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My Blogger Friends
This will only be a shorter post than normal because it doesn’t apply to everyone – well mainly to those who use google analytics with sites where their pages have unintelligible endings looking something like this www.yoursite.com/default.asp?docId=15097 (usually running on cmses) or running on different subdomains or domains eg www.yoursite.com/analytics or blog.yoursite.com/analytics who want to have clean logical webpage names in their reports.
In this post I will describe three things:
1. How to use google analytics advanced filter so you can see the whole uri including host name in your reports
2. How to add urchin tracker to your web page code to give your pages logical web page names
3. How to name your webpages carefully
1. If your site has different domains (I’ll do another post on this later but if your site is running across different domains you’ll need to use the 3rd party shopping cart and utm linker or as visitors go across domains they’ll be treated as a new visitor each time so inflating your numbers) or subdomains, you won’t be able to see the domains in your GA reports. The reason being by default Google analytics only picks up the last bit on your uri so you can’t drilldown and see which pages come from which domain or subdomain. In addition, if you have the same uri ending eg /analytics, GA will be lumping them together (even if the reality is these are directing you to different pages on the internet).
For sites with different sub domains and or domains, I use a Google Analytics advanced filter to allow me to see the full host/domain name. If you try to work out how to do it from GA’s documentation – you might have a bit of a hard time here so I have spelled it out here – see Robbin Steif’s quite fab GA “worst of” documentation competition if you don’t believe me. And on a similar note, I am really looking forward to Justin Cutroni’s new pdf book called Google Analytics Shortcuts which will cover every imaginable detail on link tagging, setting up shopping carts etc.
First in GA click on the profile settings of your site and then edit filter.
Under filter type choose – custom filter from the drop down menu and tick on advanced.
Field A > Extract A – Host name – (.*)
Field B > Extract B – Request URI – (.*)
Output to > constructor – Request type URI – $A1$B1
Field A required – Yes
Field B required – No
Override Output Field – Yes
Case sensitive – No
What this does is extracts all of your host names and outputs them to all uris requested (.*) (all regular expressions) to all of the fields ($A1$B1) so that you end up being able to see the uri including domain in your reports.
3. You need to give your pages logical, meaningful but concise names that reflect their position in the site. The easiest place to start is to look at the wireframes/site tree and define page names according to the section of the site (eg books – quite general), then analytics books (the type of books or products) and finally Google Analytics Shortcut (the actual book name or product). So we end up with, (”//books/analyticsbooks/googleanalyticsshortcuts”). The final name is the current position on the site. Do not use spaces or other special characters such as ‘&’, ‘%’ or ‘+’ in your page names or the tag will not work. Whilst setting up a list of pagenames, map out all of the site pages with the help of the site tree/wireframes to avoid using page names that been used elsewhere on the web site. Also consider prefixing for example your FAQ page with a unique identifier – say, ‘analyticsfaq’.
I welcome your feedback, agreement and disagreement. And if anyone knows a better way of doing of these things then please do let me know.
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