Every website owner uses analytics of some sort or another to track visits to their site, and other related metrics like referrals, conversions, etc. I remember way back in 2004, using basic scripts that just provided a bare log of visitors and their referrals. And how far we’ve come from then! But we all face an important challenge – preventing our own visits from logging hits on the analytics software.
“Insider” Visits Make Up Large Portions of Visits for New Sites
This is a particular problem for new websites that don’t already have a lot of visitors during the day. It’s exacerbated by the fact that you’re still trying to tune up the performance, making changes to the design, adding new content etc, so your own visits can easily take up 80% or even 90% of the total visitors to your site!
There are essentially 4 ways to combat this:
- Configure your analytics to ignore certain visits
- Use native analytics that automatically ignores logged in visits
- Use a browser with native 3rd party script blocking
- Use a browser extension to achieve the same
Let’s look at each of these methods individually.
Configuring Analytics to Ignore Visits
Something like Google Analytics has advanced ways to “ignore” certain visits to your website. For example, you can configure it to not record visits based on the visitor’s IP address. The problem however, is that your IP address can keep changing. And if you access your website from a mobile phone, you can forget about any consistency. Mobile phones change addresses so frequently that it’s not worth the bother!
Not to mention that if you access your site from a public wifi network on your computer, your IP address will change yet again. As a result, this is an extremely poor way to filter out your traffic.
Using Native Analytics to Ignore Logged in Visits
If you’re using WordPress, you can use the default analytics module via Jetpack to track visits. By default, this will automatically filter out visits when you’re logged in, making it a much more robust technique to get accurate stats that ignore your presence.
The problem however, is twofold. One, you won’t always access your site while logged in. Either you’re on the mobile phone, or you’re visiting from an incognito window to test speeds, or something else. In both these situations, you won’t be filtered out and you’ll still interfere with your site’s tracking.
Moreover, Google Analytics is a far superior analytics tool and you’re hobbling yourself if you choose another tracking software without the ability to record events, goals, and conversions.
Use a Browser with Built in 3rd Party Script Rejections
I personally like this solution. My preferred solution is the upcoming Brave browser, that’s built on the Chromium engine and shields you from 3rd party scripts.
Since it’s a browser-based solution, it works regardless of where you go, and whether or not you’re logged in. As icing on the cake, it’ll also work if you use the browser on your mobile phone, so this covers all use cases.
Using a 3rd Party Extension on the Browser
Finally, if you don’t want to switch browsers, you’re left with extensions that do the same. My personal preference is uBlock Origin which I use with the latest Microsoft Edge browser that’s reworked with the Chromium engine.
A word of caution. There are reports of a few malicious programs masquerading as ad blockers, and which try and duplicate the name of legitimate brands. The link I’ve given you above is the correct one for uBlock Origin, so make sure you’re not getting scammed!
In my opinion, using a special browser is the best solution, followed by a browser extension. All the other methods have simply too many loopholes for them to be reliable. And when you’re analyzing your visitor stats, it’s important that you have the right information!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!