We are currently relatively happy customers of SiteCounter.
I even worked with Aodhan on getting improving the keyword stats. Out of our discussions in 2005, the single and opaque Keyword Analyis became three separate: Keyword Analysis, Recent Keyword Activity and Search Engine Wars. Aodhan was a joy to work with.
Since then Statcounter has gradually dated. What’s worse is Aodhan is running a bit of a software bait and switch – one worthy of Microsoft. Since September 2004, Aodhan has been promising us Advanced Statcounter.
The one great defect of Statcounter is that it only gives you data for the most recent period. How much depends on the size of your paid log.
Advanced Statcounter is supposed to solve this problem and make it possible to do useful historical comparison.
Frankly, I’m tired of waiting.
An even bigger issue with Statcounter these days, is that I don’t really want to be running third party cookies on my sites anymore. Why not?
- Too many people (including me) are blocking anything third party.
- Third party cookies slow sites down (some browsers wait for the cookie to load before finishing its page build). If the stats tracker’s own server is running slowly or down, it will give your site a bad case of the hiccups. This means you are dependent on not one but three servers to be running perfectly to get fast page loads.
We are all about fast sites (goodbye Mambo/Joomla!) so I’d like our stats tracked locally. I’m also looking to dump Google Analytics as I feel Google has too much of my data and I don’t enjoy working with the Google Analytics suite. It’s too slow to load and too heavy to leaf through. Plus I can’t imagine training our clients to use Google Analytics. Many of them like and use Statcounter. Our clients are top professionals in real estate and insurance but are neither statisticians nor geeks.
At $30/license per site, Mint is priced to sell. Until Google Analytics came along, many of the big stats companies like Urchin and Webstats and all were seeking $500/site or $500/site/month.
You install Mint’s PHP code on your clients own site. And you get very scrumptious stats. No third party calls of any kind. No shared data. Sounds great.
But I wasn’t convinced. One of the great advantages of Statcounter is that it’s very quick and easy to install with no maintenance – a third party server.
It looks like Joost de Valk has come up with the solution. For all your sites on a single web server, you can create a single core install of Mint and run all the sites stats from that install (you’ll still need a license for each site):
I run three instances of Mint, and if I worked “the normal way” doing one of it’s rather frequent updates would mean having to copy the same files three times. Since I’m lazy, I don’t feel like doing that. What I’ve done is pick one “main” Mint install, and symlink all files in other directories except the config file to that directory
We’ll be trying this in the next couple of weeks (we have a server move in the works so it’s not worth starting until that’s done).
One small issue has surfaced with Mint. It doesn’t keep track of return visitors (Statcounter does) which is a pity as return visitors is a great indication of health in an e-commerce site.