All posts by Kenshin

Now that you have successfully set up a Google Analytics account and verified that you have data in your profile, you’ll want to begin making sense of all those numbers. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the data that pours in. This is normal. Data analysis always requires lots of data… to analyze.

What’s important to remember is not to let yourself get analysis paralysis instead master the art of actionability by making your analytics data focused and clean. The idea is to make your account readable and intuitive. In order to do this, you first need to create an additional Main Profile to capture all data, then add some standard filters to clean it up. In this lesson, we’ll focus on creating that additional profile.

Step 1: Create an Additional Google Analytics Profile

A ninja’s first step is to make sure that there is always a safe path to unadulterated data. The way to do this is to create a “profile” that will always remain untouched. Your Analytics is automatically stored in a single profile, but you have the option of creating additional profiles that include different filters and goals. These profiles are the ones you will usually look at. But this one untouched profile we are now creating will act as your “backup” profile in case anything goes wrong and you need to start back at square one. It’s like a storage case of throwing stars and katanas that you can always pull out and use if your great new ninja moves don’t cut it.

A – Add new Profile

Once you are logged in to your account, click “Add Website Profile” underneath the list of Website Profiles, on the left side.

Google Analytics Sign Up Account Overview

Google Analytics Account Overview

The “Create New Website Profile” Window will appear.

Google Analytics Create New Profile

Google Analytics Create New Profile

In this window, select the “Add Profile to Existing Domain” option.

This ninja never recommend adding multiple domains to one account unless you have a very specific reason for tracking visits across domains (and even then there are better ways of doing it).

Then, type a Profile Name using wording that will distinguish it from your initial profile. I usually use my first default profile as my “Unfiltered” profile and make the new one (which will eventually have filters on it) my “Main” profile.  So, I tend to use the formula “[Site Name] – [Profile Name],” which looks like this “Analytics Ninja – Main” or “Analytics Ninja – Unfiltered.”

Then click the “Finish” button.

Google Analytics will take you back to the Account Overview page where you’ll see you now have two profiles created.  Now would be a good time to rename your first profile.

Google Analytics Account Overview with New Profile

Google Analytics Account Overview with New Profile

B – Rename first Profile

You’ve just created an additional profile. On the Account Overview Page (above) click the “Edit” link to the right of your unnamed profile (it will be the one that looks like

Google Analytics Profile Settings

Google Analytics Profile Settings

Once on the profile page, click another “Edit” link located in the upper right hand corner in the “Main Website Information” pane.  This will bring you to the”Edit Profile Information Page.”

Google Analytics Edit Profile Information

Google Analytics Edit Profile Information

In the “Edit Profile Information” window you’ll now see there’s an editable field to change your “Profile Name.” Edit this to fit the same syntax you used when creating your additional profile above.

Then click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.

Google Analytics Overview - Your New Profiles!

Google Analytics Overview - Your New Profiles!

You now have two profiles a “Main” and an “Unfiltered.”  Right now they both gather the same data but your next ninja lesson is going to make you stealthy by showing you how to filter out your own visits and start normalizing all the precious data that comes in.


Once you have created a generic Google Account you can begin creating your first Google Analytics Account.  I’ve included a Google Analytics Account walkthrough to help new ninjas begin there journey.

Once you complete this lesson, you’ll need work your ninja skills to make sure you’re web developer or all-around-helpful IT guy will install the JavaScript code, but I’m getting ahead of myself and patience is what separates the reporting squirrels from the analysis ninjas.

Step 1: Navigate to Google Analytics

In your Internet browser, go to the Google Analytics page located at:

Google Analytics Page

Google Analytics Page

Step 2: Fill out Necessary Information Forms

On the home page, click the “Sign Up Now” which is located just below the big, blue “Access Analytics” button.  (The url is: in case you want to go directly to the page.)

A – Sign in using Google Account

That will bring you to the Sign Up page (below).  Use your Google Account and login on the right side of the screen to begin the process.

Google Analytics Sign Up Page

Google Analytics Sign Up Page

B – Confirm that you would like to create an Account

Simply click the “Sign Up” button on the left hand side of the screen.  This is a task that even a Reporting Squirrel could do!

Google Analytics Sign Up Process Account

Google Analytics Sign Up Process Account

C – Provide General Information

This is where you’ll have to give Google your website domain name for the account as well as an Account name.  You’ll also want to pick your geographical location and time zone so that all of your reports are configured to your local time zone.

Google Analytics Sign Up General Info

Google Analytics Sign Up General Info

D – Provide Contact Information

This is where a few ninjas begin to sweat.  Yes, you must fill in your contact information.  If you are worried, use an alias to keep your identity under wraps.

Why does Google Analytics want my Phone Number? So they can call you if it looks like you are violating their terms and service agreement (by tracking personally identifiable information – such as name, credit card info, etc. – in your analytics data).

Google Analytics Sign Up Contact Information

Google Analytics Sign Up Contact Information

E – Select Tracking Code

It isn’t crucial that you finalize which code you are going to use at this very moment.  In fact you can just click the “Continue” button if you’d like and decide later.  The important thing to notice right now is that their are two different JavaScript codes that you can use on your site.

