Google Analytics Basics: How to Set it up Properly

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Google Analytics is the most well-known analytics program for digital marketing. The best part? It is absolutely FREE!

Digital marketing without using analytics is like driving a car in the night without any lights and your dashboard is not working. You do not know where you are going. You do not know how fast you are going. You do not know if you are heading in the right direction or not.

It is not any better than traditional marketing. Think of billboard ads and tv commercials. You invest a lot in producing them in terms of money and time. Then, you do not have a direct way of measuring their impact to your business.

It does not have to be that way. Google Analytics is fairly simple to setup (and use for that matter).

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There are three phases in setting up Google Analytics properly. Each phase is also broken into two parts.

How to Setup Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics can be divided into three (3) phases:

  1. Creation of the necessary accounts
  2. Installing the code to your website
  3. Checking (and troubleshooting, if necessary) the data

Phase 1: Creation of Accounts

Creating the necessary accounts is the first step.

You will need to create (or login to) a Gmail account. From there, head on over to the Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM) websites.

You need both GA and GTM accounts because the former allows you to analyze your website while the latter allows you to make changes to your website without having to learn code; thus, future-proofing your website.

Step 1: Create a Google Analytics Account

  1. Go to analytics.google.com
  2. Login to your Gmail account
  3. Sign up for a Google Analytics account
  4. Choose Website
  5. Input Basic Information About Your Company and Website
  6. Scroll Down and Get Tracking ID
  7. Accept Terms of Service
  8. Take note of your Tracking ID.

Step 2: Create a Google Tag Manager Account

  1. Go to tagmanager.google.com
  2. Login to your Gmail account
  3. Enter your company name (account)
  4. Enter your website’s domain (container)
  5. Choose Web
  6. Accept Terms of Service
  7. Copy the two sets of code given

Phase 2: Installing the Code

Before editing or making any changes — whether that’s adding or updating a plugin, or editing the code directly— it’s best practice to create a backup of your website first.

Installing the code involves two parts as well.

First, you setup Google Analytics inside Google Tag Manager. Next, you install the GTM code on your website.

Again, the primary reason why you should setup your analytics this way is because GTM allows you to change settings or add other code in your website without having to tinker with code. You just install the GTM code and add/edit/delete codes inside GTM. To learn more about how you can do this, check out my article on Google Tag Manager.

Step 1: Install Google Analytics code in Google Tag Manager

  1. Get your Google Analytics Tracking ID
  2. Login to Google Tag Manager
  3. Choose the container name you just created
  4. Add a new tag
  5. Name the tag as “GA Pageview”
  6. Choose Google Analytics
  7. Choose Universal Analytics as a tag type
  8. Create a new variable
  9. Name the variable as “gaProperty”
  10. Choose constant
  11. Enter your GA Tracking ID (Phase 1, Step 1)
  12. Click continue
  13. Choose to fire tag on “All Pages”
  14. Create Tag

Step 2: Install the Google Tag Manager code on your WordPress website

This part assumes you are using a WordPress-hosted website. Earlier, there are two sets of code you have to install.

I have provided here two separate options for you to take:

Option 1: Install via header.php file
  1. Login to Google Tag Manager
  2. Choose the container name you want to use
  3. Go to Admin
  4. Choose Install Google Tag Manager
  5. Copy the code
  6. Login your WordPress dashboard
  7. Go to Appearance, then Editor
  8. Search for the header.php file
  9. Paste the code immediately after the opening body tag
  10. Update the File
Option 2: Install via the functions.php file (Genesis Framework)

Before editing or making any changes — whether that’s adding or updating a plugin, or editing the code directly— it’s best practice to create a backup of your website first.

This second option is what I recommend, especially if you are using the Genesis Framework.

  1. Go to your theme’s editor and add it to the functions.php file.
  2. Login to your WordPress account.
  3. Go to Appearance > Editor.
  4. At the right-hand portion, click on the functions.php.
  5. Scroll down until you see the end of the lines of code there. Remember to not touch anything else. A single mistake there can break your entire site.
  6. Add your code
  7. Hit save

Copy this entire code and paste it there, then replace the GTM-ABCDEF section with your own container ID.

