Friday, January 03, 2014

Have your Google Analytics stats fell since Blogger started the country code TLD redirect?

[Edit: This did not work. Now my analytics are showing even fewer results. Apparently you're supposed to enter the code in Blogger under Settings > Other > Analytics Web Property ID. We'll see if that recaptures both the .com and .ca traffic...]

A couple years ago, Blogger started redirecting all of their users' blogs from to blogname.blogspot.xx, where xx is the country code top-level domain (TLD) for the country that the user blogs from.

I noticed this at the time and was skeptical that this wouldn't have unintended consequences, but I didn't particularly care because at the end of the day I'd rather have a .ca blog address anyway (though I could certainly see issues for people who blog while abroad or blogs published by various international collaborators). Other people did care and they found ways around the redirect.

But tonight while checking my blog stats, I noticed something strange. My stats had been down for the last couple years, and this is normal given how godawfully rarely I post, and how minimally relevant my posts tend to be. I also figured that when Google Analytics fucked up their interface and got rid of the old dashboard that gave me the most useful information all in one place, they also fucked around with whether pageviews or visits or visitors was the key statistic, and how this was counted.

It turns out that my skepticism was indeed accurate: it was only counting hits on, and missing most of the visitors who are coming to!


In Blogger's built-in stats, it says I had 846 pageviews in December 2013:

Meanwhile in Google Analytics, only 146 pageviews were reported for that month, less than 20% of the traffic that Blogger was getting! And it should know, since it was serving up the pages!

The fix is not difficult, but it's also not the most obvious. It also isn't retroactive. In Google Analytics, click on the Admin button at the top right, select the relevant 'property' (i.e. your blog), and select "tracking info". Then turn on "Multiple top-level domains of [blogname]." The multiple subdomain option will also turn on automatically if it isn't already. The code in the text area below will change:

Then go into your Blogger admin page, click on the Template settings, open the HTML view and replace the old Google Analytics code with your new code. One of the articles I skimmed over while looking for solutions suggested you should put it in the <head> tag because the script might not get run if it's at the end of the page body and there are other scripts that mess with visitors' browsers.

I couldn't find any articles that specifically identified the Blogger problem and connected it to this solution, which is why I'm blogging this now, even if it is a couple years late. However, I won't necessarily be able to tell if doing so increases my blog traffic because I should be expecting an increase anyway after this fix. I guess I'll just do it for the good of humanity.

- RG>

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