(You’ve been warned.)

Some of you indicated, after reading yesterday’s post about the funny/weird searches that directed people to my blog, that you needed some help getting started with Google Analytics. I am no expert by any means but can definitely get you on the path since I use it (in a most basic way!) myself. I’m counting on any of you others who use it to leave helpful tips in the comment section!

First, you’ll need a Google account. If you have a blog that’s a “blogspot” or if you use Google Reader, then you already have a Google account. If not, just sign up for a free account; that’s the easiest part.

The next thing is very important: back up your blog template. I won’t be held responsible if you mess up your template, folks! And it’s a good idea to have a backed-up template anyway, you know?

Then, head over to Google Analytics. Sign in. (Easy so far, right?)

I can’t remember if the blue “Access Analytics” button shows up when you’re first getting started or not (since mine is set up already, I can’t check that), but if it’s there, click it. If not, or after you do click it, you will find the place where you add the url that you want to track (and you can track as many urls as you have inside access to). It’s called “Create New Website Profile”. In order to track your blog or other website, you have to be able to copy the Google Analytics tracking code into your template. It goes right before the “end of body” tag (I can’t type how it really looks here, because my post won’t publish with the code inserted! You can see what it looks like at Google Analytics in the instructions!) in your template, which you can easily find by scrolling through. Find the body tag, and once you find that, you’re on the right track because the end of body tag ends that section. Copy and paste your GA tracking code there, save your template, and you’re off to the races. The addition of this code does not change the look of your blog in any way.

One thing you have to remember is that Google Analytics, unlike other tracking tools like Sitemeter, cannot be viewed in real time. If you want to see today’s stats, you have to look at it tomorrow. Once your tracking code has been installed for a while, you’ll be able to compare your current month to the previous month.

So that’s how you install! I found a Youtube (of course) video to explain some of the usage basics. It’s not very exciting, but life can’t be exciting every minute of the day, I guess. Here you go:

Exciting stuff, huh? I need a nap now. More exciting post to come…eventually. *sigh*