So you just launched your nonprofit’s website, or maybe it has been up for a while. Either way, you check the analytics and notice the “returning visitor” percentage growing every day.
“Yay, people are really connecting to our cause,” you say.
However, after looking deeper into the data, you notice the line graph displaying the number of visitors per day has a huge spikes in viewership once a week, followed by several days of incredibly low volume.
The confusing stats prompt you to consult with your IT department, or for a smaller nonprofit organization, David, the web guy. David makes the connection that the spikes in user volume align perfectly with the days he performs web maintenance. At this point, you slap a hand to your forehead, realizing you forgot to block your organization’s internal IP addresses.
According to an article on KISSmetrics, this issue can significantly alter the actual information your nonprofit is deriving from the raw data. Some issues include:
- Bounce rate – When analyzed with the average page time data, these numbers can speak volumes about viewer engagement. However, when employees are looking for quick answers on your website, they will find the information in seconds and instantly close the window, leading to a high bounce rate and low average page time.
- Average page time – Say an employee is viewing a page to collect information and then takes an hour lunch break without closing the window—average page time increases. How about David when he checks for broken links, bugs, and display errors?
- Direct traffic – Your staff knows where to find information on your webpage, they don’t need to perform a search or use referral links, unless they are testing active links.
- Returning vs. new visitors – Employees are clearly returning visitors, which can make it appear that your nonprofit is generating a loyal following of consumers, donors and investors.
Google Analytics makes excluding internal traffic easy:
- First off, write down your office’s IP address. You can easily find your IP address by typing "IP address" into Google search.
- From any page on Google Analytics, Click the Admin button at the top of your page.
- Select your website from the drop-down menu under the Account section.
- Then, click All Filters under the Account section.
- Click the + New Filter button to add a filter.
- Type a name for the filter (e.g., Office).
- Select Custom filter for Filter Type.
- Click the Exclude option.
- For Filter Field, select IP Address.
- Type your IP Address for Filter Pattern, adding a forward slash before each period (i.e., 123\.456\.7\.8). Google Support also provides examples for entering your IP in this field:
- If your office has an IP range, use the Google IP Address Range Tool to find the correct range.