Day 13 - #100DaysToOffload - Site Analytics

A couple of days ago I was looking in to adding some analytics to my Ghost based blogs as it doesn't have anything in the admin centre by default. The developers had considered building a dashboard but eventually prioritised other features due to the complexity.

I think this is a real shame as it would have been nice to know a little bit of information about which of my posts generates more interest and how the site was doing in general.

This is the dashboard the Ghost developers had envisioned 

I was looking through their integrations at the analytics options, looking for something that wasn't overly intrusive and preferably open source.

  • Google Analytics - Nope
  • Segment - Dead?
  • Amplitude - Dead?

  • Geckoboard (Ghost seems keen on these) - Lets take a look at the pri ... Holy shit, how much per month? $31 p/mo. I think not.

  • Simple Analytics - "Simple, clean, privacy-friendly analytics". GDPR compliant, They have a Github page and open source some stuff. $19 p/mo for starter. Well, that's better than Geckoboard but still more than I was considering.

  • Matomo - Their core is FOSS and can be completely self hosted. Great start. The required server specs are a little hefty considering I'm running these blogs on a Nanode from Linode, so I'd have to spin one up specifically which will cost me $20 p/mo to meet their minimum recommended spec. Their pricing to host it is £19 p/mo.

  • Fathom Analytics - Now this looks like the style I'm looking for. Seriously simple and to the point. "Fast, simple and privacy focused".
Fathom Analytics

Let's take a look at the features:

We are GDPR + CCPA compliant
We don’t collect personal data
We don't use cookies. You can remove that cookie popup and make your visitors happy
All plans come with unlimited sites that share your page view allowance
Unlimited email reports sent to unlimited people
Use unlimited custom domains for our tracker to completely bypass ad-blockers

That last one sounds a little on the cringy side of life, but OK, they're hitting some of the other points. And the pricing is $14 p/mo. Seems to be winning on price/features so far. They also have a "lite" version of their software available on Github.

  • Google Search Console - Nope.

  • Plausible - A "simple and privacy-friendly alternative to Google Analytics". It looks nice and simple and gives the basic stats I'm looking for.
Plausible Analytics
Doesn't track or collect any personal data and Plausible does not use cookies and is fully compliant with GDPR, CCPA, PECR and other privacy regulations out of the box.

Fantastic. OK, what's the financial damage - $6 p/mo or $4 if paid annually. That's... more in line with what I was hoping for. And it says that's for unlimited websites which means I can do both blogs. Now we're talking. This could be a contender. Nothing is being blocked and there are no odd domains being spotted with uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger.

  • Momently - Instantly blocked multiple trackers, including Google Analytics. So... do you not trust your own product to give you the insight you need? Ok, let's have a dive in to your features. "Download our product overview". Even if you have a free tier, I'm done - just tell me what you do.

And, there are, of course, custom integrations if there were any other services that tickled my fancy. After all of this, do I really even care how many views I'm getting, or where they are coming from? It's not like I'm doing this to try and make money in any way.

What are your thoughts on Analytics? What services are you using, if any?

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