Google Analytics is used widely by business to monitor progress and generate user reports in real time.

Google Analytics is one of the best options out there for tracking your website performance, and it’s completely free to use. The data you receive will give you key insights into your visitors and may even help you turn them into customers.

[Read more: Google Analytics: 6 Little-Known Features for Businesses]

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a full-service tracking system that helps you better understand your audience. It tracks website visitors, lets you know what links they click on and how you acquired them in the first place.

Google Analytics turns this data into detailed reports that help you monitor your website performance in real time. This market analysis shows you what’s going well and where you can stand to make improvements.

And the service is free to use as long as you don’t go over 5 million impressions per month. The free version is sufficient for most users, but if you need something more robust, there is an upgraded option called Google Analytics 360.

Google Analytics also offers a free mobile app to track your website's performance while on the go. The app gives you access to all the same metrics and built-in reports optimized for mobile viewing.

[Read more: Best Services for Online Marketing Analytics]

One of the advantages of using Google Analytics is that you can create goals for your site’s performance.

How to get started with Google Analytics

Here are the five steps you’ll take to set up your Google Analytics account:

  • Create a Google account: Setting up your Google Analytics account is fairly simple, but you will need a registered Google email address and password to get started. If you don’t yet have this, you can set up a personal or business Google account.
  • Set up your Analytics account: Once your account is set up, you’ll visit Google Analytics and click on the “Start for Free” button. During the setup process, you’ll register your website’s URL and choose your industry and time zone.
  • Create a property: Registering your website is what’s known as creating a property. And once you’ve registered a new property, you’ll receive a tracking ID that’s specific to your website.
  • Install the tracking ID: Next, you’ll paste this tracking ID on each page of your website. The tracking ID is how Google Analytics will collect data about your website visitors.
  • Verify your tracking ID is working: Setting up the tracking ID is relatively simple, but you want to verify that it’s working correctly. You can check this by looking at the Real-Time reports tab to see if it’s logging any new visitors.

Setting goals in Google Analytics

Once you’ve installed the tracking ID, you can start configuring your Google Analytics settings in the admin menu. One of the advantages of using Google Analytics is that you can create goals for your site’s performance.

Goals help you do more than just monitor how many people are visiting your site. They can help you discover whether your website is helping or hurting your business.

To set up a new goal, you’ll visit your Google Analytics standard reports. Next, you’ll click on the “Admin” button, followed by “Goals.” From there, you can create and name a new goal.

Here are a few areas you might want to set goals around:

  • How many leads you’re getting.
  • Number of free trial signups.
  • What users are searching for on your website.
  • How long visitors stay on your site.

The data you receive gives you insight into where your visitors are in the sales cycle and helps you see where you can improve. For example, if your website visitors frequently search for a particular item on your site, you may want to provide a more visible link to that product or page.

You could also check the user searches to see what kind of information your visitors are looking for. This could help you come up with new content ideas for your blog.

[Read more: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website]

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