How to Install Google Tag Manager in WordPress

Published August 29, 2015
You probably know that Google Tag Manager is a great and free way to manage all of the tracking code needed on your website.
What you might not know, unless you are proficient with modifying WordPress Themes, is how to install Google Tag Manager in a WordPress site.
Fortunately, it is not that hard. You can get it done in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how.


Blog Image Install Google Tag Manager on WordPress


Step 1 – Create a Google Tag Manager Account and a Container for your Website

Before we get started, I should mention that, if you prefer to watch a video than read through the post, the folks who do Google Analytics training at webucator have created this video that takes you through the steps.

If you haven’t done so already, create a Google Tag Manager account.

During this process you will create a container, where you will store all the tags for your WordPress website. Use the name of your website as the name of this container (You may have other containers in the future for other websites). Choose “Web” for “Where to Use Container”.


Create a Google Tag Manager Account


If you already have a Google Tag Manager account, you may need to create a new container for your WordPress site. In that case, simply navigate to the Admin section, and from the Container selector, pick “Create Container …”.


Create a Tag Manager Container


Once your container is set up, open it and click on the Admin tab to enter the administration area for your container. Click on the gear symbol next to “Install Google Tag Manager”.


Get Your Google Tag Manager Code Snippet


This will bring up a code snippet that you are going to cut and paste into WordPress.


Google Tag Manager Code Snippet


Step 2 – Paste the Code Snippet into your WordPress Theme (Or Child Theme)

To install Google Tag Manager, you are going to copy and paste that code snippet into WordPress. Specifically, you are going to paste it into the correct file in the WordPress Theme that your website is using.

Note that if you are using a 3rd party theme (e.g., a theme that you purchased), in order to preserve compatibility with future upgrades, you may not want to edit your theme directly. In this case you should
modify your theme using a child theme. In either case, the process of pasting in the code snipped is similar.

To get started, log in to WordPress and navigate to Appearance > Editor.


WordPress Appearance > Editor


In the upper right corner, where it says “Select theme to edit”, make sure you have selected the active theme for your website.


WordPress Select Active Theme


If you are not sure which theme is active, click on “Themes” in the left hand navigation bar, and see which of the installed Themes is highlighted.

Next, in the right-hand column, under Templates, click on the appropriate header file. By default, this will be “Header” (header.php). However, the theme may be using a different file, depending on how the developers have customized it. In this case, our site is using a file named “header-megalytic.php”. If you are not sure which file is your active header file, then check with your developer or use trial-and-error, testing as you go (testing process described below).

Assuming your active header file is header.php, click on this link in the right side column. The text editor in the center of the page now contains the header.php file. Scroll down until you find the opening <body> tag. Then, paste in the GTM code snippet right below that tag.


Insert Google Tag Manager Snippet in WordPress Header File


Once you’ve inserted the snippet, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Update File” button to save your changes.

Step 3 – Testing that Google Tag Manager is Correctly Installed in WordPress

Next, we are going to use Tag Assistant (by Google) to make sure that Google Tag Manager is installed correctly. For this, you will need to use the Google Chrome Browser. So, if you don’t have Chrome, install it on your computer now.

Open the Chrome browser, and install Tag Assistant. Once Tag Assistant is installed, simply navigate to a page on your site, and click on the tag icon at the top of your browser. You should see a green smily-face tag labeled “Google Tag Manager”, indicating that GTM has been successfully installed.


Testing Google Tag Manager Installation with Tag Assistant


Check some other pages of your website as well. You should see that Google Tag Manager is installed on every page. If it is not, you may have to check with your developers to see if there is more than one header file where you need to paste the code snippet.


Now that you have Google Tag Manager installed, you can use it for installing all kinds of tracking tags like Google Analytics, Google AdWords, AdRoll, CrazyEgg, and more. To learn more about working with Google Tag Manager, check out Google’s Quick Start Guide


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