you don't see the option to use Google Analytics in cPanel, you will need to use method 1 or 2, above.
- Navigate to cPanel and log in. If you're not sure how to get to cPanel, check the welcome email your host sent to you when you first signed up for your web hosting account.
- Click the Google Analytics Integration icon.
- Paste in the unique ID for your site and Save.
That's it – your Google Analytics account is now tracking page views, visitor data and other useful snippets of information.
Repeat the process for any other domains, but don't forget to use the unique ID provided for each new account.
Setting Up Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools offers an additional layer of control and analysis, beyond the set of features provided by Google Analytics. Using Webmaster Tools, you can see any errors that your site is generating, submit a sitemap and examine ways to optimise your site for better performance in search.
First, you'll need to create a new Google Webmaster Tools profile for your site at Google Webmaster Tools
- Enter your site URL and click Continue.
- Download the HTML verification file provided.
- Go back to your hosting control panel and click the File Manager icon.
- Navigate to your website root folder (normally /public_html) and upload the verification file provided by Google.
Once the upload is complete, switch back to Google Webmaster Tools. Click the orange Verify button to complete the setup procedure.
Using Analytics and Webmaster Tools
You'll need to wait a few weeks for Analytics to gather meaningful data about your website. Once information starts to flow in, you'll be in a good position to take control of your website and understand how your visitors are interacting with it.
In the meantime, it's a good idea to submit a sitemap in Webmaster Tools so that Google has a perfect picture of the structure and content of your site. Once the site map has been processed, you can also check and fix errors and get an insider's look at how Google really ‘sees' your content. That will arm you with the information you need to make improvements and fix any issues that could cause your visitors problems.
Claire is a creative content writer working for WhoIsHostingThis.com,an independent hosting review website.
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