Step 6: Install analytics.
To tally up all the readers that visit your blog, you’ll need a lot more than your fingers and toes. That’s where analytics programs come in: they keep tabs of the number of pageviews, visitors, bounce rates, and more.
(Note: Unlike WordPress.com, the WordPress.org dashboard lacks an analytics viewer. You may install a plugin from WordPress.org that mimics your WordPress.com analytics or sign up for one of the free fancier services below. I highly recommend the latter.)
Many bloggers (myself as well) chose Google Analytics. Other options include Trace Watch, GoingUp!, and AWStats. Google Analytics offers a wide range of categories to monitor your visitors, such as Referral Source, Location City, Mobile Devices, and Demographics; and you can even watch the live numbers in their Real-Time Screen!
To sign up for the service, open a new browser window and head to their homepage. Click on the “Access Google Analytics” button in the top right corner. On the ensuing page, click “Sign Up.”
The screen above should appear. (At the time of this post, Universal Analytics was still in beta.) Choose your preferred option.
In the following section, type in an account name (preferably related to your blog!), your blog’s name, and the URL. Pick your blog’s category from the drop-down menu (I’m a food blogger!) and your current time zone.
Under “Data Sharing Services,” select the boxes that you feel comfortable with. Then click “Get Tracking ID,” and agree to their Terms and Services.
The next screen contains your Tracking ID. (It’ll be in place of that gray box!) Underneath this text, you’ll see the tracking HTML code. Copy it to your clipboard.
Open a new web browser, and log into your blog’s dashboard. Under “Appearance” in the dashboard sidebar, select “Editor.” On the right side of the screen, click on “Footer” (or “footer.php”). Scroll down until you see “</footer>” and paste the tracking HTML code just below this.
Now head back to the Google Analytics web browser window, and click on “Reporting” in the top navigation bar. The following screen will probably be blank right now, but in a few hours, it’ll start registering visitors on your blog!
Other Steps in This Series…