// Add Google Tag Manager code in <head>
add_action( 'wp_head', 'google_tag_manager_head' );
function google_tag_manager_head() { ?>
	
//Replace this entire line with the first part of the code <head>

<?php }


// Add Google Tag Manager code immediately below opening <body> tag
add_action( 'genesis_before', 'google_tag_manager_body' );
function google_tag_manager_body() { ?>
	
//Replace this entire line with the second part of the code <body>

<?php }

You’ll then have something that looks like this…

// Add Google Tag Manager code in <head>
add_action( 'wp_head', 'google_tag_manager_head' );
function google_tag_manager_head() { ?>
	
    <! – Google Tag Manager – >
<script>(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start':
new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src=
'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-ABCDEF');</script>
<! – End Google Tag Manager – >

<?php }


// Add Google Tag Manager code immediately below opening <body> tag
add_action( 'genesis_before', 'google_tag_manager_body' );
function google_tag_manager_body() { ?>
	
<! – Google Tag Manager (noscript) – >
<noscript><iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-ABCDEF"
height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe></noscript>
<! – End Google Tag Manager (noscript) – >

<?php }

Phase 3: Checking the Data

Just like the rest of this post, this is divided into two parts as well:

  1. Click on preview inside Google Tag Manager.
  2. Check real-time data in Google Analytics
  3. If it’s working, then hit publish

Step 1: Preview Your Container in GTM

  1. Go to your GTM account
  2. Click on preview at the top-right portion. The page will reload.
  3. Open a new tab and open your website.
  4. You should see the “tags” firing at the bottom of the screen
  5. If the tag is present, it’s working properly.
Google Tag Manager - Preview Tags Firing on Your Website

Step 2: Look at Real-Time Data in GA

  1. Go to your Google Analytics account
  2. Make sure you are in the Reports tab
  3. Click Real-Time
  4. Click Overview
  5. Open another tab in your browser and load any page on your website
  6. Go back to GA to see if it is working
    1. If it’s working, go back to GTM and click on “leave preview mode”
    2. If it’s not, it’s either you configured it wrong, or a plugin is preventing it from loading. Usually, ad blockers from your browser are the culprit.
Google Analytics Real-Time

Step 3: Publish Your Container

After verifying the data is coming in correctly, head back to Google Tag Manager and click on the submit button at the right-hand side.

You’ll be asked a few details to help you remember the changes you did. Once you’re done, click on Publish.

And that’s it.

You have now installed Google Analytics properly on your website using Google Tag Manager. Again, this is the ideal setup for adding code and apps to your website. That way, you don’t have to go through this setup again.

The next time you want to add code to your website, like the Facebook Pixel or your email marketing tracking code, or an A/B optimization software, you only have to add it via Google Tag Manager.

Commandment 6: Honor Google and Other SERPs

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People use the internet to search for answers to problems they have, no matter how mundane they are. This includes asking what is the weather tomorrow in Tagaytay; or how much is 1 USD to Philippine peso; or what are the top 10 restaurants in Maginhawa?

If you are following the 10 commandments for effective digital marketing, you should be creating content that is helpful, relevant, and use those keywords you want your business or brand to be associated with.

This tactic is what people commonly refer to as search engine optimization (SEO). When people type certain keywords on search engines, you’d want to appear in the search results that are relevant to your business or brand.

However, search engines such as Google continually change the rules of the game. In fact, just a couple of months ago (while being on a hiatus), Google implemented an update to its algorithm that could make your organic traffic drop at least by 5% when your website is not mobile-friendly.

The question now remain is how do you keep up?

As marketers, you are busy. You do not have enough time to remember and read all these updates and changes.

The answer is really quite simple — you plan for the future and execute strategies accordingly.

Wait, what?

Look. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

Just go through the history of Google updates (and if you want even Facebook’s news feed algorithm updates), there is always one underlying reason for them. The main reason for all these changes is to make it easier for the user to find what they need at that point in time. (HINT: remember commandment #1, be helpful?)

