The first step to getting better analytics data
When it comes to analysing your website data via Google Analytics (GA), there’s one thing you must do before starting anything else. If you don’t, you’ll skew all your data.
You need to filter out your own IP address. Otherwise your data will include hits from you or your team.
Imagine viewing your “contact us” page, and then going out for lunch, without closing your browser. Let’s say you go out for an hour. Assuming you close your browser when you come back, GA will register that as someone taking 60 minutes to decide whether to contact you.
You’ll wonder what’s wrong with your “contact us” page. You might even rewrite it as a result. And if your visitors usually spend 1–2 minutes per page, those 60 minutes will bump up your average, making you wonder if you need to rewrite your entire website.
First, you need to find out your IP address. There are lots of websites that tell you this for free, such as www.whatismyip.com. Or you can type “What is my IP” into Google and get the answer. It should be a list of numbers and/or letters, with several full-stops.
Log into GA, and click on the “All Web Site Data” link under your website:
This is your raw data source. Keep this separate, without any filters or customisation, so you can always refer back to it.
Click the Admin tab at the top of the page:
Under View, click All Web Site Data and then “Create new view”. Give it a name you can easily use to identify, and click “Create”:
You should be redirected to the main Admin page.
Under the View column, click Filters, and then the “+New filter” button. You should see this:
Under the “Filter Type” tab, select “Exclude”.
Under “Select source or destination”, select “traffic from the IP addresses”, and then add the IP, and save it.
If you’ve got more than one office, or if you’ve got an agency looking after your website, repeat the process for their IPs.
Now you should be ready to go. The next time you login, you’ll see the newly created view underneath your website.
GA runs about 24 hours behind, so wait a day before you start crunching data.
Your IP address may be static, which means it always stays the same. Which means your filter will always work correctly.
But it might be dynamic, which means it changes every time you disconnect your router.
So if you ever turn off your router, check your IP address when you turn it on again and update the IP address in GA.
That’s it! You’re all set to gather accurate data and understand exactly how visitors are interacting with your website.