Building a website is not difficult. You have created a website that has relevant content to a niche that you are passionate about. But just creating a website is not enough until you know the performance of your website. How many people are visiting your website? What is the source of traffic? Is it organic, direct, or referral? What are the most-viewed pages of your website? Likewise, there are many questions that you need to answer by setting up tracking tools for your website. In this post, I will tell you how to add tracking to a website with Google and other tools that are easy to install and important from a tracking perspective.
What is website tracking?
Website tracking relates to your website data in terms of its online performance among search engines. The aim of every website is to have more and more traffic that will result in higher conversions and sales.
This is the reason it is important to link your website with appropriate analytic tools so that you can analyze and measure the current performance of your website, and then take necessary actions to improve your website performance on an ongoing basis.
When should you add website tracking?
Most people tend to start gathering information about their website too early. It is not wrong to do so but the early trends and statistics are not encouraging when your website is new. It doesn’t make sense to track your website performance until you have enough content, and your website has gained momentum and authority among search engines.
The drawback of tracking a website too early may halt your overall progress and digress your mind from working on it further.
Make sure to have decent content at least 20-30 posts and a few of them indexed in search engines before you actually add tracking to your website.
What are the tools to add tracking to a website?
As we know the purpose of building a website is to know its performance and the best resources are search engines. So, it is better to take the help of the tools associated with search engines like Google, and Bing.
Since Google captures almost 70% of the online searches it also provides a comprehensive set of tools to track the website performance. They are called Google Analytics and Google Search Console. For the remaining 30%, we will use the Bing webmaster tool.
How do Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Bing Webmaster tools help to track a website?
Google Analytics – Google Analytics is the first choice to track the website’s performance. The tool is helpful in providing you with insights into the audience’s behavior.
Google Analytics will give you the data on the visiting source of your audience, the pages/posts they visited, the engagement time spent by your visitors, and the demographics such as the actual location and devices used.
Google Search Console – Google Search Console is another product from Google that is helpful in tracking your website performance. More than the behavior the tool is helpful in tracking the rankings of your posts/pages, internal and external links of your website, detects the website issues such as page errors or speed.
Google Search Console can also be used as a communicator between Google and your website by using its URL inspection and Sitemap features.
Bing Webmaster – Other than Google, Bing is another player that is used to perform the remaining 30% of searches. Bing has an analytical tool called Bing Webmaster. The tool is very similar to Google Search Console with additional features related to SEO, Backlinks, and your visitors tracking from Microsoft.
One of the main reasons to have these three tools for tracking is because they are interlinked and use each other for verification when you do the setup.
How to add tracking to a website?
Now to go ahead with the tracking of your website you will need to set up the tracking in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Bing Webmaster. And to do that, first, you will need to have an account with these tools if you are a first-time user.
Google Analytics Setup
You can create a new account by signing in or using any existing Google ID such as a Gmail account to access all three platforms.
Go to https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/ and click on the ‘Start for free’ button to create your Google Analytics account. Google Analytics allows its users to create 100 accounts with the same email id.
The first step is to enter your account name. The account name could be anything such as your own name, website name, etc. I personally recommend you to put your own name or a company name under which you can link multiple websites.
After that choose the Account Data Sharing options as per your own needs.
The next step is to choose the type of application you want to measure. In the case of a website choose ‘Web’.
Once you have chosen the application next step is to do a Property Setup. Enter the required details in the property setup screen related to your website and click on ‘Create’.
Enter the website name relevant to your niche. Make sure to enter the correct website URL. If not sure, copy the URL by visiting your website and pasting it into the box. Ensure to remove the HTTPS/ as it is already available in the website URL field. Choose the relevant Industry Category according to your niche and select the appropriate country option to detect the time zone.
Once the property setup is done Google Analytics will generate a tracking code that you will have to enter onto your website to connect both the applications. The tracking code will start with UA-*******.
Next, go to your website dashboard and follow the below path to find and enter the Google Analytics tracking code.
Website dashboard > SEO Plugin option > General settings > Google Analytics > Google Analytics ID.
Once you have entered the code don’t forget to save the changes.
Note: The path may differ with the type of SEO plugin you are using so ensure to enter the tracking code in the correct field. Basically, the field should be available under the Google Analytics option.
Your analytics account setup is now complete.
