SlimStat: Free Web Stats

SlimStat is a nice little PHP software package designed to help you track visits to your website or blog. Download Squad had a post about SlimStat this morning that sparked my interest.

I’ve been using Shaun Inman’s great ShortStat for a while. However, I wanted to be able to drill down into the stats and look at things in more detail.

When I started editing the code, I kept thinking of more and more things I’d like to change. SlimStat is the result.


SlimStat is based on ShortStat. ShortStat is no longer being developed. Instead the original author of ShortStat (Shaun Inman), is now working on Mint, which I’ve been using for the last few months. But none of that has anything to do with SlimStat. SlimStat has a different developer (Stephen Wettone). He just picked up where Shaun left off basically.

Blogging Pro also has a post about SlimStat, and a related WordPress plugin, WP-SlimStat. Although, the WordPress plugin uses SlimStat 0.9.2 where the current release of SlimStat is 0.9.4.

More on Google Analytics

I really like Google Analytics right off the bat. After getting to see some of the reports generated, I’m basically hooked. It just has an overall nice and pleasant way of showing what’s been happening on your site. I like the map, although I’d prefer an integrated Google Maps interface, instead of the Flash. But, there’s a lot of things that could really improve Google Analytics in my eyes.

Hopefully Google has some nice changes in store for Google Analytics, formerly Urchin, now that they’ve changed the name and have gone a totally different direction as far as marketing and product branding goes.

I don’t like the fact that the data used to generate the reports isn’t live. It took about 36 hours for any data to show up in my reports. And it took even longer for Analytics to realize I had installed the code on another site I had setup. I have no doubt they’re experiencing some pretty extreme server loads. Hopefully this is one of those things that will get better as the initial hype dies down. Google Reader was unusable for at least a couple days after it’s initial announcement. Performance got better after a couple days but didn’t improve enough for me to possibly use it as my every day feed reader.

One feature I’d really appreciate in Google Analytics would be the ability to export reports to PDF. I may have to try exporting one of the report pages to PDF in IE. I’m not sure if there’s a FireFox extension to create PDF’s from webpages.

Google Analytics

I’m sorta surprised to see Google offer a free web reporting tool before they have a free live web stats package. Especially a tool like Urchin/Google Analytics, it’s got to have serious potential to make money. Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe that’s why the previous owners sold it to Google.

It’s gonna be useful to me no matter what. I’m excited to hopefully try it out on a few sites that make use of AdWords. There’s a lot of features in Google Analytics that are specifically for conversion tracking from AdWords and I believe Overture. All that’s involved is tagging links used in your search marketing campaigns and then letting Google Analytics know about those tags. That’s only if you use a paid search service other than AdWords. Google AdWords accounts automatically share conversion data with Analytics, provided the accounts are properly linked. There’s even a URL builder to assist in building tagged links for ads.

Should be fun.

Google Analytics

So, I signed up for Google Analytics yesterday. Google Analytics is basically Urchin, but it’s free. Urchin was bought by Google a year ago or so, I’m not exactly sure. We were looking into using Urchin for our sites at work. Google is now offering Urchin for free under the name “Google Analytics”.

I’ve been waiting nearly 24 hours now and still no data is showing up for the sites I installed the code on. Hopefully Google set aside a server or network for current paying Urchin customers. Although it appears they didn’t as some paying Urchin customers are upset. Google Analytics performance yesterday was piss poor, probably due to the huge influx of traffic after the service announcement showed up on Slashdot.

Some others are still waiting on data to show up for their sites too. Luckily I just got Mint, so I’m not totally in the dark. I’ll give it a few more days. If there’s still no data by Thursday evening I’ll stop checking. Google Analytics says it’s still “waiting for data.”

Mint: Fresh Visitor Tracking

Mint is wonderful. It has been so far at least. Mint is a fairly new website stats package written by the author of ShortStat, Shaun Inman.

Introducing Mint: The web is listening to what you have to say. Admiring your design. Talking about your product. Mint helps you identify where the most interest is being generated and over what.

Mint provides a fresh look at your site. It is concise, flexible and timely. And to sweeten the deal, this delicious little bundle of PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript joy is referrer-spam-proof.

I’ve only been using Mint for a few hours, but I’ve been looking at it for the last week or so. After wp-shortstat started causing really slow page loads, I wasn’t really using anything to log stats. I do use a couple other stats related WordPress plugins, but nothing that shows recent referers or client information in a pleasant way.

Typically, I wouldn’t buy a piece of software like this. There’s gotta be a couple thousand different web stats applications that are free. A large majority of those free apps though are either no longer being developed or the developers don’t know what they’re doing. Had Mint been more than $30/site, I wouldn’t be using it. I suspect Shaun will soon drop the price to $20 or $25. I’ve seen various people write that the cost of Mint is a little too high. I don’t know how many Mint users there are, but I’d think a lot more people would purchase if it were priced at $20. I had read enough about Mint though, that’s why I had no problem shelling out $30.

One of the best things about Mint is Pepper. Pepper is a plugin API that is supposed to make creating plugins very easy. Peppermint Tea features a variety of third party peppers (plugins), among other things, for Mint. One pepper I’m looking forward to trying out is Fresh View. Fresh View uses SVG images to help visualize Mint stats, unfortunately it’s only available for the development version of Mint. I believe it’s one of the few Peppers that work with Mint 1.2+, which is still the development version.

Some of the best currently available peppers can be found in a post Paul Stamatiou made at his blog.

A major motivator in my decision to purchase Mint was the ease in which it can be integrated with WordPress. The WP-Mint WordPress plugin does away with the need to add the tracking javascript to theme header files. So, you can switch themes in WordPress as much as you like without having to add the Mint tracking code to the header file of each theme. The Mint support forum has detailed instructions for setting Mint up to track your WordPress install.

All in all I’m very happy with Mint. I’ll post some screenshots within the next few days. If you’re interested, Adam at shibbyonline has a pretty all-inclusive post about Mint, from purchase to installing Peppers.

Linked at Basil’s Blog, Outside The Beltway, and Mudville Gazette.