3 Common Google Analytics Mistakes (and how to fix them)

Okay, so you know the power of Google Analytics for your small biz, right?

But, the truth is, Google Analytics, the best free traffic-tracking tool on the internet, just isn’t that intuitive for the non-techie. There’s no real manual aimed at guiding you, as a small business owner, through what you need to do to make sure it’s working properly for your site and how to ACT on that data. (Well, until now – but you can read about that in my author box below :))

I work with a lot of small business owners who want to stop guessing at what’s working for their online businesses and start knowing what’s working and just do that and forget the rest.

But let me tell you – when I first encounter these Google Analytics accounts, they’re often not very pretty (don’t worry – you’re not alone!). So I thought I’d round up some of my most commonly seen mistakes I see small business owners making with their Google Analytics accounts and how to fix them.

#1 – It’s Not Installed

This is the worst one! Google Analytics unfortunately cannot magically reveal all the traffic data for your website from the beginning of time once installed. It only starts collecting data from the day you install it.

So what to do? Don’t let the overwhelm get to you – just slap that code on your website and worry about what to do with GA later. (Need some help? Check out my guide to installing Google Analytics on any website)

#2 – It’s Not Installed Correctly

When it comes to adding code to your website, it’s understandable that things might go a little wonky if you’re not so tech-inclined but you’re doing things on your own. Not to worry – all is fixable!

Wrong installations can result in no data at all to missing or misleading traffic data. Not sure if your code is installed correctly? Check out these three clues.

Photo credit: James Bowe

Photo credit: James Bowe

Other issues? Do you have an ABSURDLY good bounce rate? Like less than 20%? (KISSMetrics says the web’s average is 40%) Your code is probably loading twice on the page.

What to do? Check that your Google Analytics code (that snippet they give you to copy and paste that includes a UA-XXXXX number) is installed just one on your page, and between the < head > tags. Sound scary? It’s not, I promise :)

Simply right click on any empty part of your website and select View Source. You’ll see a bunch of code but you’re just going to hit Ctrl (or Command) + F to search for “UA-” on the page. Find more than one? You have a problem. Find it but it’s not before your last < / head > tag? There’s another problem.

#3 – The Account is Lost

What to do: Google Analytics has to be accessed by a Gmail or Google-related email address. (Do you use Google Apps for biz? YouTube?) So the first step is to try logging in at www.google.com/analytics with any of your Google addresses.I’ve seen this one a lot (unfortunately). And it’s not the small business owner’s fault either. Whoever set up Google Analytics for their site failed to leave clear instructions or access to their account. So while a whole host of data full of interesting insights for your biz exists out there, you have no way to access it.

If that doesn’t work, try and track down the web people you’ve worked with in the past, starting with the most recent. See if they have any login info that’ll work.


Worst case? Start from scratch. Not the best scenario, but you can make sure you to implement some measures so it doesn’t happen again. Like adding a second user (as I detail out in this beginner’s guide) or at a very minimum keeping that account login info in a VERY safe place (and with more than one person knowing what it is).

Your Turn

Have you ever made a mistake with Google Analytics or are you guilty of any of the above? Do you have Google Analytics on your site? Do you find it useful? Let us know in the comments!

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Liz LockardLiz Lockard is a Google Analytics geek who loves helping small businesses get more marketing impact out of their websites. She created a DIY course, Google Analytics: The Missing Manual, to help small business owners turn their Google Analytics data into marketing action that gets better traffic and more conversions for their small businesses on the web. You can also find her on Facebook here.


  1. Great tip about checking to see if your code is installed twice. On one of my sites I had a very low bounce rate but when I checked my code I saw that it was installed twice.