New Tracking Code – Has a lot of cleaner functionality and will automatically incorporate new features (Event Tracking, etc.) that Google rolls out.  As Justin Cutroni mentions it’s also smaller for quicker download times.

Legacy Code – I would only use this if you have altered an existing version of urchin.js to manually track downloads/pdfs or other “hacks” (this will be less than 1% of the Ninjas here).  Some rogue ninjas have done a stealthy job building additional functionality on top of the urchin.js legacy code. 

Pick the Tracking code that fits your needs (99% of you will want to use the New Tracking Code).  Copy this information and paste it into a text editor like Notepad.  You’ll need this later in Lesson 2: Installing Google Analytics Tracking Code.

Google Analytics Sign Up Legacy Tracking Code

Google Analytics Sign Up Legacy Tracking Code

Google Analytics Sign Up User Agreement

Google Analytics Sign Up Account Overview

F – User Agreement

This is the final step in the create account process.  Read through the agreement and click on the “Create New Account” button at the bottom (you are finally creating a new Google Analytics Account).

Google Analytics Sign Up User Agreement

Google Analytics Sign Up User Agreement

G – New Account Overview

And voila!  You now have a new Google Analytics Account – you don’t have tracking yet but most reporting squirrels can get this far using Google Analytics, as it just involves a few good clicks of the keypad and mouse in the right order.  If you’ve done everything up to this point right, you’ll see the following Google Analytics Account Overview screen.

Google Analytics Sign Up Account Overview
Gotcha! No include files here.

Now you just need to get that code on your website! 

Step 3: Install Tracking Google Analytics Tracking Code on your Website

There are a few different ways you can get the Google Analytics Tracking Code from Step 2: E installed on your website.  Before we begin, you’ll want to answer the following question:

Who does your basic content updates to your website?

  1. I do!  My website was built from scratch and I know how to change spelling errors and recognize HTML code (and I have access to my website’s files on the hosting server).
  2. I can and use a content mangement tool like WordPress to update my website (I may or may not have access to the hosting server but I can make updates).
  3. My IT department does, and by IT department I may mean some guy I met through a friend who is tinkering with my site on the side.  In fact, I think his email is somewhere around here (and I don’t have access to my website’s files on the hosting server).

If you answered 1.

Congratulations! You are showing the signs of being an analytics ninja.  You have beat the odds and decided to craft a website from scratch, weeding through mind-numbing HTML, CSS, and a host of ther acryonyms.

Once you have confirmed access to your website files on your hosting server (and you can see each page and open them in a file viewer like Notepad, Notepad ++, or Dreamweaver), try to locate a header or footer include file.   

Now, your global include files are normally in this format – or – but depending on your programming language they may have a different extension on the end, or may even be in an “includes” folder (or “_inc” folder).

Here’s a quick glimpse of a website I’ve worked on.

No include files here
Don’t let this happen to you!


Once you find a suitable include file, you’ll want to pull out your tracking code and paste it into your include file so the tracking script gets called on every page.

Your tracking code script (from Step 2:E) should look something like this:

<script type=”text/javascript”> var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); </script> <script type=”text/javascript”> try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-XXXXXXX-1”); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {}</script>


Now you may be wondering if you should install the code in your header include or your footer include (if you have both to choose from).  Google officially recommends that you place the tracking script in your footer file (or just below the closing “</body>” tag but there are actually pros and cons for each installation so you might want to look at each one.


  • Putting the Google Analytics Code in the Header Include: This will allow you execute the tracking call before a page fully loads.  The benefit of this is that if you have quick-clickers or a slow page load time you will get these visits as the tracking function will execute before they even see page content.  Another benefit is that if you are using additional functionality scripts that auto tag downloads or mailto links, these often require that the core Google Analyitcs script runs on the page load.
  • Putting the Google Analytics Code in the Footer Include: This ensures that you are only tracking full page visits.  Also, because tracking code is really an added functionality that should only execute after other more important user-experience items (like graphics and content) this line of thinking is more “safe”.  Since when are ninjas safe.  Ninjas are actionable so this really doesn’t seem like a compelling enough reason.
  • Putting the Google Analytics Code before the “</head>” Tag: There is also a rogue philosophy that you should put your tracking code within you head tag.  As far as I know this is okay and will work.  I have yet to venture here…


Once you have located an include file for your website and included the tracking script, save your changes to the server.  That is pretty much it.  I can’t stress enough how important it is 

If you answered 2.

Most content management tools have plugins that work with Google Analytics.  Usually this invloves finding a plugin for you CMS tool and installing through the tool or in your hosting environment.

Here are a few Google Analytics Plugins I’ve found for the most popular CMS tools:

Have any other good ones?  Send them to me and I’ll add!

If you answered 3.

This one is probably the easiest but most time consuming to implement.  This step involves coordinating an update with your IT Department or with your best friend’s sister’s cousin’s uncle who is working on your website for trade.  Since there are a lot of personal and impersonal ways to get this implemented, there will not be much this ninja says.  Simply email them the tracking code and if neccessary point them to Google’s Installation Page (also a good resource to review).

