Linking your artist website to Google Analytics
In the last chapter we explored how to give your artist website the best chance of being found by interested parties in search engines using SEO. But how do you know if the strategies you’ve put in place are working? You need to monitor the amount of traffic to your website, where it’s coming from and what your visitors are doing once they get onto your site.
Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you do all of this and so much more. Before we get into the technicalities of installing Google Analytics on your artist website, let’s take a look at why it’s essential.
Why every artist website needs Google Analytics
The analytics provided by Google will give you the following information.
How many people are visiting your site
Access information on the amount of traffic you are getting. See how many unique page views you receive on any particular day. This is the most general part of the analytics, but can be extremely helpful as a broad tracking tool; are you improving, staying the same or losing visitors?
Who is visiting your site
You can find out where your visitors are in the world, what language they speak, plus their age and gender. You can even find out what their interests are. This can be a great way of pin-pointing who your art is attracting and who to aim your website content at, thus increasing the chances of making a long-term connection with the visitors of your site.
What visitors do on your website
Going even deeper, you can see which pages are the most popular and how long people are staying on them. This is particularly useful in identifying which of your blog posts or pages is proving the most engaging and helping you plan future content.
When visitors go to your site
By seeing exactly when the busiest period of the day for your site is, you can decide on the most effective time to publish new content.
Where on the internet the visitors come from
I find this a particularly useful insight from Google Analytics, as it can identify exactly which of your other marketing efforts are working. If Facebook is a big source of traffic, it shows that you are doing a particularly good job on that platform. It can also show your weak spots; do you need to improve your SEO to get more traffic in from Google?
How visitors interact with your content
You’ll be shown exactly what percentage of users clicked on which link, where they went to after they’d viewed a post, and much more.
Signing up for Google Analytics
OK, now let’s take a look at how to connect your site to Google Analytics.
1. Navigate to Google.com/Analytics.
2. If you already have a Google or Gmail account, sign in. If not, click on ‘Create Account’ and go through the required process.
3. Once you have been directed to the following page, click on ‘Sign up’ (this is to sign up for an Analytics account, which is connected to your Google account).
4. The next page is a self-explanatory form that you need to complete with your website address etc. Once you are done, click on ‘Get Tracking ID’ – this is what you’ll need for your website to send information to Google Analytics.
5. Accept the ‘Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement’ by clicking ‘I Accept’.
6. You’ll then be taken to this page:
Scroll down until you see the heading ‘Website tracking’. Select the tracking code and copy it (cmd+c on a Mac, ctrl+c on Windows).
Installing Analytics on your WordPress website
There are several ways to install the Google Analytics code on your WordPress website. For the beginner, the easiest way is to first install a free, non-obtrusive, light-weight plugin called Insert Header and Footer. This plugin allows you to add code to the header or footer of your site. To install the plugin:
1. Sign in to the admin area of your WordPress website. From your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘Plugins’>’Add New’.
2. In the ‘Search’ field, type ‘Insert header and footer’ and click ‘Search Plugins’.
3. From the list of plugins, find ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ and click ‘Install Now’.
4. Once the installation process is complete, click ‘Activate Plugin’.
5. Next, go to ‘Settings’>’Insert Headers and Footers’.
6. In the field labelled ‘Scripts in headers’, paste the code you copied earlier from Google Analytics.
7. If you now go to Google.com/Analytics, you should see a page similar to the one below. Underneath your website name, click on ‘All Web Site Data’.
Because, you’ve only just installed Analytics on your site, there won’t be any pertinent information displayed yet, but after a couple of days you’ll be able to revisit this page to start monitoring the progress of your artist website.