The New Year is always a harbinger for change. This is no different for the blog service. One of our most widely used plugins “FireStats” has fallen into neglect and is no longer being maintained by its author. The blogs team is in the process of retiring this plugin in favor of another that utilizes Google Analytics for users of web analytical tools. A retirement date has not been set, but we encourage all users of FireStats to transition over to Google Analytics. The blogs team will provide more details about the retirement in the near future.
This post will walk you through getting your site up with Google Analytics and properly configured. Let’s get started!
Getting started with Google Analytics
Before beginning, please be sure to review the best practices policy for the use of analytics on campus. Ensure that you have the following before beginning to configure your blog site:
• Site administrator credentials for a University Blog Service blog
• An email address that is not hosted on UTMail
• 30 minutes of free time
First, create a Google Account. This can be your own personal Gmail/Google account if you have one. For departmental blogs or sites with multiple administrators, we do strongly recommend that a new Google Account be created for the group and that the credentials be shared in Stache with fellow administrators.
Next, you will need to create a “Universal Analytics Code.” To do so, log into the Google Analytics page, http://www.google.com/analytics/web, using the blog’s Google Account. Then,
• Click on “Sign up”.
• Complete the next page titled “Tracking Method” with the information relative to your website (i.e., Your URL like sites.utexas.edu/mysite, or utexasapproveddomain.org).
• Select “http://” in the drop down under “Website URL.”
• Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section titled, “Data Sharing Settings.” Uncheck all options in this section.
• Click “Get Tracking ID” and accept the terms of agreement.
Google Analytics Settings Page
You will want to look for a string of characters that look like this: UA-12345678-1
Configuring Google Analytics WordPress Plugin
Google Analytics dashboard which contains where the tracking code is
Copy your tracking code, as you will reference it for this next step.
Next log into the Dashboard for your WordPress blog site. Perform the following actions after logging in:
• Click on “Plugins” in the left hand menu.
• Look for a plugin named “Google Analytics for WordPress.”
• Click on the “Activate” link under it.
The Dashboard will refresh once the plugin had been successfully activated. At this point the plugin will need to be configured to follow the best practices for Google Analytics use on campus.
• Click on the “Settings” link.
• On the “Google Analytics for WordPress Configuration” page, click on the checkbox for the “Manually enter your UA code.” This is the same tracking code that you copied in during the previous step.
• Check “Show advanced settings.”
• Let the page refresh and scroll to the bottom of the page for the section, “Ignore users.” Select “Subscriber” from the drop down.
• Scroll further down the page and locate the setting “Anonymize IP’s.” Check that box, too.
• Click “Update Google Analytics Settings.”
Settings page for Yoast Google Analytics dashboard
To disable FireStats tracking, click on the “Plugins” link on the left hand menu and search for “FireStats.” Click on the “Deactivate” link below. Be forewarned that once this plugin is disabled, you will not be able to reactivate it.
That’s it! You’re done! If you should have any questions, please feel free to send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Will I be able to import my FireStats data to Google Analytics?
There is no option to import FireStats data into Google Analytics.
Would it be possible to get my FireStats data?
It certainly is possible to provide you your site’s analytical data. This information will be exported from the WordPress database in the form of dumps of tables that the plugin created for your site.
The plugin-retiring-happy blogs University Blogs Team