Analytics - Google Free
As I drift further from Google properties, trying to rid myself of as much of their tentacles of control across the web, I made the decision to delete the Google Analytics tracking in my web properties.
Long story short, the amount of data that Google hoovers up from visitors is frightening, and the more I learnt about it, the more horrified I was.
I didn’t regret pulling it out, but I did miss having some metrics of visits and user behavior. When I pulled it, I did look at options, and the one other recommended package was a very heavyweight player, Amplitude (I learned about it from following John Cutler on Twitter) but it was way more of a commitment than I wanted. It would have required some programming and integration on the server side, and frankly, while I am not afraid to do some minor code hacking, it was WAY beyond my level of comfort.
So, I just went dark, kept writing posts, and tossing them out into the ether, hoping that someone - anyone read them.
Last weekend, I did another search, and I found an open source, lightweight package that is such a light touch, that it doesn’t even trigger the need for a GPDR notification. It is at Plausible.io and its installation is as simple as Google analytics. You add a site, and get a very short snippet of java script to the header of your site, and boom, it is live.
You get a clean, simple to understand dashboard, the ability to see geographical sources of traffic, where people find you (search, or Twitter, or other sites), and what they are looking at.
To be honest, that was all I ever looked at on Google Analytics. Since I didn’t advertise, or try to monetize my page, about 99.5% of the GA package was meaningless to me.
There is a down side. Google Analytics is “free” but that is because they get a ton of data on your visitor’s behaviors, that they use to further target and tune their skeevy algorithms and advertisement platform - the reason I wanted to excise them from my properties.
Plausible analytics has a cost associated with it. Tied to the number of visits, with the lowest priced package being $9 a month. I can drop it on all of my properties (including my Wife’s professional site) for that same $9.
Being open source, I could have downloaded the package, and build out my own analytics collector, but $9 to have them host it and manage it seems like a no-brainer to me.
I am one week into my 30 day free trial, and already I am sure I am going to just pay for it.