Google Analytics for WordPress: Easily Measure What Matters

The final installment in my WordPress Website series demystifies how to use

Google Analytics

for WordPress. First, what is Google Analytics? It’s a measurement tool that analyzes the traffic to your website.

If you’re a statistics geek, you’ll love it and won’t need to read this article. You’ll feel right at home. If you’re not a stats geek, read on to learn how to measure what matters on your WordPress website.

How to Install Google Analytics (no coding necessary)

Before Google Analytics (GA) can measure anything, you need to add some tracking code to your website that looks like this:


While many business owners hire a developer to install this code or get frustrated trying to do it themselves, I’ll save you the hassle of both. The foolproof method of installing GA is to use the Yoast Google Analytics plugin. Install this plugin on your WordPress website, give it your tracking code, and you’re all set. You’ll see statistics about your site within 24 hours.

Now, Google Analytics is a number-lovers dream. But small business owners don’t have time to wade through layers and layers of analytics to figure out what matters most to their businesses. So here are the Top 3 Google Analytics Metrics for Small Business: what they are, why they matter, and how to get them.

80/20 Rule for Google Analytics

These three metrics are the 80/20 rule of Google Analytics: 20% of your business comes from 80% of your effort.

1. Who is my audience?

GA calls this Audience Overview, and it tells you who is coming to your website and how they’re using it:

google analytics visitors report wordpress

Who is visiting my website?

The most important metrics here are:

    • Unique Visitors – how many people visited your website
    • Avg Visit Duration – how long they stayed
    • % New Visits – what percentage were new to your site (a high percentage of New Visits means people aren’t returning)
    • Bounce Rate – what percentage looked at only one page on your site and left (they didn’t find what they were looking for)
    • Unique Visitors – how many people visited your website

A good Bounce Rate for an entire site is around 60% or below. Higher means that people aren’t finding what they needed, so they left immediately. So what do you do with this report? Use it as a baseline for visitor behavior on your website. Watch for peaks and dips, and identify what you did on the site to motivate them.

2. Where is my traffic coming from?

This metric is called Traffic Source in GA terms, and it’s critical to understand where your website visitors are coming from. How do they find out about your website? And what sources drive the most traffic?

google analytics source report wordpress

Where are my visitors coming from?

The four main metrics here are:

    • Traffic Source Pie Chart – what percentage of traffic comes from Search, Referral, and Direct?
    • Search Traffic>Keyword – the terms people use to search for your website
    • Referral Traffic>Source – what websites link to yours and send you traffic
    • Direct Traffic>Landing Page – when people come to your website directly from a bookmark or typing in their browser, what page they arrive on

So what do you do with these metrics? Identify what your main traffic sources are, then focus on attracting more of it. If you’re getting a lot of Search Traffic, then optimize your site for search engines (SEO 101 teaches you how to do this). If one website is sending you a lot of referral traffic, reach out to them more often. If you’re getting a lot of Direct Traffic to one or two Landing Pages, people find those useful to return to them, so create similar pages on your site.

3. What is my most popular content?

This metric is called Pages in GA terms, and it tells you the most popular content you have on your website. It doesn’t have to be a page (even though GA calls them that); it could be a blog post, an infographic, or a video. But this metric will tell you which page of your website gets the most traffic over time:

google analytics pages reports wordpress

What are your top 5 most-visited pages?

The three key metrics here are:

    • Page – the name of your page
    • Page Visits – total number of visits to this page over the time period (day/week/month/year)
    • Bounce Rate – how many people came, viewed, and left after seeing that one page only. Same metric as in #1, but for an individual page.

So what do you do with these metrics? Identify your top five most-visited pages: these are your money pages, that attract traffic to your website.

Identify what content is most popular with your visitors, then develop a plan for creating similar content that your audience finds useful.

If your Bounce Rate is 100%, people aren’t finding what they need on that page. Figure out how to improve that content so visitors stay on it longer.

Tip: For your most popular pages, it’s helpful to understand what traffic sources drive the most visitors to them. You can view this by clicking on Secondary Dimension, then Source. GA displays the top sources of traffic for each page.

Google Analytics 101 for Business

These three metrics are the 80/20 rule of GA: 20% of your business comes from 80% of your efforts. Audience Overview, Traffic Source, and Pages are the 20% of GA you need to pay attention to. Sure, you can get lost in the sea of data GA presents, but I’ve saved you from that. Focus on these key statistics, and you’ll see your business website improve in traffic, return visitors, and sales.

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Maria Peagler is the founder of Maria Peagler Digital, a serial entrepreneur, and award-winning author/publisher of nine books. She is an award-winning artist in both watercolor and quilting. She is married to her husband of 30 years, mom to two adult sons, and enjoys hiking in the north Georgia mountains.

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