Trying to run a website without metrics is like driving at night with your lights off. Knowing what your readers like, and where your traffic is coming from is crucial to building an audience for your site.
Here are 10 factors which should guide your decision as to which counter to pick.
1. How fast does it load?
Speed is essential. You don’t want your counter holding up page loading time.
2. What metrics does it track?
Look for more than a simple counter. Take time to see what each service tracks. Managed properly, more information is always better. At this point, nothing beats Google Analytics for breadth of information.
3. What stats can you make public?
Want to show off your stats? Use a counter where you can adjust your privacy level to a level you are comfortable with.
4. Is the service reliable?
The last thing you need is your metrics tool going down and messing up your tracking. Do some research online and get something you know you can rely on.
5. How often does your stats update?
Not every counter tracks in real time. Google Analytics for example only updates every 24 hours.
6. Does it display results in a user friendly manner?
Information is only useful if you can make sense out of it. Pay close attention to the charts it offers.
7. How many visitor details does it allow you to track?
Some trackers like Statcounter and Sitemeter only allow detailed tracking of the last 100 visitors to your site (After which it still counts them, but hides their details). Is that sufficient for your needs?
8. Can I customise the design of the metrics?
Some counters are really tacky looking, so having display options is always good. Some metric tools also have options to turn off the counter display.
9. Are there widgets/feeds available for it?
Getting a feed from your desktop widget, lets you track stats directly from your desktop rather than visiting a website. Feedburner currently offers this option.
10. How easy is it to setup and install?
While some counters need you to modify HTML, if you’re using WordPress, you may be able to install them as plug-ins instead, where you don’t have to touch HTML, and is one less thing to worry about when change website themes.
- Friedbeef Tech’s recommendations:
Take time to consider these factors, and do the research to find something that suits your needs. From experience, I’ve experimented with a fair number of counters during lifespan of this site, and am now running a smooth combination of :
- Sitemeter for it’s speed, and real time tracking accessible to the public
- Google Analytics for it’s sheer depth of analysis
- Feedburner for keeping track of site subscriptions, and live feed hits
Whatever your choice of tools, remember that it’s not the information that matters… it’s what you do with it which really makes a difference.
[tags] sitemeter, metrics, counter, stats [/tags]Google+