No one can do good commentary or blogging today without having some familiarity with emerging technologies, which explains why we periodically throw in these technological postings.
We have a “Google Account” and are thus trying out Google Analytics (the previous urchin.com now redirects to Google Analytics).
Google Analytics is a program which gives a website owner useful statistical information about its visitors.
The name “Analytics” comes from the description of web statistics or web traffic trackers as “web analytics”. These are experiencing an expectable and yet surprising renaissance.
Contrary to fears uttered here and there, Google Analytics is not yet going to throw total fear into the competition. We will continue to use Site Meter on this page because it is free, fast and good for our visitor counting purposes, although it too charges for more sophisticated tracking information. FeedBurner is another such essential program, which will remain extremely useful for providing us with our RSS feed and giving us an RSS count.
When we installed Google Analytics on this website, it took many hours before the program could verify our pages as “activated” (we had no way to know whether this delay was a mistake made by us or simply part of the normal process of activation of the Google Analytics script) and we were also informed subsequent to “activation” that the first traffic reports would only be available “within twelve hours”.
When we are confronted with that snail’s pace, we can say that for us, Site Meter is still here to stay. But of course, Google Analytics offers features that are unique, especially for larger sites, and for paying sites. We use Google Analytics here because it is free and because we will learn something additional about our visitors, e.g. their geographic distribution.
But do we need it? Not really.
Eric Peterson has a good posting about Google Analytics, including screen shots.
See also Photo Matt.