The Easiest Data Mistake To Avoid

Way back when I first got introduced to the awesome free data tool that is Google Analytics, I had access to my former employer’s raw traffic data.  It was amazing. You were able to extract how users funneled through the site, how much time they spent, where they came from, etc. It was so amazing, in fact, that I used it on my personal sites. Every time, I’d add polish or revamp a page, traffic would spike! What an ego massage! People must’ve LOVED my new designs! Or so I thought…

If you’re a hardcore GA user, you probably know where this is heading, and if you’re a newbie who has dabbled with some GA data, you’re probably saying to yourself, “hey, awesome job, but what happened next?” Well, the aforementioned *raw* data included (drum rolls, please) ME! And guess what I was doing? Refresh, clear cache, refresh, clear cache, refresh, clear cache. You see, when you’re making micro adjustments on a live site, that’s a common thing to do, BUT it’ll also double, triple or quadruple your traffic to the point where you’ve essentially taken a giant poop on it.

It was a rookie mistake and one I’ve never done since, but the moral to this story, of course, is to sanitize your data to exclude yourself and/or any other website stakeholders so as to not meddle with your data. You can find a ton of tutorials on how to circumvent all of this, but suffice to say that this video is a great start.