Damned lies

A boring post about website statistics follows. Feel free to scroll on down to the next post which may, or may not be more entertaining. What? You want a LINK to the next post? You lazy bugger…

Last month (or was it the month before?) I asked you for recommendations for a new stats package for this site. I had used Extreme Tracker and SiteMeter for a while and had always got inconsistent results, timeouts and generally have been unimpressed. Now, whilst I’ll happily admit to being a bit of a stats whore, long gone are the days when I care how many hits I get, it’s much more fun seeing where you all come from. That’s not to say the numbers aren’t useful… and they are most certainly welcomed.

As an aside, one of the casualties in my constant hunt for a decent stats package, not to mention my all too frequent changing of hosts (from … umm… something to LineOne, to Telewest, to 1and1, and now currently with 34sp) coupled with my non-existent archiving notions means that I have no earthly idea how many people, in total, have visited my website since it made it’s thunderous arrival on the interweb… ok, it was a tiny squeak, barely a ripple, a trend which continues today.

Taking some of your suggestions I have been running with StatCounter, Google Analytics, MeasureMap and MyBlogLog for a while now. Add in my hosts own stats and I’ve got far too much information to access and process, so let the cull begin! But first a little comparison to see which one best suits my needs.

Roll back to the first week in March (actually from the 27th February to the 4th of March) and here are the numbers each stats package gave me:

Package Unique Hits Returning visitors
StatCounter 1665 549
Google Analytics 1278 627
MyBlogLog 1144 NA
MeasureMap 989 ~445

I’m not including the stats offered by my host as they are HUGELY different and the terminology is a bit cack and I can’t quite figure out how to analyse it.. not that important anyway as I don’t need to do anything to collect those, they’re just there.

As you can see, the numbers vary quite a bit, and whilst Google Analytics and MyBlogLog are close enough on the Unique Hits, the difference between them and MeasureMap is pronounced, doubly so when you look at what StatCounter thinks.

It’s one thing being smart enough to collate data, but it seems it’s quite another thing altogether to be smart enough to display that data in a meaningful, easy to read way. I could spend hours deconstructing each package but I just don’t have the time, nor the energy. Suffice to say that:

  • StatCounter isn’t too bad, uses real english, and only suffers because it isn’t completely free (my, what a world we live in)
  • Google Analytics is awful. Slow to update, a complete bear to use and far too complicated for the likes of me. To be fair though, it’s not AIMED at the likes of me (although that’s no excuse for shoddy UI and meaningless terminology).
  • MyBlogLog strictly speaking this isn’t really a stats package per se. It’s primary aim is to let you see which links people have used to leave your site. And it does a bang up job of doing just that. Recommended.
  • MeasureMap – it’s clean, colourful and simple. Too simple really as it lacks weekly and monthly views, crucial if you want to see trends. But that should be balanced against the fact it is soft on the eye and easy to use.
  • 34sp Stats are achingly complete. Alas they suffer from meaningless terminology syndrome making all that data practically useless. Unless, of course, I am reading it correctly, and I DID receive over 20,000 visitors in the first week of March.

I should mention that MeasureMap was recently bought by Google, meaning that either Google Analytics will benefit from having Mr. Veen on board, or MeasureMap will benefit from having the backing of Google. Or both as both products are aimed at different markets.

Anyway, based on the above, I’ve dropped Google Analytics. StatCounter has become my daily stat check location, and I know that my 34sp Stats are churning away in the background if I want a really detailed look at things (I’ve not looked at them since before Xmas mind you). MeasureMap I’ll stick with for a while and see what influence Google brings, and MyBlogLog keeps on doing exactly what it says on the tin.


Until I spotted Performancing Metrics (which does look pretty good). Back to the drawing board?