Most bloggers have it hard because most they are running their blogs as one-man-shows. That means that most bloggers have to be writers, marketers, and tech administrators.
Streamlining and simplifying your operations is one of the keys to making it all work. In this article, we’ll show you a variety of ways to simplify the art of tracking your blog stats and metrics. The cool thing is that the tools for analyzing site statistics are becoming more and more dynamic, allowing you to see real-time pictures of visitor activity.
pMetrics is easy to use. You just drop 3 or so lines into the footer of your blog template and you’re golden. Stats are stored and calculated on a remote server, which ensures that your own server won’t slow down (unlike another stats option I’ll be reviewing). You get regularly updated snapshots of incoming links, incoming search queries, incoming referrals and even user behavior throughout your own site (pMetrics tracks clicks). I really can’t say enough about this product. It’s perfect for bloggers who want a simple but feature rich stats program. The only downside is that it doesn’t give you much on the side of content analysis, though you can still get this from your own server side logs. Where pMetrics shines is on giving bloggers a real-time, up to the minute picture of a blog’s activity.
Google gives away their analytics program for free and while it is a powerful and robust system, it is also awkward, complex and confusing. The average blogger won’t know where to start in finding *useful* information and might get frustrated. Google has put too much emphasis on their AdWords campaign tracking, and it takes far too much drillling in too many disparate sections to get at the information most people are interested in (e.g. keyword phrase searches, most visited pages, links from other pages, referrals). To be honest, it takes me about 10 minutes per visit per site to navigate through and see all the information I want to find.
In the end, I feel that pMetrics is the better package for bloggers for 2 reasons. One, it offers a critical feature that Google Analytics is missing: a real time “Spy Ticker” to track visitors and user behavior in real time. Second, it presents its information in a simple, intuitive and easy to understand interface. You’ll have a picture of your blog statistics in seconds, rather than minutes.
The downside to raw server logs for bloggers is that 1) not everyone has access to them and 2) most analysis software provides limited analytics (Google’s Analytics is much better for content and keyword analysis) and 3) don’t give you the dynamic real-time picture of site traffic like pMetric’s Spy function.
For WordPress users, there is an extremely useful plugin called wp-shortstat. Unfortunately, this blog statistics plugin has a huge downside. It stores all of your blog stats in your WordPress database. At first this is no problem, but after a month, it starts to drag on server performance, especially on shared hosting platforms. I usually use wp-shortstat when just starting out on a new blog, but as soon as it starts getting more than 100 visitors per day, I uniformly have to disable the plugin and turn to a more scalable solution like pMetrics or Google Analytics.