2 Things You Should Do to Make Your Digital Marketing Strategy Futureproof

  1. Learn the basics of how search engines work and the importance of keywords
  2. Work smarter, not harder

The Basics:

The ultimate goal of SEO is to appear in the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). In order for that to happen, there is a widely-accepted belief that there are two factors that affect that:
  1. On-page SEO; and,
  2. Off-page SEO
These factors don’t weigh of equal importance for you to appear on the top of SERPs. In fact, according to HubSpot, on-page SEO is only weighted at roughly 10%; while off-page SEO accounts for 90%.

On-page SEO 

On-page SEO generally refers to how the business / brand is following the rules created Google and other search engines. The elements associated with on-page SEO are things that are within the control of the business / brand.

There are many elements to consider here, but the most important lesson you need to be familiar with is that of keywords.

Keywords are terms businesses and brands want to be associated with when people search online. They play a very important role in digital marketing. And, frankly, it won’t go away anytime soon.

Depending on where you look, you will be presented with different categories of keywords. But I like to make things simple. So, just keep in mind of these 3 categories of keywords:

  1. Branded keywords —> keywords that includes your brand / business / trademarked items. For Apple, branded keywords they want to associate themselves with are iPhone, iPod, Mac, etc.
  2. Generic keywords —> These are keywords that are related to your products or services. Going back to the example above for Apple, some generic keywords they want their company to be associated with could include smartphones, mobile phones, laptops, desktops, etc.
  3. Long-tail keywords —> These are keywords that are unbranded, but expanded generic terms. Again, for Apple, some long-tail keywords could be best touch screen devices, best smartphones all-time, etc.

Off-page SEO

These are factors that you are not directly in control of. Some of these activities are inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited, etc.

Remember the ultimate goal of Google I mentioned above? To bring relevant information to its user easily.

Since there are a LOT of information uploaded to the internet every second,  Google uses an algorithm to index those. It uses a lot of factors to determine its quality.

The stuff I mentioned (inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited) are all indicators of your content being of high quality. And, of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

A) Inbound links
These are links from other people’s websites leading to one of your web pages. For example, you wrote an article about the 7 tools every digital marketing should use. Then, another marketer loved it so much, he created an article and showed how he uses those 7 free tools and linked them back to your site. That is an example of an inbound link (to your site).

B) Bookmarking and multiple pages visited

When you bookmark a page or visit more pages from that website, that signals Google that you like what you found. It suggests that the content you are reading / viewing / listening to are of high quality that you engaged more with the business/brand.

Think about it. When you searched for something, then found that the site takes forever to load. What do you do? Close the browser and move on the next result, right? What if the next page that loads doesn’t really answer your question? You hit back and look for another result.

On-page and off-page SEO matters. As they say with a lot of things, it is a combination of both art and science. You cannot discount technicality because no matter how great your content are but not abiding by the rules, then you will never win. If you are very great technically, but no one wants to read you, you won’t get read and shared.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I know you are busy. I am busy. Who’s not busy nowadays, right? The right question is what are you being busy about?

It is very difficult to keep up with all these changes. Yet, as a marketer, it is your duty to stay abreast of anything that may affect your career. So, instead of reading tons of articles per day, why not just read about them from trusted sources?

I recommend using an RSS aggregator.

Subscribe to authoritative sites such as HubSpot, Mashable, and TechCrunch to learn about what’s happening on the web, technology and marketing field.

I use an app called Feedly. I am subscribed to at least two dozen local and international sites. I don’t read ALL of them. I just browse through the headlines. If it’s relevant to me, I read the entire article. If not, I just scroll through them.

It helps me stay updated with what’s happening in my current industry, role, and profession. That way, I don’t get blind-sided when things erupt.

But you are busy, right? You don’t have time to read all day to catch up. This only takes about 15 minutes each day. You’re not THAT busy. You just don’t know how to manage your commitments.

I open the app during my morning and evening commute. I take the MRT. My ride from Point A to B takes approximately 25 minutes (this doesn’t include the waiting time in between trains). That’s when I read and catch up.

