I’m always surprised to hear about websites where owners have no idea how many visitors they receive. It might be because the web designer forgot to add in any kind of stats package to the completed site, or maybe the site owner created the site by themselves and didn’t know how to add in a good stats package.
Use Google Analytics – Not Your Web Host Stats
Some people don’t bother with specialist analytics packages because they already have stats reporting included in their web host accounts. But most of these require a lot of interpretation before any meaningful information can be derived. By meaningful, I mean answers to simple questions like :
How many visits did my site get today?
One of the main problems with the stats reports from web hosts is that they can make your visitor numbers look a lot better than they actually are. For example, they sometimes report on hits rather than unique visitors. I’ve already written about hits vs visits elsewhere. For a better insight into visitor behaviour on your site, you need to add Google Analytics to it. It’s very easy to do especially if you’re using WordPress.
You can also install a WordPress based stats package which will only give a simple view of your traffic without the detail Google Analytics provides. And certainly doesn’t give unique visitor numbers, only page views.
How To Ignore Own Visits In Google Analytics
Once you’ve installed Google Analytics, especially if you’ve got a brand new site with little or no traffic you’ll be excited to see your first visitors turning up. It’s a pain though to try to figure out if the 5 visitors you had last week were all you! There are all sorts of complicated ways to have Google ignore your own visits, but it would be great to have an easy way to to do the same thing.
Fortunately there is an easy way to do it. If you haven’t started already, abandon the use of Internet Explorer (IE) – or whichever browser you’re using – and switch to Google Chrome. Most people are amazed at the difference between the two browsers. IE is so slow! Google Chrome is like grease lightening by comparison. Once you’ve installed Google Chrome, you can then go and add an extension to it called Analytics Blocker.
Once that extension is added to your browser, you can list all the sites you own in it, and from that moment on, none of your visits will register in your Google Analytics stats. Just remember to specify each site you want to ignore stats for, properly. For example if you want to have your visits ignored on a site at http://www.example.com you must specify http://www.example.com/* in Analytics Blocker.
If you leave out the final /*, Analytics Blocker will only cause your home page visits to be ignored by Google Analytics. The extra/* tells Analytics Blocker not to count visits to the whole site.
The other great thing about this simple tool is that you know it’s working as whenever you are on a page that you want to ignore in Google Analytics stats, a red symbol shows in the address bar. See screenshot below :