I have been complaining constantly about the lack of quality in the market for decent analytics packages for blogs. There has not actually been that much out there for SMEs either – I have of course been spoilt by seeing what the high end analytics packages can do but still.. hopefully this will kickstart the other lower end providers to offer better value 🙂 Microsoft do not seem to be anywhere near this yet, though maybe they will extend it out of their AdWords equivalent. It will be interesting to see how the higher end players react to this.
Anyhow, there is some hope. Google has launched a free online version of their analytics package which they obtained when they bought Urchin Software. Unsurprisingly they have called it Google Analytics. For me this says a lot about my standpoint on Google – as soon as I saw it I thought “now we might be getting somewhere” – a sure sign that Google is doing something right. I do have one obvious misgiving with Google – how long will it be before I start questioning what they do with all the data on me? the analytics service is only going to add to this data.
The system integrates with Adwords of course and everything seems to be well laid out. This will only come out over the next few weeks as I use the system. There is some interesting things they seem to be tracking – your visitor’s connection speed for example – having implemented this in other packages, it usually means an extra download before the page loads. I wonder if this is how they are doing it or if they have come up with a better way. I shall have to monitor the load time of my pages. Usually this is also an issue for the analytics provider who can have issues coping with the amount of bandwidth required. For some reason the Google Analytics site is very slow today – I guess a lot of people are using it!
One interesting thing is there is no “BETA” sign anywhere! Of course this used to be a paid for service that is now free (It used to be a few hundred dollars). Lets hope they have added extra servers to cope with the huge uptake that is likely to happen at least short term.
The service is not built specifically for blogs – there are no plug-ins per se for blogs such as WordPress and Typepad etc but I doubt it will be too long before someone comes out with them. For now I will see if my integration works ok..
by the way – do a search on Google Images for google analytics and you get images of urchin logos and urchin screenshots – nothing on Google Analytics yet. I guess there is still a delay for searching on Google 🙁
[update] looks like Google is having a problem with load? It keeps coming up and then going down (for maintenance). Not sure on what the problem is but there definitely is one!