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Saturday, February 27, 2021
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Sloth Sets up Google Site Kit

Zip has installed Google Analytics and also configured it via Google Tag Manager. Let's take a look at Google Site Kit, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to install it.

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Zip has set up Google Analytics for his website — first with a plugin, then via Google Tag Manager. But then he sees a link inviting him to install something called Google Site Kit. Let’s talk a little about this Google Site Kit thing!

He already has Google Analytics installed on his website via Google Tag Manager. Why mess with it?

Google Site Kit offers a way to install a bunch of Google services easily. You can configure Google Analytics, Google Tag Manger, and Google Search Console, as well as Google Adsense and Google Optimize which Zip doesn’t currently have.

However, the main draw of Site Kit is that it offers statistics from the back end of your website. If he installs it, Zip can get an easy glimpse of current website stats, Search Console search terms — stuff like that. If he finds that he’s a stats junkie, he might love having this at his fingertips. Then again, if he’s a stats junkie, he’ll probably want to peruse all this lovely data in all its complexity directly in Google Analytics or Search Console. But he’s a sloth and, as such, he’s lazy and just wants to get some basic stats directly in his dashboard now. So he decides to go for it.

Let’s install Google Site Kit

Time needed: 20 minutes.

How to Install Google Site Kit

  1. Install the Plugin

    If you need to know how to install a plugin in WordPress, you can read this post.

    Go to Plugins>Add New in your WordPress Admin.

    Search for Google Site Kit. Note Site Kit is two words. There’s another plugin called SiteKit which is NOT the one we’re talking about.

    Click “Install Now.”Installing Google Site Kit

  2. Activate the Plugin

    The Install Now button will turn to Activate. Click it to activate the plugin.

  3. Start Setup

    You’ll see a blue button to Start Setup. Click it. You’ll always be able to make changes later or add other services if you need them.Google Site Kit start setup

  4. Sign into your Google Account

    It will ask you for permission to sign in to your Google account. Follow the prompts to allow it. You’ll now have Search Console installed and you’ll see a big blue Google button to go to your dashboard. Click it and go. Note that you can always find your Site Kit dashboard near the upper part of your WordPress admin.Google Site Kit Activated

  5. Go to Site Kit Settings and Add Other Services

    Right now, Zip finds that he only has Search Console added via Site Kit. In the WordPress admin’s left-hand panel, he’ll see where he can add other things. For now, he’s going to add Google Analytics and Tag Manager. If he ever adds Google AdSense ads to his website or installs Google Optimize, he can do that here as well — but we’ll come to it later1.

    Click on the “Connect More Services” tab at the top, and you’ll see the things you can set up here.Connect More Services in Google SiteKit

  6. Set Up Analytics

    Click “Set Up Analytics” it will take you through the process of verifying through your Google account.

    You’ll then see dropdowns where you can make sure you’re adding the correct property and view. Right now, Zip only has one view, which is ALL of his website data. In the future, he may want to add other views with filters in place so he can, for instance, filter out his own IP address and avoid tracking his own visits to his website. If he does that, he’ll come back and change the view he has set up here.

    Press “Configure Analytics. You’ll then see a lovely view with all your data (or not so beautiful if, like Zip, your website has few visitors).Google Site Kit Configure Analytics

  7. Connect Google Tag Manager

    If all you have is Universal Analytics, you can stop right there. But if you have Google Tag Manager, go on back to the Connect More Services tab and click “Set up Tag Manager.”

    Again, remember to remove any other scripts you have that are adding in Google Analytics. Zip has already removed the Google Tag Manager script that he installed in this post.

    You’ll go through a process just like you did for Analytics. If you have AMP and set up an AMP container, you can also add that here (but, so far, Zip has not learned about AMP or decided whether or not to add it to his website).

    Now, analytics is being inserted via Google Tag Manager.

Does Google Site Kit Affect Website Speed?

Something that Zip might want to take into account is how the things that he adds to his website affect its speed. He’s a sloth and doesn’t care about this — but impatient humans certainly do!

It’s an individual decision how much speed you want to sacrifice to install various things on your website. Third-party scripts — things like analytics, Instagram widgets, and such — can add a lot of loading time to your website. The longer people have to wait for your website to load, the more likely the’ll jump ship.

You might decide to allow your website to load more slowly so you can have ads and fancy stuff. However, if you do run the risk of more people abandoning your beautiful page before they get to see your IG widget, weather widget, Facebook fans widget…

We haven’t talked about site speed or optimization yet in this series. Still, let’s run a little test and see how Site Kit affected Slothverse.com.

Before Google Site Kit

OMG, bad grade! Not to worry. This is with any optimization turned OFF. He’d get an A on this website right now if he had some optimization turned on.

The total load time here was 2.5 seconds.

After Google Site Kit

It looks almost the same. It has 1ms more blocking time and — you can’t see it here — but the total loading time was 3 seconds. So it doesn’t make a huge impact on site speed.

Views in Google Site Kit

Now, Zip can view all of his astounding web traffic (or lack therof) from his WordPress dashboard.

If he goes to Site Kit> Dashboard he’ll find traffic reports.

Google SiteKit Dashboard

From here, he can also setup PageSpeed insights to view some information about his page speed and the most popular search queries for his website2. Under Site Kit, he’ll also find individual tabs for Search Console and Analytics — where he can get a breakdown of traffic between source — Organic, Direct, Social, etc.

However, he will NOT get all of the possible data from the admin of his website — he’ll need to go to Analytics or Search Console to do that, depending on what type of data he wants.

So, all in all, we think Google Site Kit is not a bad tool, and Zip has decided to stick with it. Later, when we’re done with this basic series, we’ll take another look at all of the yummy data you can get if you want to and look at some additional tags you can add to Google Tag Manager.

So…what did I say we would do next?

Hmmm. Zip wants to get on with the blogging, but, since we’ve added some stuff here to track user data, I think in the next post we’ll talk a bit about GDPR plugins — at least cookie notice banners. You know the ones — those annoying things that pop up, probably like the one you encountered on this website unless you live in a country with no cookie laws.

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References and Footnotes
  1. Note that if you use Google Tag Manager, you’ll need to install Google Optimize via GTM[]
  2. Though I prefer to use GTMetrix for this.[]
Cheryl
Cherylhttps://www.caffeinejournal.com
Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.
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