Back to Basics: Install your tracking code in under two minutes

Monday, March 02, 2009 | 1:58 PM

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This post is the second post in our "Back to Basics" Series. Last week we covered accounts vs profiles.

Before you can start gathering data about your visitors to your website, the very first thing you have to do is to install the Google Analytics Tracking Code on your site. It sounds simple enough, but this can be a very big hurdle if you're not familiar with editing the pages on your website.

If this sounds like you, you may want to follow the instructions in this post or pass the information along to your webmaster. To prove how easy it can be, we've even timed ourselves to show how you can do this in under two minutes. (By the way, this assumes you've already created a Google Analytics account)

Step 1: Find your personalized Google Analytics Tracking Code (30 seconds)

Sign in to Google Analytics. Select a profile from the accounts Overview page. From that profile's Actions column, click Edit. At the top right of the "Main Website Profile Information" box, click Check Status (look at graphic below to find this link).

Step 2:
Paste the code onto every page of your website (48 seconds)

I used my Blogger account to add the tracking code. All I had to do was add a "Configure HTML/JavaScript" gadget from the "Page Elements" customization section and paste the tracking code into the field.

If you use a different editor (such as Dreamweaver), just follow this rule: paste the Google Analytics code snippet into the bottom of your content, immediately before the "</body>" tag on every page on your site you want to track. You can also use "find and replace" on the "</body>" tag to install the code quickly on multiple pages.
Step 3: Wait 24 hours for your data

Once you've successfully implemented your tracking code, just sit back and relax. Your Website Profile summary page will tell you the status of your installation approximately 24 hours after you finish. To learn what the icons in your summary box means, read this article.

Next Steps

Once you have your tracking code up and running, here are some good next steps:
Do you have a complex site? You may want to consider contacting an Authorized Consultant to get expert advice, or attend a Google Analytics Seminar for Success. If you have another resources to recommend, post a comment and let us know!