Comparing traffic to your old and new redesigns with Google Analytics

As part of moving the various parts of this site around this afternoon, I took the opportunity to also tidy up the Google Analytics setup I had in place, both here and on the previous incarnations.

I think last time I relaunched the site I must have just created a new GA account, but in retrospect that was a bad idea. GA allows you to maintain several of what they refer to as Profiles under a single Property, which means you can aggregate all the traffic to your various versions in one report:

Screenshot of Google Analytics profile settings tab

The only change that you need to make to the tracking code is to make sure you select the “One domain with multiple subdomains” option in the Tracking Code section – this adds an extra line that allows GA to recognise that you want to track the traffic with a single property:

Screenshot of Google Analytics tracking code tab

Copy and paste the tracking code into all previous versions of your site, and all traffic will now be tracked in a single report. Now you can do things like compare behaviour across subdomains: go to Content > Site Content > Pages, change Viewing from “Page” to “Other” and select Content > Hostname to generate reports like this:

Screenshot of Google Analytics content report showing comparative traffic across subdomains

This is just a few hours’ traffic, but you can start to build up a picture of comparative time on page, bounce rates, exits, and other aspects of user behaviour across your ‘same-but-different’ sites.

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