Playing With Google Analytics

I have been playing with Google Analytics over the past few days to try and understand better who actual access to my web sites are happening.

Although it is an awesome tool – and you can get some interesting information, I have struggled in a couple of areas to understand things.

I jot them down here so that pehaps other new people can pick up on them

  • You are expected to create lots of profiles for a single web site. Each profile gives a different view. I originally thought you had one profile for one web site – it took me a while to realise otherwise.
  • A filter placed in a web profile throws data away that doesn’t get through the filter. Therefore ALWAYS have one profile with no filters on it, so you always have access to the data
  • Beware of white spaces in filter patterns. Its easy to forget that when you use the | character to join to filter patterns together
  • If you have a DirectoryIndex directive with an index page at some other directory (eg /directory/index.html) then your web site will have some entries like this (ie a double slash in them) – be sure to allow for that case in your filter patterns.
  • The standard advice is to put the tracker script just before the </body> tag. But I quickly realised I wanted to add an “onClick” javascript call to my outgoing links so that I could track those – and then had to move all my tracker scripts to just after the <body> tag for them to work.