If your site has subdomains, there’s a filter that’s absolutely critical in Google Analytics (GA). It’s called a hostname filter.
GA content reports only include the URI (which is just a URL minus the domain). So my homepage looks like / instead of www.annielytics.com/. And my About page looks like /about/ instead of www.annielytics.com/about/.
Normally, that’s not a problem. But imagine if you have a site with multiple subdomains, like www.yourdomain.com/, blog.yourdomain.com/, store.youdomain.com/, reviews.yourdomain.com/, etc.
The Ensuing Chaos
There are two primary points of chaos caused by unfiltered reports:
- Think about it. What would the homepage of each of those subdomains look like? You guessed it: /. So analyzing the homepage of those homepages individually is impossible because they’re all going to blend together.
- You can’t create advanced segments based on subdomains to compare their performance.
Yeah, basically you’re hosed.
How To Fix It
Okay, so let’s get on with fixing it, shall we?
- Click Admin in the upper-right corner of GA.
- Click the profile you want to add the filter to.
Follow the instructions in the screenshot below.
When you add this filter it’s going to wreak havoc with your reports. So I always recommend making this switch on the first day of the month, so it doesn’t jack up your monthly reports. If you need to merge rows, you’ll need to use a macro or pivot table.
If you want to learn more about filters in Google Analytics, check out my Analtyics Audit Template, a self-guided, 147-page audit template that is regularly updated and will teach you how to do detailed analytics audits like a pro.
I just updated the screenshot. Adrian Vender pointed out a typo. Thanks, Adrian!