website-analytics

From IndieWeb
Jump to: navigation, search


analytics is the collection, analysis and reporting of a websites traffic. Website analytics are often used to report key statistics to website owners. These data points include, but are not limited to; peak user time, the amount of traffic received from each social media website and how much time people spend on each page.

Website analytics are provided by several open source and proprietary solutions. They can be split into two groups; active analytics and passive analytics.

Contents

Active analytics

Active analytics usually work by having you include a JavaScript file which asynchronously communicates with a server, providing it with data such as

  • Referrers
  • Screen size
  • Operating system and browser
  • Page load time
  • Even mouse position; which can be used to determine the most/least popular parts of a page

Google Analytics

Main article: Google Analytics

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a hosted service that "gives you the ability to measure any action a customer takes in your application while Google Analytics lets you measure the number of times specific pages in or site or app are viewed (page views)." (via Mixpanel)

You can get 175k free data points per month (which is way more than most personal sites need) by displaying their badge somewhere on your site. After setting up your account, you can grab the badge code and verify the badge at https://mixpanel.com/free/.

People using it on their own site:

  • mowens.com (Badge is visible in the expandable colophon)

New Relic

New Relic is a hosted service that provides server and application performance monitoring analytics with code-level visibility. Some of its recent additions to its service have added the ability to monitor and track user experiences in the browser as well as transaction tracking to better understand how your site or app perform in the real world setting of production.

Free users only get 24 hours of data, but this tends to be enough to allow you to monitor changes in performance based on new features or to debug specific performance bottlenecks.

People using it on their own site:

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics is a companion analytics service to Twitter and Twitter Ads that provides link tracking on Twitter and conversion tracking around those links (i.e. "How many visitors arrived directly or indirectly due to engagement with a tweet containing my URL?").

People using it on their own site:

Piwik

Piwik is an open source project that you install on your own service that can collect information about visitors to your website.

A project exists to make it easy to run Piwik on OpenShift https://github.com/openshift/piwik-openshift-quickstart. It is also available on sandstorm.io: [1]

People using it on their own site:

  • werd.io (discontinued in early 2014?)
  • Kyle Mahan as of 2014-08-22. Installed out of curiosity, it's interesting to see the geographical diversity of visitors and get an idea of basic traffic volume.
  • AJ Jordan - used on main personal site since [[2]]

Open Web Analytics (OWA)

Open Web Analytics

Passive Analytics

Passive analytics are implemented on the server side, usually at the server or application level. Some of them work with server logs (e.g. AWStats) while others are more integrated to the platform they are running on (WordPress plugins).

Log Analyzers

This type of analytics software collect their data from server logs. The data in these logs are considerably less than the ones provided by active analytics, but they are still enough to generate useful reports. There are several tools to analyze these files.

  • GoAccess command-line, realtime log analyzer written in C. Single executable, no configuration necessary.
    • User:rascul.io uses it on his personal site to see high-level visit information
    • Kyle Mahan has also had good, albeit limited experiences with it
  • awstats is another popular tool. It can generate pretty graphs and it's written in Perl.

Criticism

Makes Your Site Slower

Anecdata: while browsing around the web, I often see sites (mainstream/big sites!) freezing with
Waiting for ssl.google-analytics.com ...
in the status bar in the bottom left for several seconds which is unacceptable latency. Based on such poor user experiences I can't imagine for what benefit I would make my users wait that long. - Tantek Çelik Have also seen similarly:
Transferring from fonts.googleapis.com ...

Privacy and Tracking

Analytics silos like Google's collect and aggregate data about your site's visitors. These statistics might be interesting to me but they are majorly profitable to them. For this reason I would prefer to use self-hosted analytics or avoid them altogether Kylewm.com

See Also

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Recent & Upcoming
Resources
Toolbox