I’m busy too. I just know that if I don’t spend time reading and learning new things, I am passing up on opportunities to make things easier for me.

Some of the things I missed out when I did not follow my own advice (and reasoned out I was too busy)  were the following:

  • Pablo by Buffer
  • Canva
  • Free 1GB Spotify and extra 2GB mobile internet by Globe (by just switching up my plan) at no extra cost

These are two simple things you can change to make your digital marketing strategies futureproof. By planning for the future, you are guaranteed you won’t be blindsided by the changes. And, incorporating a daily habit of reading from trusted sites help you stay updated with that’s happening within your industry. Do these two things and you will be 80% better than your peers who are not doing this.

What Is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing

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Businesses have different definitions for sales and marketing. Read one book, go to a certain school, or listen to a guru — you will get different answers each time. Regardless of where you look, by looking at sales’ and marketing’s primary output helps in simplifying the two business functions.

Primary Difference Between Sales and Marketing

I like to keep things simple.

My definition for marketing is the set of activities that create opportunities for the business to sell whatever they are offering (whether that is products or services). Sales, on the other hand, is the set of activities that turns the opportunities into customers.

In other words, marketing generates leads. Sales turn the leads into customers.

Marketing and sales will have different definitions. What will remain, though, are the activities every business needs: generating leads and closing them.

Lead Generation

Using the Inbound Methodology approach, lead generation is the part where you convert the visitors on your website (or any online properties for that matter) into leads. In this case, lead generation is marketing’s primary output.

If you are a follower of Predictable Revenue, you might have noticed the three (3) types of leads that Aaron Ross is walking about. In this case, lead generation is both the output of marketing (nets) and sales (spears).

Going back to my point earlier, it does not matter really about what definitions you use. What matters, and remains as one of the biggest activities every business has to do is to generate leads.

Closing Leads

Closing leads is another important activity every business needs to do. Without it, you will not have any customers. Without customers, you will not have any revenues.

From the Inbound Methodology approach, leads stays with marketing until they go through the proper lifecycle stages — more specifically, leads are not given to the sales team until they become sales qualified. Until that happens, the lead stays with marketing.

Predictable Revenue follows a similar approach. The lead stays with the prospecting team until the leads are qualified. Once they are a fit, they are passed on to the closers (aka account executives, or the group that is in-charge of closing). If they are not, they are removed from the pipeline. Ideally, they are enrolled into a marketing campaign that you continually send them information until they become sales ready (lead nurturing).

Both the Inbound Methodology and Predictable Revenue have different processes and definitions. One can argue that they are both different because of the context they are used (true). What is similar though is the need for both lead generation and closing leads. These are necessary business activities. Develop these specific skills and you will be a very valuable asset to any company.

The Biggest Factor That Contributes to Website Success

consistency is key

It has been months since I last posted here.

Life happened. No excuses.

I placed more priority to whatever was happening around me that I neglected to allocate time writing helpful content.

Consistency

This is the biggest factor that contributes to your website’s success.

At the beginning of this website, I made an experiment that if I just followed my 10 commandments, I will replicate (or can replicate) whatever success I did in the past.

To a certain extent, I did just that. From September 2014 to March 2015 I was consistent in writing posts (at least once a week). I started from scratch. Heck, I did not even promote it on my social media accounts (at most 10x) in that 7 months.

How did I know it became successful? I ranked for certain keywords! Meaning, someone was searching and my articles showed up!

How Did I Know?

I got linked back by a blog that has an active author. I double-checked and it is consistent as well. What is great is that it aligns with the audience I wanted for my site.

What happened afterwards was I got a couple more link backs but primarily because of that blog.

Remember, I started from scratch. Now I get a steady stream of traffic (low 80’s) but that all happens without me doing anything.

Now, my goal is to increase that by simply being consistent on these things:

  1. Posting articles
  2. That are helpful
  3. And actionable

And, of course, I will have to finalize my site’s design as well. Be consistent with what you are doing. Follow my 10 commandments. You will see your website become a success.

Hope to see you back here again!