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by Anna Lewis on 17th May 2011
Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you manage a domain change in Google Analytics. Most people will be able to set up Google Analytics. But do you actually know what to do if you wanted to change domain and keep your Google Analytics history? Luckily it’s nice and simple!
I’m going to imagine that your new domain is just going live and you’re redirecting your old domain to the new one, so that there is only one version of the site live at a time. This new domain should have exactly the same Google Analytics code as you had on your previous site. If you need any amendments to customise it for any reason then that is fine, as long as you have the same UA number.
As the code is still there the results will still be coming in, so if you’re really lazy you don’t have to do any more! However, it would obviously be beneficial to ensure everything ties in and is named accurately so that everyone can understand. So you will need to update the associated website URLs, Account and Profile settings.
From your Account Overview page click Edit alongside the profile on the right hand side – this needs to be done for all profiles, bad luck if you have lots! From the Profile Settings page click Edit in the top right. Here you can change the website URL to your new one.
Profile names in Google Analytics can be changed in the Profile Settings area as above. From your overview page click Edit alongside the profile details, then click Edit in the top right again. Try to give your Profiles useful names that help other people understand what data is available here.
One useful thing I like to do with Profile names is put an asterisk in front of the most important ones that are used most often. This puts them at the top of the list and makes navigation quicker.
If you need to update the name of the Google Analytics account as well, you need to navigate to your Account Settings / Overview. This is easy to find if you’re not already on it – it’s linked to through ‘Analytics Settings’ in the top left-hand corner when you’re anywhere within the account. Once you’ve gone in to this section just click the (Edit Account Settings) link and re name the Account as required.
Once you have changed domain it would be a good idea to check if Google Analytics is working, paying particular attention to the Hostnames report in case any other URLs are actively hosting your content, such as your staging site or old domain.
Changing the names and URLs in your account settings will not affect your data in any way, as Google reports on the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier, the bit after the domain name) rather than the URL in the Google Analytics Reports. For more tips on Google Analytics check out our other Google Analytics blog posts or our Google Analytics consulting.