Ok, so you lazy people out there, I know what your like, you just slap your Google Analytics code on the site and think that its done. Well your wrong, and your messing up valuable data right now! Here are the most common mistakes:
1. Failing to Exclude URL Query Parameters
Nobody ever seems to use this, its great though, it gets rid of all the crap out of the content reports. Every time a page loads with a query string (e.g. http://www.davidwhitehouse.co.uk/index.php?essays=boring), Google Analytics treats it as a separate url to index.php. In order to prevent this, you simply put the variable name (e.g. ‘essays’) in the handy little box (edit profile, edit main website profile information).
2. Failing to Setup Site Search
Again this is a similar problem to the one above. If you don’t state what your variable name is for the site search then url’s like: http://www.davidwhitehouse.co.uk/search.php?q=hubbletelescope and http://www.davidwhitehouse.co.uk/search.php?q=bagels will both be treated as separate content. Instead you just put ‘q’ in the site search query box and then get it to strip the url of parameters.
3. Goal Conversion Setup
I rarely see this one setup right, people often repeat the final step twice, as they don’t realise Google puts the final one in at the end. Most people don’t even bother setting this up, but the ones who do, tend to do it wrongly.
4. Ecommerce Script Setup
When your setting this up, you have to put your ecommerce code after your tracking code, or it won’t work. Most people just paste it in and adapt it, not realising they need the tracking script before hand and an if statement in their footer to prevent the tracking script showing there.
5. IP Exclusion Filters
If you are going to be working on a site, whether you are the developer/designer or the marketing agency, perhaps even the business owner – you need to be adding your ip address to the exclude filter on the profile (make sure you have an unfiltered profile as a backup though).