Google Analytics is a free data collection and analysis tool for your website provided by Google.
Uses and Benefits
It serves to give insight into how your website is performing. It provides information on how many visitors your site is getting, how your users are interacting with the site, which pages or content are being viewed the most and what parts of the page are drawing user clicks. It also provides data regarding how your users are getting to your site and where they are coming from. All of this information can ultimately be used to optimize your site usability, strengthen your marketing efforts and help to build a website that will draw and convert your targeted audience. It also provides information and opportunities to gauge how effective your organization’s marketing efforts are (email, advertising, etc).
Access and Getting Started
All you need to get started using Google Analytics is a Google account (if you have a Gmail account you also have a Google Account). You can set up a new Google account if you do not already have one by going to https://accounts.google.com/SignUp. This will bring you to a simple form which you will need to fill out. You can see the form below.
Once you have a Google account you will have access to the full set of Google services including Google Analytics. Please note that the Google Analytics account is forever owned by the Google account that initially sets it up. What this means is that once a domain is added to a Google account, no matter how many additional account administrators you add, you cannot transfer the ownership of the analytics account to another Google account. It is forever wedded to the Google account you used to set it up initially. As such, if this account is being set up for organizational use, it may be best to set up a generic account such as CompanyNameAdmin so that the organization rather than an individual staffer retains control and access to the account at all times.
Once you have your Google account you can go to https://www.google.com/analytics and click “sign in”. After you have logged in you should click on the "admin" navigation in the top right corner of the orange bar and then click the button that says “+ New Account” (see below).
This will bring you to a form that you have to fill out in order to create a new account that is tied to the website that you want to start tracking. This form will be a few pages long (see page 1 below).
On the second page Google will provide some tracking code that you can add to your site in order to start tracking your site’s activity. If you have a Non-profit Soapbox site, you don’t have to add in the entire bit of code. Instead you can just grab the UA-XXXXXXXX-X number from the tracking code that is provided and give it to a PICnetter to put into the Google Analytics plugin on your site (see image below to help you identify the UA number unique to your account). If you want to try to tackle updating the plugin yourself and get more info about Google Analytics check out the knowledge Base article Install Google Analytics code to track traffic.
That's it! Your site now is being tracked in Google Analytics and you can login to your Analytics account to view tons of data about your site including how many site visitors your site gets, which pages are the most popular, and much more. To learn more about Google Analytics go to http://www.google.com/analytics/features/index.html.