Default Page setting in Google Analytics

Gus and Vlad are in the office, and as part of Gus’s training at a Google Analytics agency, Vlad is explaining how to set up a Google Analytics account.

Vlad: OK, Google is now asking us for a the default page of the website to enter into one of these boxes

Google Analytics Default Page Setting - Incorrect

Do you know what the default page is?

Gus: I think so, is it the name of the web page that’s the home page?

Vlad: That’s right, sometimes called the URI, as in uniform resource identifier.

Gus: Wow, I love all these TLAs.

Vlad: TLAs?

Gus: Three letter acronyms.

Vlad: Ah. Hum. Shall we continue ..?

Gus: Of course. So if you need to enter what the default page is , how do you out find what it is?

Vlad: I just use trial and error. If all the pages are .php then I try default.php or index.php, or if it’s ASP I try default.aspx or index.aspx or even index.html in rare cases.

Once you have come across the URI that serves up the home page, then you’ve cracked it.

Gus: So you just enter it into the “Default Page” text box?

Vlad: Not so fast. Do you know why we need to specify the default page?

Gus: No, I don’t think so.

Vlad: It’s because we want Google to treat visits to www.mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com/index.php as a visit to the same page. If Google Analytics records this as two separate pages then it’s just plain messy.

Gus: OK, I get it. Can I enter it in now ?

Vlad: No, Google’s instructions on this setting are a bit misleading

Gus: What do you mean?

Vlad: I have seen instances of where a URI ends with a trailing slash [“/”] and whatever is in the Default Page, like “index.php”, gets added to the URI. In effect, making the URI longer and less readable.

Gus: OK, so we should leave it blank then?

Google Analytics Default Page Setting - Correct

Vlad: We should, particularly for new Google Analytics accounts. But we still need to address the problems of counting separate visits to www.mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com/index.php.

Gus: So, if we are going to use the Default Page setting, what are we going to do?

Vlad: Instead we are going to apply a filter, which will have the same intended effect as the Default Page setting, but without the risk of the default page being added to every trailing slash.

Gus: Show me the filter we need to add then.

Vlad: Here’s a custom filter I have used.

In this case the default page is “default.asp”.

Google Analytics Custom Filter

Gus: So once you have applied this filter to the profile, then it will pull together requests for www.mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com/default.asp ?

Vlad: Exactly, and you won’t get the problem with the trailing slashed.

Gus: Cool. Do most people know about this issue with the trailing slashes?

Vlad: Not everyone, my good friend Phil Pearce gave me the heads up.

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Posted in: Google Analytics

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