For those of you who like to look at statistics gathered by Google Analytics, you will very probably find your stats skewed by your own visits to your site. Google recommend filtering your traffic out of the statistics by using your IP address – that is an address assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider. However, unless you pay extra, most people are allocated a changing IP address out of a pool (as they are a scare resource), so that strategy won’t work for the vast majority of people.
The best alternative is to store a cookie on each machine you use (just like cookies that are used to remember login details etc.) which can identify you to Google Analytics and be used to filter out your own traffic. Google recommend this as an alternative approach to the above… but how do you write a cookie on your machine? Well in PHP (a popular web programming language) the set cookie function takes the form:
bool setcookie ( string $name [, string $value [, int $expire = 0 [, string $path [, string $domain [, bool $secure = false [, bool $httponly = false ]]]]]] )
So, this approach isn’t exactly easy for a small business owner then! However, all is not lost. To coincide with a series of Website Analysis courses that I shall be running on behalf of Business Link we have put together a tool to walk you through the process and to write that cookie for you: you just need to enter a few details, copy and paste a piece of text and then follow some step by step instructions to set some settings in Google Analytics.
The tool to exclude my own traffic from Google Analytics can be found under the Misc menu of the www.websanity.co.uk website or directly here: www.websanity.co.uk/tools/google-analytics-exclude-own-traffic.php. Have a go – if you experience any problems or have any suggestions on how it can be improved, we’d appreciate the feedback.
You can contact us about the Analytics training course available from Business Link, and I’ll post the dates here when I know what they are (November onwards).