Google analytics for dummy shepherds like Timo

Timo asked me some time ago how he can install Google analytics on his blog. He claims to be a dummy shepherd who doesn’t know how to click around. I’m not much brighter than him, but I’ve promised to dedicate him a post on my blog which has ten times less readers than his blog (or could it be twenty times less? Maybe just fifteen times…God knows! What’s clear is that we’re not playing in the same league). Who’s this Timo person? No worries, we’ll get to gossip a bit at the end of this article. Let’s first finish our assignment.

What can Google Analytics do?

Before we go through the step-by-step installation process, maybe you’re wondering why you need Google analytics. If you have a blog or a website, it’s useful to know how many readers you have, what time they read your blog, what countries and cities they come from, which are your most popular articles, how did those people get to your blog or maybe you’re just curious to know the type of phones your readers use (yeah,  I was also surprised, but you can actually find that out!).

It’s useful because you get feedback even if your readers are too busy to send you an e-mail about how much your articles suck. You find out which are the articles that people read, which are the ones that are closed after 10 seconds, you know how much time people spend on your blog and how many pages they read, you find out what works and what doesn’t work. Look, for example, at the sessions and page views graphic for my blog between 1st of March until the 5th of April:

The difference between a session and a page view is that a session can have more views. For example, if Jane checks out your blog today, it means that one of the sessions will come from her. But maybe Jane really likes your blog and ends up reading more posts, maybe even 7. In this case, you would have 7 page views from Jane.

Don’t laugh at my statistics, I already know I don’t have a lot of readers. I’m just at the beginning. Besides, my grandpa doesn’t have internet. That’s not what matters. I wanted to point out that it fluctuates based on a series of variables: how active I am in a given week, the subjects I’m writing about, how many people find out about what I’m writing etc. etc.

About a month ago (there, on the 28th of March), I reluctantly went back to Facebook. It already shows in the graphic, beginning of April there were already more readers than before. (Yes, Brîndu, I know you were right!)

Between the 22nd and the 30th of March I didn’t post anything, so there were no readers.

On the 7th/8th of March there weren’t many users on the blog (really few sessions), but there were relatively many page views. This was mainly because Mițălău, a good friend, former high school classmate, read my blog intensively those days. He sent me an e-mail to let me know that he’s up to date with all my posts. The reason behind it? He met Dani (another former high school classmate) who knew about my crazy life not because he talked to me (Hey, Dani, drop an e-mail when you have some time, I haven’t heard anything from you in years!), but because he came across my blog. Mițălău, with whom I exchange e-mails relatively often, said he felt a bit guilty, so he decided to catch up.

I also like to pretend I’m a little spy and check out the countries and cities my readers are in:

And this is cool, because I know that in Sale and Manchester it’s just Kanti and friends of his, in Grenada it’s just Kathy, in Shanghai I think it’s just James, in Hunedoara it’s just my sister, in Brazil it’s just Michael (the founder of bennamibia.org who’s trying to get a volunteer visa for me), in France I think it’s just Flo, in Denmark it’s just Jenni and Minna, in UK the number of my readers went up since Luci came back from holiday and in Cluj it’s Cuciu. I’m a little spy! The rest of the places have a mix of people.

Another cool thing about Google analytics is that you can see how people got to your blog. Maybe they found you through another blog, maybe from Facebook, maybe from twitter, maybe they searched something on google, maybe they have your blog at favourites and connect directly, maybe from the newsletters you send out. And you see the data like this:

For each category, you can click again and you’ll see more details. I’ll show you what’s under social:

So, yeah, Facebook rules, I can’t deny that…

Alright…that’s pretty much everything you can do with Google analytics. I still don’t use it at its true potential, I don’t have enough readers for that (yet). It’s more for fun, to pretend that I’m a spy.

How do you install Google analytics?

Seriously now, Timo, any dummy shepherd can do this. Check out the explanations below with small baby steps:

Step 1. Go to the Google analytics page. If you already have a gmail account, you’ll be able to use it to log it. Otherwise, you’ll have to make one before. Either way, you’ll have to create a Google analytics account. So go down on the page and click the green button under Google Analytics that says “Sign up for free”. Insert there all the information they want. You should set it as “website”, no “mobile”. After you’ve written down all the information of your blog/website, click “Get Tracking Code”.

Step 2. Copy the code that was just generated for you. You’ll need it later.

Step 3. Go back to your blog (assuming you’re using WordPress like Timo?). Go to WordPress Dashboard – Plugins – Add new and search “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP”. Click “install now”.

Step 4. On the left menu of your WordPress, you should see ”Google Analytics” somewhere. Click there. You want to get to ”General settings”.

Step 5. Click ”Authorize plugin”.

Step 6. Now you need the tracking code that you’ve copied somewhere in step 2. There should be a category named ”Access Code”. Copy-paste in and click ”save access code”. If it doesn’t work, follow the link provided on your blog that says ”get access code”. There’s even a quick video to help.

Step 7. Done. Now you can go to Dashboard and play with your new plugin. You can also check the google analytics statistics directly on the website. I usually check the website (my pictures are from the website). Although it’s easier to click on the dashboard, there are more details on the website.

Alright…we’re now done with the installation process. You just have to click a bit around so that you can start using google analytics like a pro shepherd.

My dear Timo, did you manage to install google analytics now? Otherwise, let me know. I offer free consultancy services for broke stars.

So who’s this Timo guy after all? Alright, let’s start the gossip. Maybe you’ve already heard about him…he’s rather famous in Romania. He’s this crazy guy who’s been trying for the past 6 years to hitchhike around the world, although he’s always broke. Crazy Transylvanian like myself. He just managed to do that two/three month ago. Now he’s back to Romania for a while, although he might move to another place soon. Maybe he’ll get hired in Germany. We don’t know each other personally, but we read each other every now and then since we’re both off our trolleys. He also likes long e-mails, although he’s a Facebook master. That kind of master to whom you can’t send a friendship request, only he can send one to you, some sort of a James Bond. So I’m honoured to have him in my Facebook list and even more so to get long e-mails from him.

If you want to find him, but don’t know how, he’s usually writing on this dummy shepherd blog of his. He’s a good guy. He deserves this special dedication.

***Einstein image: copyright to Dondy Razon on Flickr

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