Google Analytics has also come up with another version of tracking under the name G4 or Google Analytics 4. While the above setup is enough to find the analysis you can do the additional setup of G4 that will give you some enhanced features and details about your website. G4 setup is recommended but not obligatory.
To set up a new G4 account follow the first two steps as it is from the above process.
After you have completed the Account Data Sharing options click on ‘Next’. This will take you to the next page where you have to enter Property Setup details.
Once you have entered the Property Setup name click on ‘Show Advanced Options’. It will open a screen like this which will show an option saying ‘Create a Universal Analytics Property’.
Enable the option and it will expand showing a few more options to enter and select. Enter the website URL in the field and by default, the next option will be ticked on ‘Create both a Google Analytics 4 and a Universal Analytics Property’. Leave the option as it is and click on ‘Next’.
The next step is to select the appropriate options from the list depending on your website niche and your purpose of using Google Analytics 4. Once completed, click on ‘Create’.
Accept the terms and conditions and it will open a new screen with more information on instructions and tagging.
Go to Tagging instructions section and expand the Global site tag option (gtag). Copy the code and paste it onto your website coding option.
Here you may need to use a plugin like Code Snippet, or Insert Headers and Footers to paste the code in the ‘Header’ section. So, you can use these free plugins if you already have or download one of them from the ‘Add Plugins’ option.
Once installed, paste the G4 code into the ‘Header’ section and save the changes.
Your G4 analytics setup is now complete.
It may take a few minutes to apply the installation changes. Now to confirm the installation you can head over to your website and open one of the pages or posts. At the same time, go to Google Analytics and check the report option. It should display some statistics like a user active on your website.
The real-time traffic appearance may take up to 24hrs.
You can view both versions of Google Analytics by clicking on the dropdown of all accounts > my websites section and select the version you want to see.
Google Search Console Setup
Setting up Google Search Console becomes quite easy with Google Analytics set up already in place. What you have to do is just insert the URL of your website and verify the account.
Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/about and click on the ‘Start now’ button. You can start using Google Search Console (GSC) with your existing Google or Gmail Id. Once you linked your Google account it will take you directly GSC page with blank data and menus on the left. The next step is to go to the dropdown on the top left and click on ‘Add Property’.
It will open a screen like this where you have to insert your website URL into the second option on the right that says ‘URL Prefix’.
Click on ‘Continue’ and it will start the verification process where it searches for your website’s Google Analytics details. Next, it will ask you to verify the ownership so click on ‘Verify’ and the setup is complete.
The next step is to enter the Sitemap. Go to your website dashboard and you can find the sitemap option under your SEO plugin settings.
Click on sitemaps that will show you a URL something like this yourwebsitename/sitemap.xml. Just copy the URL and paste it into the sitemap section of Google Search Console. It may take some time for a new website to verify the sitemap by GSC.
One last step to complete the overall GSC settings is Association. Now, this is an optional feature that you can use or avoid but I recommend you do so. Go to GSC settings > Property setting > Associations.
Click on Associations and that will pop up a window with your website options. Choose your website and click on Associate to link your Google Analytics account with GSC. This will provide additional data on your website performance from Google Analytics and GSC together.
That’s it. Your final step of the GSC setup is complete.
Bing Webmaster Setup
Now that Google Analytics and Google Search Console setups are complete you can head over to the Bing Webmaster and just import the Google Search Console to complete the setup.
You can again use your existing Google account to sign-up with Bing Webmaster. Next is go to the dropdown on the top left and click on ‘Add a site’ and it will open a screen like this.
Select the GSC option to import your data from Google Search Console for ease of setup.
Click on import and continue options and allow Bing Webmaster to use GSC data for import. Select your website URL and click continue. Press ‘done’ once it successfully completes the import of data from GSC.
With GSC data it will automatically pull the sitemaps as well.
That’s it. The Bing Webmaster Setup is complete with the help of your GSC setup.
I hope you got a fair idea of how to add tracking to a website by reading this article.
Adding or setting up analytical tools is important to know how your website actually performs within search engines and track your visitor’s behavior. And to know that you have to follow the process step-by-step provided in this article.
All the three analytical tools are associated with each other as we have seen during the setup and all of them have their own significance in providing some sort of data or statistics that is important from a tracking perspective.
So, my recommendation is to go ahead and follow the steps to add tracking to your website. This will help you know your audience, increase engagement, and improve conversions that generate consistent revenue.