Step 4: Verify all pages are tagged on your Website

Once you have contacted the necessary parties or installed the code yourself, you want to make sure that you have tagged all pages.  It is important to make sure that all pages are tracked so that you can analyze complete data, not having each page tracked will leave you with numerous holes in your Top Content Report (you’ll learn about that one later one) or create numerous Return Visitors who aren’t really returning because they never left!

How do you do this, you ask?  EpikOne has a great free Google Analytics tracking code scanner tool called SiteScan.  For basic installations, this is a great tool to use after you’ve installed the code to verify it.

Don't let this happen to you!
Google Analytics Sign Up Account Overview

 Along with EpikOne’s tool Google also has a few analytics troubleshooting techniques as well. 

Step 5: Verify Tracking Code in the Google Analytics Tool

So you’ve verified that you have Google Analytics Tracking Code on all of your website pages.  The last step is to log back into the tool and verify your tracking code is installed.

In your Internet browser, go to the Google Analytics page and log into your account.  You’ll get to the Account Overview page that lists the account you created earlier.


Google Analytics Sign Up Account Overview
Google Analytics Profile Settings

To the far left of your website profile is the last column titled “Actions” in that column, click the “Edit” link. 


Google Analytics Profile Settings
Google Analytics Tracking Code Verification

This will bring you to your Profile Settings page.  Right above the first box there is a tiny link that says “Check Status” with a small question mark next to it.  Click this link to check your status.

Google Analytics Tracking Code Verification

Google Analytics Tracking Code Verification

In the yellow highlighted box, find the “Tracking Status” line.  If you installed tracking code on a page of your website then you should see a small green check mark and the text “Recieving Data”.

If you did everything correctly you’re now set to begin cleaning up your data so you can start getting actionable!  If not, contact a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant or find a Google Analytics Professional.


Before any analytics ninja can start looking at website data he must first set up a generic Google Account in order to use Google Analytics.  Because Google offers so many services now, they have set up a single account login for people to use that allows access many the different online services, including  Google Analytics (such as  Google Webmaster Tools, Google Docs, Google Reader, etc.).

Step 1: Navigate to the Google New Account Page

In your Internet browser, go to the Google New Account page located at:

This will bring up the following form:

Google New Account Page

Google New Account Page

Step 2: Fill out Form

This step is pretty obvious, be stealthy and fill out the account information form as fast as you can – time is of the essence and the longer you wait, the longer it will take to begin tracking your visitors!  Enter the following:

Email address

Any ninja can use any email account they have for a Google Account.  It does not have to be gmail. Feel free to use your work email or personal email that’s attached to any domain.


Pick a nice password that gives you a “strong” response from Google.  Here are two good password idea recommendations:

  • Favorite Book/Movie Password:Pick your favorite book, movie, or saying and use it as an acronym then substitute a few good symbols.  For example, let’s say my favorite movie is “Enter the Dragon” then I could use “EntThDrag” as an abbreviation then substitute a few symbols for and have “3ntThDra8!”.
  • Backwards Crush Password:Remember your first crush?  What?  Ninjas don’t fall in love you say?  Of course they do.  My first crush was named Allison Jones.  So let’s take her name and spell backwards (I’m removing her full last name so save characters) “Jnosilla” and add some punch so it becomes “Jno$i11a”.

Remember me on this computer

Check this if you don’t want to have to log in to your account every time.  This will automatically keep you signed in to your Google Account so you can easily link from one Google program to the next without having to keep signing in.

Enable web history

This is another sneaky Google feature.  Any ninja knows that he must be aware of his surroundings at all times.  And he may even want to be able to re-visit past searches in case his memory gets spotty.  If you enable web history this lets you go back and see exactly what you searched for and when.

Google Web History

Google Web History


Not much needs to be said here.  Select your location.  If you are uncertain, you should not be an analytics ninja.  Turn around now and learn how to be another kind of ninja.

Word verification

I never saw a captcha I liked – seems they are always getting more and more creative with their cursive lettering – making it tougher and tougher for us ninjas to be quick.  Breathe in and concentrate, don’t let the captcha win.  Let the numbers speak.  Then type.

Terms of Service

Have you ever seen a ninja in court?  I have only once and it didn’t end well.  Quickly read and except the terms of conditions and click the “I accept. Create my account” button.

Step 3: Acknowledge the Redirect

After you’ve done you civic duty and signed up for a Google Account, you’ll get redirected to a friendly page that says Google is sending you an email confirmation.

Google Account Confirmation

Google Account Confirmation

Step 4: Click the Email Link

Finally the last step before we can start diving into analytics data.  Check  your email and find the confirmation link in the body text of the email Google sent.  Click it.

Google Account Email Verification

Google Account Email Verification

Step 5: Acknowledge the Final Confirmation

Now you have reached the end of your preliminary training.  You have successfully created a new Google Account and can begin the first stage of your journey: creating a Google Analytics Account.

Google Account Final Verification

Google Account Final Verification