Today is the first stat of the rest of your stats.
Every great journey begins with a single stat.
Make stats, not war.
Is it me, or does everything in life just seem to revolve around stats? Oh wait, it's not me, it's Google. That goofy "do no harm" company is at it again with a stat program that is totally armed and dangerous: Google Analytics.
The old way
I've been using Sitemeter for the longest time with Pajama Market. It's nice. It tells me how many visitors I have. What web sites directed those visitors to me. It gives me cool graphs to see the visitor numbers go up and down like my nieces hot air balloon. (Yeah, my niece is a hot air balloon pilot. What does your niece do?) What more could you ask for in a stat program?
The new and vastly improved way
And then Google came along and slapped me across the face three stooges like (or is it Marx brothers like? Or is it Honeymooners like? Quick, someone turn over to Nick at Nite and let me know!)
I pay like $5 a month for Sitemeter. Google Analytics is free. (Ok, sitemeter has a free version too, but then my stats are public. I don't want someone's dirty muggs on my stats.)
Sitemeter shows you stats for today, this week, this month, or this year. GA shows you stats for any time period you want (from when you installed them on your site). GA is flexible like that cool slinky you had as a kid. The metal one, not the plastic one. The metal ones are so much better...until you step on them by accident.
Google also has about 487 additional features that other common stats programs don't have. Roughly.
As an aside, can I just say how much Typepad's statistics totally suck? I mean for $15/month you would think they would throw their users a bone and let them track referral links for more than a day. Ha! Fat chance. Good thing there's Google Analytics.
Track your goals
The real gem of the Google Analytics package for the small business blog is the "goals" section. If you are selling something from your blog, you can track a specific landing page, a page where someone is sent after they buy a product from you, to determine how well your blog is meeting its sales goals. I can't find that in Sitemeter.
We want faster!
The one, tiny tiny downside to Google Analytics, is that it is not live. There is a lag of a few hours between someone visiting your site and that visit showing up on GA. A small price to pay for...well, free stats.
To sign up, visit Google Analytics and add their code to your blog. You can add the code to a sidebar item pretty easily.
Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.